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Self-Amputation Saved Mountain Climber Aron Ralston

History is full of memorable events of human inspiration and character.

Aron Ralston, Mountain Climber

Aron Ralston, Mountain Climber

Blue John Canyon, Utah

Blue John Canyon, Utah

The Inspiration And Survival of Aron Ralston

Aron Ralston was born in Marion, Ohio, in 1975. The family moved to Colorado in 1987 and settled there. After high school, Aron attended Carnegie Mellon University with degrees in mechanical engineering and French with a minor in piano. After graduation, he spent the next five years working for Intel in the corporate world. He soon realized this was not the life he wanted and quit to become a professional mountain climber with an eye on climbing Denali.

Aron moved to Aspen to work on his mountain climbing skills. He intended to climb the fifty-nine mountain peaks called the 'fourteeners.' In fact, he completed that feat in 2005 after losing his right hand but with a unique prosthetic hand.

Then, in April 2003, Aron's life would forever change. That day, he headed to Blue John Canyon, Utah sleeping in his truck the first night. In the morning, he left on his bike for the fifteen-mile trek to the canyon. At about 2:45 P.M., Aron descended into the canyon and inadvertently dislodged a massive boulder pinning his right arm between the boulder and the cliff wall.

He realized immediately he was trapped, and he broke a cardinal rule of mountain climbers, always tell someone where you are going and never climb alone. Aron knew he couldn't call for help and be heard as he was twenty feet below the surface. He checked his rations finding only two burrito health bars and some water.


self-amputation-saved-mountain-climber-aron-ralston

The Amputation of Aron's Hand and Forearm

It wasn't long before his water was gone forcing him to drink his own urine. Days passed with Aron sure he would die in the canyon. He took the time to carve his name, date of birth, and the day's date thinking it would be his last. The nights were cold, and he only had his shorts and T-shirt, so he kept his backpack on for warmth. Aron slept a little that night and dreamt of seeing a little boy with a man with one arm walking with him.

It was now apparent he would have to free himself to get out of the canyon. Realizing his dull two-inch knife wouldn't cut through bone he decided to break his ulnar and radius bones, he next made a tourniquet using his CamelBak water tubes to fashion a tourniquet and began cutting through skin and muscle, then used pliers to cut the thick tendons.

This procedure took him about an hour, losing a quarter of his blood! Now, with only one hand, somehow, he propelled down sixty-five feet of the sheer canyon wall to reach the bottom. He still had six miles to get to his truck and get help. Fortunately, he ran into a couple of hikers who gave him Oreos and water and called for authorities. They immediately rushed him to the hospital.


Aron's Name Carved In Canyon

Aron's Name Carved In Canyon

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After The Hospital

Aron spent some time rehabilitating in the hospital and helped design a special prosthetic arm and hand. He became an overnight sensation and appeared on several media shows, including; The Late Show, Good Morning Show, Tonight Show, Howard Stern Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, and others. An article in Gentlemen's Quarterly, 'Men of The Year, and Vanity Fair.

Aron wrote an autobiography, Between A Rock And A Hard Place, hitting New York's Best Seller list.

Park Rangers found Aron's hand, and the foreman returned them to him, which he promptly cremated and returned the ashes to the original spot in the canyon where he felt they belonged.

What a remarkable, courageous man who hasn't let his disability stop him from mountain climbing.

Aron Ralston's Special Prosthetic Arm

Aron Ralston's Special Prosthetic Arm

The Movie, 127 Hours

Based on Aron's autobiography, director Danny Boyle released the movie 127 Hours in 2010 , starring James Franco. The amputation scene was so realistic that several patrons were nauseous and had to leave the theatre. The scene used three different prosthesis arms to film it authentically. The movie was nominated for six Oscars at the 83rd Academy Awards and several other awards. The budget for the movie was 16 million, with the bo office topping 60 million.


Aron Ralston's Autobiography

Aron Ralston's Autobiography

Ralston at Premier of Movie 127 Hours

Ralston at Premier of Movie 127 Hours

Aron Ralston Today

Today, Aron leads a satisfying life pursuing his career in mountain climbing using his special prosthetic arm. He is also a motivational speaker commanding $25,00 per event nationally and $37,000 internationally. Through all of Aron's trials, his philosophy is inspirational, and he often quotes, "I didn't lose a hand. I regained my life."

Sources Used

https://www.gq.co/story/aron_ralston

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies

https://www.theguardian

https://en.wikipedia.org/aron_ralston

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