You may not know the name Aron Ralston. But you probably know his story. He is a paragon example of the power of the human spirit. Many people people have dreams, but quit on them as soon as they suffer their first defeat. What if life handed you a huge loss? What if you lost a hand? Would you continue? Could you continue? Aron Ralston did. And amazingly he was a mountain climber. Not only did he lose part of an arm, he cut it off himself.
The true story of Aron Ralston is told in the film, 127 Hours. James Franco plays him in the movie directed by Danny Boyle, the Academy Award Director of Slumdog Millionaire. 127 Hours is the second survival movie on DVD being served up this month in Freeze Dry Guy’s Freeze Dried Films Giveaway. All you have to do to win is be a member of the Survival Insider club. Sign up for free. You’ll also get special offers, discounts, and cash back rewards on purchases of Freeze Dried Food, Dehydrated Food, and other emergency preparedness items.
Born in 1975, Aron Ralston was always full of life and a sense of adventure. Growing up he was an active athlete. When he was 11 his family moved from Marion, Ohio to Denver, Colorado. His love for mountains rose. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in French and Mechanical Engineering, and a minor in Piano. He also studied abroad. Aron landed a job with Intel in Phoenix as a mechanical engineer, but left that in 2002. He moved to Aspen, Colorado to pursue his passions for adventure and mountain climbing.
In 1997, Aron Ralston set a lofty goal as a climber. He planned to climb all 59 of Colorado’s “fourteeners.” This is the term for peaks over 14,000 ft high. But his goal didn’t end there. Ralston set out to be first person to do it solo and during winter.
In a group hike on Colorado’s Resolution Peak in 2003, he got caught in a Grade 5 avalanche. Aron and his two hiking partners avoided serious injury.
In April 2003, Aron Ralston was hiking through an isolated part of Utah’s Blue John Canyon. While climbing down an 800 pound boulder, it became dislodged. It crushed his right hand and pinned him against the canyon wall. Aron told no one of his hiking plans. So, the odds of someone finding him were slim to none.
Ralston hoped to survive the accident but planned to die. He endured five brutal days rationing supplies, hoping to somehow break free. By the third day, he was delirious. He explored amputating his right arm at the middle of his forearm. On the fourth day he realized he would need to cut through the bones. However, the tools he had were insufficient. On the fifth day, dehydration forced him to drink his own urine to try to survive a little longer. Expecting to die, he carved his name and the dates of his birth and death in the wall. He also videotaped farewells to his family.
After waking the next morning, hope, courage, and destiny found a way. Aron realized he could break his ulna and radius bones using torque against them. He then used a dull two-inch knife to do the amputation which took about an hour.
One-handed, bloodied and battered, Ralston then had to rappel down a 65-foot wall. Next he had to hike eight miles in the hot sun to get back to his car. He came upon a vacationing family from the Netherlands. They called for emergency help and gave him food and water. He was rescued by helicopter six hours after his amputation.
Park authorities needed 13 men, a hydraulic jack and a winch to move the boulder to retrieve Ralston’s arm. It was cremated. Six months later on his 28th birthday, Ralston returned to the accident scene with Tom Brokaw and a Dateline NBC crew. He scattered the ashes there where he said they belonged.
In 2004, Aron Ralston’s autobiography, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” reached # 3 on the New York Times Best Seller List. In 2005, Aron Ralston reached his goal with the “fourteeners” in Colorado. He also intends to climb Mount Everest. In 2009, he married Jessica Trusty. The next year they had a child, Leo. Today, Aron Ralston is also a highly-paid inspirational speaker. He often talks of how he didn’t lose his hand. He gained back his life.”
by Thomas Baldrick