Short Interview with Steve Allen on Canyoneering and Aron Ralston

I recently posted about a piece High Country News did on Michael Kelsey, noting his infamy and influence in the canyoneering world. While Kelsey has his fans and critics, I have never heard a soul utter a negative word about Steve Allen, generally revered as one of the Great Ones in the sport. I’ve never met Allen, nor run across any interviews or commentaries from him, until this interview/opinion/promotional piece produced by Fox Searchlight, related to the “127 Hours” hoopla. It’s short, but I really enjoy Allen’s presence in the video; he is warm, personable, open, and humble, certainly the kind of guy I would enjoy visiting a canyon with.

It’s interesting that Fox produced this piece as a promotional tool, because Allen really does a great job of reducing the “Hollywood” drama of the story and emphasizing the very human drama that anyone can relate to, the drama of being alone with one’s thoughts for a prolonged period of time. What sort of change would happen inside of you if you were not only alone with your thoughts for five days, but also facing mortality, interacting with silence, and connecting with raw nature? I imagine a giant Rolodex of thought going through my mind, minute by minute, switching from hope of rescue, to anger with myself, to hallucination, to boredom, to self-forgiveness, to conversations with God, to conversations with Raven, to trying to be patient… the list is endless. That would be tough, but likely life-changing, too. I don’t think spending time alone is ever a bad thing, especially with in the context of Ralston’s story.

Allen points out he may have been the first human in Bluejohn Canyon, and that he could add some perspective, but he left me with a lot of questions. I wonder how he feels about laying the groundwork for people like Ralston to have great adventures, or great traumas, in canyons? Or what Allen’s memories were of his first visit to Bluejohn? I wish the interview was an hour or two longer… maybe there will be more to come? Here’s hoping. Enjoy the video…

Canyoneer Steve Allen


About Nick

Nick Wilkes found ZAC in 1996, working first as an outfitter, then a guide, then as webmaster. An ardent adventure enthusiast, Nick's recent exploits involve laying down roots in Wisconsin, chasing his kids around the house, working as a Madison, WI photographer and growing his Wisconsin climbing business. Connect with Nick on Facebook, Google+, or directly via email.
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