Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron RalstonBacon Phat
00:00 / 1:19:51

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is Aron Ralston's remarkable story of using ingenuity, incredible willpower, and a refusal to give up to save himself by cutting off his own arm. 

In this episode:


Show notes:

The episode


13:01: 127 Hours is the abridged version on Audible and the title of the movie


14:15: Visiting the Havasupai Reservation


16:35: Sasha was inspired by the Canyonlands and Blue John Canyon


20:00: Chris McCandless: “Nothing is more damaging to the adventurist spirit within a man than a secure future.”


27:30: Recklessness can be selfish


28:40: While skiing Resolution Peak in Colorado with Mark Beverly and Chadwick Spencer, Ralston caused an avalanche


30:02: Jeremy Jones’s series on Amazon Prime; Travis Rice; Bryan Iguchi


30:16: When backcountry skiing, you must check the snowpack


35:28: Stalked by a black bear Teton; post-holing


38:00: People say Chris McCandless had a death wish, but Krakauer maintains that he was actually smart and experienced


38:48: Critics of free soloists like Alex Honnold


39:00: Ralston was the first person to solo all of Colorado’s Fourteeners in winter


42:42: Deep play, as defined by Joe Simpson in Dark Shadows Falling


48:32: Allegations of domestic dispute


49:00: After the incident, Ralston had periods of depression and suicidal thoughts 


53:38: Ralston’s experience was very spiritual


  • He has out of body trances:

Still other experiences begin with seeing my friends, whole-bodied yet transparent, ghosts who temporarily inhabit the canyon with me until we leave together to go to a familiar setting. They never communicate with words, only with gestures, and by somehow transmitting emotions across nonverbal wavelengths; if they want me to feel safe and reassured, then that’s what I feel. If they wanted me to be frightened, then I would feel fear, but I don’t—I am totally comfortable in the trances.


59:43: Ralston writes,

What will remain of today’s ostensibly advanced societies five thousand years hence? Probably not our artwork. Nor any evidence of our record amounts of leisure time (if for no other reason than most of us fritter away this luxury in front of our television sets.


1:00:18: Sasha’s multitool adventure


1:12:52: Pictures are from Between a Rock and a Hard Place


Between a Rock and a Hard Place and the abridged version, 127 Hours, first inspired us back in the early 2010s before we read any of the other books for this podcast. Sasha was enamored of the enchanting descriptions of Blue John Canyon and Canyonlands National Park and wanted nothing more than to drive the 20-plus hours to the park and hike in the orange, clay-like slot canyons. Julia was captivated by the spiritual encounters Ralston had while trapped in the slot canyon, envisioning his family and friends and even having an eerily accurate premonition of his life after freeing himself.

This is a book for adventurers and dreamers alike. Read it (again and again and again) to be reminded that life is fleeting and needs to be lived. Let it be your spiritual rebirth, encouraging you to take on that challenge or climb that mountain like you've always dreamed of.