Tag Archives: 127 Hours

Wayne County Prepares for Flood of Interest in Blue John Canyon

Wyoming Dave spotted this new sign on a signboard in Robber Roost BLM area. Looks like BLM and/or SAR (Search and Rescue) folks in Wayne County are anticipating (or already experiencing?) big interest in Blue John Canyon this season. I’d be interested in knowing which of the two – anticipating or experiencing – is the case. I wonder whether the filmmakers considered the effects of the film on traffic to Blue John. Did they realize hundreds or thousands of folks might come here looking for the “Blue Pool”, only to find it isn’t actually here? Did they consider the possible burden popular interest might put on the volunteer SAR team in a small county with a small tax base? I don’t know that they should have, necessarily, but I wonder if they considered these questions. Of course, it’s impossible to say what influence “127 Hours” will have on Blue John… If it inspires enough interest/visitation, Robbers Roost could become our next National Park. I haven’t looked into it, but I’d be surprised if one or many guide services have not already begun marketing Blue John/127 Hours trips for the 2011 season. I’d imagine a TON of folks would want to … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, Hiking, Robbers Roost, Safety | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

“127 Hours” Garners Six Oscar Nominations from the Academy

Whether the Danny Boyle/James Franco flick “127 Hours” will do great or horrible things (or neither) for canyoneering remains to be seen, but it sure has thrust the sport into the international spotlight this winter. Yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences officially nominated the movie for six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (James Franco), Best Film Editing (Jon Harris), Best Adapted Screenplay (Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy), Best Original Score (A.R. Rahman), and Best Song (“If I Rise” – music by A.R. Rahman, lyrics by Dido and Rollo Armstrong). Wow, all those accolades for a film about an esoteric sport nobody’s ever heard of? Well, until now we could pretend few had heard of canyoneering, but while that idea was realistic ten years ago, it no longer holds water today. The fact a world-renown director made a canyoneering movie means we must acknowledge canyoneering is officially NOT a fringe sport, and has entered consciousness of the masses. The odds of someone saying, “Canyon-what-ing? Huh? Never heard of it…” at a party has significantly decreased, probably in direct proportion to canyoneering now being popularly associated with losing one’s arm. (Interesting combination of changing impressions, huh?) While I’m … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, In the News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, Outdoor Leadership, Videos | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

NY Times Film Critic A.O. Scott Gives “127 Hours” High Marks

“127 Hours” received a gold star and a big win today when New York Times head movie critic A.O. Scott chose “127 Hours” as a hallowed Critic’s Pick, calling the film “nearly flawless”. Wow. This from a guy who regularly shows mediocre films directly to the trash bin. Scott doesn’t actually raise one objection or critique of the film, but rather describes what it is and is not, complimenting the choice with each step. With this sort of endorsement, it seems like Boyle, Franco, and Co. are on their way to great success here, and canyoneering might just be thrust into pop culture in a huge way. After you read Mr. Scott’s typically stimulating commentary (find the beginning excerpt below), check out the Anatomy of a Scene feature, where Danny Boyle talks through a thunderstorm scene from the film, which forces Ralston into a serious Catch-22: Is rain good because it will quench his thirst, or bad because it will flood the canyon and drown him? I guess it is more of a philosophical Catch-22, because when you’re stuck under a boulder, it’s not like you have much choice. “127 Hours” opens in cinemas nationwide tonight. If you see the … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, In the News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Canyoneer Steve Ramras Offers Perspective on “127 Hours”

I think the big question in the outdoor community over the upcoming canyoneer misadventure-epic “127 Hours” is, “Of course the masses will buy Hollywood’s take on canyoneering… but can you sell US?” Early reviews and interviews have offered encouraging promise, but I had yet to hear from a serious member of the outdoor community regarding the film’s authenticity and value. Canyon diehard Steve “Ram” Ramras DID get to see a preview screening with the Ralston family, however, and recently offered this opinion piece on the Canyons Group forum. Interestingly, Ram seems to find the film strong enough that real-life canyoneers will actually get more out of the film than the lay person, a strong testament to both the story and its telling. Thanks to Ram for offering thoughts in his usual down-to-earth style. 10/31/10 I’ll have to admit that the experience and several images impacted so largely, as to still be with me 4 weeks after seeing (“127 Hours”). There is a hand and a Swiss army knife doing a dance early on that had me doing a knowing chuckle. But how do you really display thirst to people fed, watered and comfortable in lounge chair? They succeeded by taking … Continue reading

Posted in Canyoneering, In the News | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Two Great Interviews on Upcoming “127 Hours” Release

“127 Hours” goes to mainstream release in cinemas nationwide this Friday (11/5), so I expect the media engine to crank into high gear this week. This weekend, I came across two extensive new interviews with the central players, one on the fan carpet, featuring a panel interview with director Danny Boyle, lead James Franco, and screen writer Simon Beaufoy, and another on Collider.com, where interviewer Sheila Roberts speaks one-on-one with Beaufoy. If you are into film and canyoneering, both these articles are worth a read and will whet your whistle for the film opening this week. In particular, I enjoyed this response from Franco, describing how he and Boyle approached bringing reality into the film. I’m wondering how they actually affixed his arm in place, so he could authentically struggle to free it? James, how method could you be, what did you put yourself through that could compare to Aron’s own experience? (James Franco) Well, I didn’t cut my own arm off. However, Danny does like to push the boundaries a bit. In an early scene Aron has just been trapped by the boulder, he’s a great athlete so tried to pull his arm out with his physical strength. The … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Books & Articles, Canyoneering, In the News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Reflections on Aron Ralston and the Culture of Heroism

