Josh loves scary-situation/"I shouldn't be alive" entertainment. He made me watch Frozen, which I couldn't even watch most of. But when we heard they were making a movie based on the book Between a Rock and A Hard Place, written by Aron Ralston, we wanted see it. 127 Hours was actually being filmed this spring when we were in Robber's Roost/Hanskville area.
As avid canyoneers and lovers of the desert, we had to go see this movie.
The premise: Aaron is a bad-boy outdoor enthusiast who takes a solo (first mistake) trip to the outer area of Canyonlands, Utah to descend Blue John Canyon. He triggers a choke stone to fall on top of him, pinning his arm between the stone and the rock wall of the canyon. There he sits, stands actually, for six days until he finally frees himself by cutting off his arm with a cheap and dull pocket knife. All this we knew going into the movie. So I knew it was going to be somewhat painful to watch and was bracing myself for an hour and a half of being stressed out.
Before seeing this movie, I held ZERO respect for Aron Ralston. He was stupid and careless in his quest for adventure, and I do not approve of his selfish and self-righteous attitude. And to top it off, he made millions by doing what you're not supposed to do.
There are simple rules that Josh and I always follow when going into the backcountry.
1- Never go alone
There is safety in numbers. Had Aron been with another person, that person could have left him with water and food and gone for help, he would have only had to sit in that canyon scared and worried for a day at most!
2- Be prepared for the worst
Always carry more water than you'll need, and an extra layer and some extra food
Aron kind of followed this, no one is ever prepared for a week-long stay when setting out for a day trip- but he could have had more water.
3- Tell at least TWO people where you are going and when you plan to be back.
Everytime Josh and I go anywhere away from home, we tell someone in Jackson, usually a friend who knows the area in which we are headed and then Josh's mom, or my mom... they are most likely to worry if they don't hear from us and call SAR (search and rescue). Now make sure the first people you call when returning to civilization are those two people so tax dollars are not unnecessarily spent. And stick to your schedule! don't take side trips too far off your plan! No one will find you if you're not where you said you'll be. Aron didn't answer the phone when his mom called and told no one where he was- even remotely!
4- Check the Weather!
Especially when decending into canyons, once the walls are high, you can't see the sky anymore and rain in the desert=flash floods. Of course, mountaineering and climbing and even just backpacking can be very dangerous if the weather turns on you. SO check the weather and check it again before you leave for any kind of backcountry trip. Aaron, luckily did not get caught in a flash flood, otherwise most likely would have drown.
Okay- so all that being said about why I did not respect of like this man, the movie was fabulous!
James Franco is very nice to look at and more importantly is a phenomenal actor!
The movie kept close-up pain staking footage to a minimum and used a lot of flash backs and hallucination scenes to break up the monotony of "Aron" being pinned by a rock. He had lots of revelations about how is actions have lead up to this time in his life. He realized he should call his mother and sister more often. He realizes that he is alone figuratively and physically because of the choices he has made in his life. Walking away from the movie, I almost liked the guy again. But still hold no respect for his foolish actions.
My only real problem with the movie is that it showed my favorite place in the world and truly captured it's essence- bad for us, it may send lots of gorpers to the canyons of Utah we hold so dear...
Our first canyon, only a mile or two from Blue John where Aron was trapped.
I swear this tree was in the movie
Pine Creek in Zion, UT. The most technical of canyons we have descended thus far.
It's like a cave-but cooler!
Antelope Canyon, totally non technical that if you're interested in Canyons, you should start here, in Page AZ.
Overall I recommend you see the movie. But (Mom, Barb) if you do go see it, know that Josh and I are safer than this-don't let it scare you. You cannot control nature, and we know that! We are always prepared for the worst, and we never descend a canyon that we can't get out of. We never pull a rope until we know that we are in the right place, and we always tell you where we are going!