I, like most of the rest of us remember when this all happened back a few years ago. At the time, I recall calling him a fool and an idiot for not taking the proper steps to inform others of his plans and intentions. Over the past 5-7 years I suppose I forgot all about him and his situation, actions like most of you.
Recently I came upon the book he wrote about this whole event and also his life in general. It is called, logically enough, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place." I most certainly enjoyed the read, and I would encourage all of you who are more interested in this to check it out.
One thing that struck me as interesting was his overall ability level. This is not a "weekend warrior" who ventured into the backcountry and lost his way in the process. Aaron, at least by my determination was and is a hard-core experienced backcountry enthusiast who logged crazy hours on mountain sides, along rivers, in the canyons and on the side of rock faces.
He was in the midst of soloing all Colorado 14'ers during the winter when this happened. He actually was filling time in the canyonlands when one of his other expeditions fell through at the last minute which is why he did not tell others of his intentions...he did not clearly know them himself.
I am in no way making excuses for this guy, as obviously if he HAD told others of his location and intent he would have most certainly been rescued long before he deemed it necessary to cut off his own arm to save his life. I am only saying that after reading his book I feel more inclined to think he simply had an accident and in turn was forced to deal with the consequences.
One interesting thing I took away from the reading was that he in no way feels sorry for himself or his situation. It is by no means a "woah is me type of thing." To quote the BLM Ranger who flew in the helicpter whith him on the way to the hospital, "he was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Now, on to the movie and endorsement deals and speaking tours...
I think these accurately reflect the overall explotative nature of our capitalistic economy and society we live in. He is taking advantage of the publicity, fame and enjoying the fortune from the outcome. Honestly, I think most of us would do the same.
I have not seen the movie yet, but I will eventually. Seeing the trailers and clips on you-tube it looks to me like any Hollywood job. Pretty girls, rock-n-roll soundtracks and polished scenery. That being said, I don't know how accurately it follows his own book and the internal dialog he had with himself over those fateful days inside Blue-John Canyon.
In conclusion, I would say as a humanist I am glad he is alive, and if his story can inspire others to just tell people where they are going it is a good thing. As for the movie, see it or don't but take it with a grain of salt and consider the source. As I read the book, I frequently tried to empathize with him and put myself into his shoes...I would encourage you all to do the same. And for God's sake, tell your friends/family where you are going when you solo in the wilderness!!!