“Is Aron Ralston a hero or an idiot?” Since his story emerged in 2003, I feel like this question has been beaten black and blue and purple. But given our culture’s appetite for the story, it doesn’t look like it’s most popular philosophical question will die anytime soon. In his 10/21 piece for London’s The Independent, writer Peter Stanford engages the “hero or idiot” question relative not only to Aron Ralston’s upcoming adventure drama”127 Hours,” but also to the continuing litany of “adventure heros” who gain the limelight in our culture, contrasting them to the every-day folk who “should” be respected and revered, but never really gain acclaim. Should we admire those who “rescue” themselves from predicaments they should have never gotten into? Should a parent who needlessly risks their life in outdoor adventure be celebrated or condemned? And why do these crazies who explore canyons and climb mountains enjoy more celebrity than the average cancer survivor or crime-stopper? Thankfully, Stanford’s opinion is more thoughtful and well-balanced than its title suggests, and perhaps asks more questions than it answers. Have a look at the article, and as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Should we bestow sainthood on reckless adventurers? Danny Boyle’s … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Books & Articles, Canyoneering, In the News, Outdoor Leadership, Safety | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Aron Ralston Discusses “127 Hours”

Amidst all the Hollywood hype over the movie, there seems to be a consistent thread of opinion suggesting this film is everything Ralston suggests in the interview: real, human, and more than just a story of Man vs. Wild. Ralson discusses some interesting aspects of the movie-making process, including the search for a producer, uneasy feelings about “gratuitous T&A” scene, and how Danny Boyle convinced Ralston he could make a movie that stayed true to the philosophical life lessons Ralston holds important to the story. Overall, a worthwhile read and another great appetizer for the film to come… Stewart Oksenhorn The Aspen Times Aspen, CO Colorado Friday, October 1, 2010 ASPEN — As Aron Ralston talked to filmmakers about turning his book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” the former Aspenite was horrified to see that many of their backgrounds were in horror films. “A lot of the producers, they had nothing but horror films in their résumé. But I didn’t want to make a horror film of my story,” he said. No question, Ralston’s story has a terrifying element to it. It was Ralston who, in May of 2003, while hiking Utah’s Blue John Canyon, got his right … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, In the News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aron Ralston, James Franco, and Danny Boyle Comment on “127 Hours” at Toronto Film Festival

As reviews and reactions roll in on the film festival circuit, the media engine is shifting from a hum to a steady roar. Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours”, based on Aron Ralston’s famous showdown with an errant boulder in Bluejohn Canyon, is garnering impressive reviews from a wide swath of critics. Vanity Fair, Time Magazine, Scott Feinberg, and the New York Post, and the L.A. Times all gush over early screenings of the film, creating quite a buzz in not only the film world, but in the on-line canyon discussion groups. Despite the litany of cheesy outdoor adventure films like “Cliffhanger”, “Vertical Limit”, “The Cave” that have made life-like adventure movies a distant dream for most real outdoor adventure enthusiasts, there seems to be an inkling of hope for Boyle’s film. And with reviews like this,  I’m guessing even the most proud and down-to-earth canyoneer won’t be able to resist the allure of “127 Hours” when it hits theaters in November. As Steven Zeitchik of the L.A. Times explains, Boyle rejects the typical action sequences in the film in favor of more initmate, human experiences that actually make the movie MORE real, and thus MORE scary. A number of stories describe … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, In the News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

“127 Hours” Trailer Released

The canyoneering community was abuzz recently after the trailer release for “127 Hours”, Danny Boyle’s dramatization of Aron Ralston’s battle with a sizable boulder in Bluejohn Canyon. The sneak-peek doesn’t show us all that much, but confirms the typical elements of adventure movie fare will be present: 1. Breathtaking cinematography of some of America’s most acclaimed landscapes. I am looking forward to all sorts of canyonland eye candy. 2. Some realistic canyoneering depictions. James Franco (or likely his stunt double) shows some nice stemming moves, and they did go into actual canyons for the footage. 3. Some unrealistic canyoneering depictions. The scene where Franco drops out of sight and into the gorgeous pool of crystal-blue water… uh, unless there are hallucinatory drugs involved, that’s not going to happen in Utah. I bet they all emerge with any scrapes, too. 4. Actors will be better looking than anybody I’ve ever seen in the backcountry. And actresses will be thrown in for audience interest. But the big question is: Will it be a good story? This remains to be seen. A litany of Hollywood adventure films suggest making an engaging, realistic storyline is next to impossible, BUT few of them (maybe none … Continue reading

Posted in Accidents, Canyoneering, In the News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off