127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  10,833 ratings  ·  1,391 reviews
The International Bestseller "Between a Rock and a Hard Place"--Now the Major Motion Picture "127 Hours"Hiking into the remote Utah canyonlands, Aron Ralston felt perfectly at home in the beauty of the natural world. Then, at 2:41 P.M., eight miles from his truck, in a deep and narrow slot canyon, an eight-hundred-pound boulder tumbled loose, pinning Aron's right hand and...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 9th 2010 by Simon & Schuster (first published August 31st 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienImpossible by Nancy WerlinRed Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-CartwrightThe Lovely Bones by Alice SeboldIn Leah's Wake by Terri Giuliano Long
Landscape Book Covers
15th out of 213 books — 113 voters
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro127 Hours by Aron RalstonLife of Pi by Yann MartelI Am Her... by Sarah Ann WalkerIn the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
It Didn't Happen to Me. Phew!
2nd out of 51 books — 23 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
There is only one character in this book, and that character is, you guessed it, Aron Ralston. Between a Rock and a Hard Place is Ralston's account of his ordeal pinned to a canyon wall by a half-ton chockstone in Blue John Canyon. He alternates between chapters telling of the delirium of those five days and the choices he must make, and a sort of "how I came to be the way I am" recounting of his life story. The irony of the book reveals itself to the reading pretty early on. A seemingly random...more
I have read a few Mountaineering books, and as a climber/surfer/diver/backpacker/paddler/all around wilderness junkie, I was quite unsettled by this book. In the book, Aron Ralston is plagued by one-upmanship syndrome. The book should be a guide to avoiding wedging your arm between stones in desolate wilderness. Rather it is a distasteful brag-fest of Ralston's overzealous adventure practices. Events such as these lead to the closure of recreation areas every year in suit-happy America. I would...more
I do not think Aron Ralston is a hero of any sort.
Yes, he amputated his arm because he had the wherewithal and the survival skills to remain calm in this massively dire situation.
However, this book is full of his tales of stupid, arrogant mistakes where he consistently fails to consider the forces (and consequences) of his actions.
He should have been killed numerous times. He is responsible, at least on one occasion, for almost killing two of his best friends.
The entire time I was readin...more
WARNING: This is a SUPER long review; it's kind of a very long account of what my thoughts were during the entire book.
"We are not grand because we are at the top of the food chain or because we can alter our environment - the environment will outlast us with its unfathomable forces and unyielding powers. But rather than be bound and defeated by our insignificance, we are bold because we exercise our will anyway, despite the ephemeral and delicate presence we have in this desert, on this planet,...more
Jun 12, 2011 Linds rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of survival stories
First of all, God what a story.

If you have not seen the movie, Aron is best known as "that guy that had to cut off his own arm." While hiking in a canyon a rock smashes his arm and he is stuck almost a week with very low food and water until he amputates his own arm in order to survive.

Now this is an odd reading experience. It is one of the few times where the movie is much better then the book, and the oddness compounds when Aron Ralston is writing a true account of his own experiences. How cou...more
Ben Wand
I admire Aron's strength, persistence, and drive. Yet within about 40 pages of this book his bravado and obsession with near-death experiences became annoying and tedious. One of the most memorable parts of the book comes when he reveals that two of his friends, both experienced climbers, stopped talking to him after his reckless behavior contributed to the near death of all three of them. Yet, still Aron did not learn from that painful event. He still continues to put himself into danger time a...more
Jason Kurtz
Ralston became a media sensation due to his dramatic accident, and his dynamic charisma. Ralston had an interesting perspective on the world before he was forced to sever his arm to save his life. Trapped in a slot canyon in a Utah desert for five nights and six days gives him a sense of clairity that he compares to a second adolescence. His life after the accident became somewhat of a circus, and this story is not only about the accident, but his thougths on why it occurred, and how his life ha...more
Jun 10, 2008 Elaine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who is interested in survival stories.
Recommended to Elaine by: Some friends lent it to my mom and my mom lent it to me.
In Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Aron Ralston tells his true and amazing survival story. Hiking in Blue John Canyon one Saturday afternoon (April 26, 2003 to be exact), Aron, an experienced mountaineer, got trapped when a 800lb boulder came loose and pined his right hand to the canyon wall. Aron usually left a detailed map of where he was going with someone so that, if the need came, they would be able to find him quickly. On this trip, however, he did not, as it was suppose to be a simple h...more
(4.0) Well-written account of a trying experience

I don't see any acknowledgment of assistance in writing this book, and since he graduated summa from Carnegie Mellon, he's probably a bright guy, so I think he may have actually written this himself. He also gets pretty jargony (and specific!) about several of his more harrowing maneuvers out on mountaintops. I wouldn't expect a ghost writer to allow that to happen. If he did indeed write this himself, it makes the read that much better, cause it...more
Stephan van der Linde
This is the vehement story of mountaineer Aron Ralston who always, for he starts an expedition, tells his friends and family where he's going to climb.

Just not this time, may 2003, in Utah's Bluejohn Canyon, he falls into a cave and by the most uncredible bad luck his hand gets stuck between a big massive rock.

This book describes Ralston's struggle against thirst, hunger, desperation, pain, stress and anxiety, because nobody knows where he is.

His situation keeps getting worse and worse. Running...more
I am going to go easy on my review here, because the man did have to cut off his own hand, but I really didn't like this book and mostly because I didn't like the author.

He (my guess is, unwittingly) does not give a flattering portrayal of himself. The autobiographical background chapters of the book are not enjoyable to read and basically paint him as an immature hot-dogger, who consistently takes unecessary risks endangering his life and the lives of others.

He definitely has fortitude and the...more
I saw the film and was inspired to read the book because I wanted to really FEEL what was going through Aron Ralston's head through his ordeal.
His book doesn't just focus on the 127 hours he spent trapped under the rock, he dissects his whole life up to that point, recalling memories and events as well as people who have crossed his path. The worst part in the book is, predictably, when he finally decides to amputate his own arm- as graphic as it seemed on film, reading about it made me feel exc...more
I wanted to reveal to myself who I was: the kind of person who died, or the kind of person who overcame circumstances to help himself and others.

This is a story that, by all accounts, should not have been told in the first-person. How Aron Ralston managed to survive six days trapped beneath that boulder, with his health, sanity and spirit in tact is beyond me. He's definitely strong, determined and more than a little lucky, but I couldn't stop one thought from forming in the back of my mind as I...more
Aron Ralston is probably the stupidest outdoorsman I've ever heard of.

Being married to a climber, I have some insight on how to treat the rock. You don't just leap onto it and hope you make it to the top of the route. You prepare. You double-check your gear. You scope out the climb. YOU TELL PEOPLE WHERE YOU ARE GOING.

I'm the same age Ralston was when he got stuck in the slot canyon, and I can't imagine being so reckless. His entire book recounts how egotistical and selfish he is. I've known gu...more
Dear Aron Ralston,

What an amazing story. I find it a little ironic that I picked it up and read and finished it at the same month/time the accident occurred. I was amazed at your experiences and stamina and wanted to go camping after reading it. I'm not for winter camping, but I love being in the mountains. After reading about risk after risk you would take, I started to get a little disgusted that you kept putting your life into threatening situations. I came to the same conclusion that you did...more
Brie Rainney
Aron Ralston used Between a Rock and a Hard Place as a record of his memoirs being trapped in a narrow canyon, where a rock was pinning his hand to the canyon wall. At least that’s what the story should have been about. Instead Aron used this book to brag about his recklessness and willingness to endanger himself and others. Overall I would say this book was poorly executed.
Aron Ralston is very obviously not a writer. He was just one of those people that was put in a horrendous situation, and w...more
I understand why people love or hate this book. I know some people can't get over the perceived selfishness of a lifestyle in which cheating death is just that, and I get where they're coming from; I just disagree. I also get that people think there's too much ego in this book, and no great lesson is learned by the author. The ego doesn't bother me, and I would argue that we're all smack dab in the middle of learning life's lessons, and none of us can be sure of what exactly we're learning. I th...more
Eric Paulsen
Many of you have seen 127 Hours, a 2010 film that took the adventure docudrama world by storm. James Franco magnificently portrays Aron Ralston, a man trapped in the vast desert of Moab for 127 hours in the most dire of circumstances- virtually no water, no food, no sleep, and the small inconvenience of having his hand stuck in between a slot canyon he was traversing, and a half-ton boulder. As all of you know, and hopefully will not be shocked at this spoiler alert, he amputates his own hand in...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Note on my review below: I found out yesterday that Aron Ralston did marry and have a son, but that he has since been divorced, acquired a girlfriend, had another child, and been arrested for domestic abuse. Evidently, he still hasn't made much progress in his relationships. Here is the review I wrote a couple of weeks ago:

I can’t remember the last time a book mesmerized me so completely. I skimmed it the first time, just to see what happened, although I’d heard the story already. Then I starte...more
Jun 26, 2011 Danielle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like survival stories, adventurers, mountaineers
Now, I will stop off by saying I saw the movie 127 Hours first. Of course, I had to read the book. Usually the book is much better, but the movie is one of my favourites and really resignated with me whereas the book although had mostly ups, had some downs. Like many other reviewers said, much of this book seemed to be a filler with Aron's boastful stories of adventures and near-death experiences. At first they were really interesting, but I soon grew tired of them and would often put the book d...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Davee Jones
I saw the movie 127 Hours before I read this book. After the movie, and the amazing job James Franco did portraying such a harrowing situation, I absolutely HAD to read more about the actual Aaron Ralston.

WOW is all I can say.

When I began reading the book, I didn't care for Aaron that much. At first, I regarded him as a self-centered- rather egotistical- human being. However, his metamorphosis into a humble, deeply caring person inspired me. Rather than take his miraculous escape from sure deat...more
A book like this is bound to get negative reviews from people who feel "he was reckless" or "he got what he was looking for." But I don't read a biography on Adolph Hitler and rate it one star because "he was a bad man." It's a good book. The story is sound, well written, places you in the moment, and gets you excited when his adrenaline is pumping and down when he's down. Read this book, if for nothing else, for his explanations on the process of his extraction from the canyon. It is an absolut...more
The book "127 hours" is a really adventurous story, that is based on a true story, about a man named Aron Ralston, who loves to climb, hike and backpack summits, mountains, and canyons. One day while hiking the "Blue Canyon Slots" in southern Utah in April of 2003, an 800 pound boulder landed and entrapped his right arm, with nobody there with him, he was there for five days and seven hours, (or 127 hours) but how did he get out?

I decided to read this book when I saw the movie "127 hours", I...more
Tom Mulpagano
I wanted to really like this story, or maybe I should say Aron Ralston, due to the nature of his epic battle of mind and body versus nature. A very compelling story, well told, and very read-able as well. So why the 2 stars? Well, the longer the story went, the more I got the feeling that it was the story of a reckless individual who repeatedly, and needlessly got himself and unfortunately sometimes others, into life-threatening and in one case life -ending, situations. Reading this book is a bi...more
I finally read it! This book was incredible. It made me sad to read all the negative comments that were often directed at Aron himself rather than the book. The chief complaint I have seen is that Aron is egotistical and took too many risks. While I believe that solo climbing is incredibly stupid, I don't judge him. First, he admitted in the book that he had made some mistakes and that he had come too close to death too many times and his time to die had finally arrived. Second, I admire his pas...more
Chad Sayban
Aron Ralston took great joy in pushing his limits in the vast untamed reaches of the natural world. Whether surfing, mountain biking or any other athletic pursuit, Aron was always most at home challenging himself physically. But on April 26, 2003, he nearly met his end in Blue John Canyon, Utah while rock climbing all alone when a boulder dislodged and crushed his right hand pinning him to the canyon wall. Miles from his truck with nobody aware of his location and no ability to contact help, Aro...more
I admit I really like survival literature, and have read some truly amazing stories. This is one of the best! Holy Cow! I could not put this book down. This guy is totally amazing. He has more drive than most three people I know. No, way more than three. Probably 20! I love to hike and be active, but this guy is an adrenaline junkie! Having lost his arm has not slowed him down in the least. I admire that! He learned some really tough lessons while trapped in Blue John Canyon near Moab, Utah, for...more
Ok I had just written this long, good review about it and my computer crapped out.

I'll simply say this: if you're into overly detailed, selfish accounts of a person who cares only about himself up until he makes a stupid mistake and his life changes, then read this.

If you like mountaineering or adventure books, you may like this a lot more than I did. If you're simply curious, you can either watched the excellent film based on this story "127 Hours" which I thought was much more to the point of...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Questions About the Book 3 25 Apr 20, 2013 07:25PM  
English 11 Block ...: Between A Rock And A Hard Place 1 13 Oct 08, 2012 10:17PM  
  • High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places
  • Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival
  • Miracle in The Andes
  • The Kid Who Climbed Everest: The Incredible Story of a 23-Year-Old's Summit of Mt. Everest
  • The Last Season
  • The Four Voyages: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives
  • No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks
  • Touching My Father's Soul: A Sherpa's Journey to the Top of Everest
  • Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory & Irvine
  • Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea
  • Annapurna
  • Eiger Dreams: Ventures Among Men and Mountains
  • Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival
  • Epic: Stories of Survival from the World's Highest Peaks
  • Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills
  • The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier
  • Farther Than Any Man: The Rise and Fall of Captain James Cook
  • Not Without Hope
Aron Ralston grew up in the Midwest before moving to Colorado when he was twelve, a place where he became an avid outdoorsman. In 2002, he gave up a career as a mechanical engineer in New Mexico and moved to Aspen, Colorado, where among other things he continued his attempt to climb the fifty-nine Colorado peaks of more than 14,000 feet solo in winter (he's more than three-quarters through). Since...more
More about Aron Ralston...
Between a Rock and a Hard Place Publisher: Atria Books; 1st (first) edition Text Only BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

Share This Book

“It's me. I chose this. I chose all of this — this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. I’ve been moving towards it my whole life.” 89 likes
“Saying farewell is also a bold and powerful beginning.” 36 likes
More quotes…