Explorers Heroes

Aron Ralston

by Gabe from Madison

“At this point, I've got the confidence to know that I'll get through anything in my life given I have the motivation to do it, ... If it's an act of survival, we've all got a reason to keep living.

Aron Ralston is an extraordinary man who taught a very important lesson. When all things go wrong and life seems impossible, trust in yourself. Aron Ralston has impressed many with his incredible survival story, despite his predicaments, he managed to overcome difficult odds to survive his ordeal.

On April 27, 2003, Ralston parked his truck at the Horseshoe Canyon Trailhead and took off on his mountain bike for the 15-mile ride to the Bluejohn Canyon Trailhead. He planned to hike down BlueJohn Canyon and hike out Horseshoe Canyon. While Aron was hiking he had to get over the top of a large boulder between canyon walls. He climbed up the boulder; and it was stable when he stood on top but, when he started to climb down the opposite side of the rock, it fell, pinning his right arm."Ralston tried ropes, anchors, and other things to move the boulder, but it wouldn't budge. Next he tried to chip away at the rock with a cheap imitation of a Leatherman brand multi-tool, with no positive results. Ten hours of chipping at the rock managed to produce only a small handful of rock dust "(Willoughby 1).

While trapped in the canyon, Aron conserved his water and food. Tuesday, Aron ran out of food and water. On Wednesday, Ralston started drinking his pee. He also pulled out his video camera and taped himself. He told everyone he loved that he missed them thinking he was going to die. "On Thursday morning, Ralston had a vision of a three-year-old boy running across a sunlit floor to be scooped up by a one-armed man. He understood this vision to be that of his future son and decided that his survival required drastic action. If he did not rescue himself now, he would not have the physical strength remaining to do it later"(Benoist 1). That day Ralston made a decision that he would have to cut off his own arm if he was going to survive

Roe states in his article, "Ralston prepared to amputate his right arm below the elbow using the knife blade on his multi-tool. Realizing that the blade was not sharp enough to cut through the bone, he forced his arm against the boulder and broke the bones so he would be able to cut through the tissue. First he broke the radius bone, which connects the elbow to the thumb. Within a few minutes he cracked the ulna, the bone on the outside of the forearm. Next he applied a tourniquet to his arm. He than used his knife blade to amputate his right arm below the elbow. The entire procedure required approximately one hour. Ralston administered first aid to himself from the small kit in his backpack. He rigged anchors and fixed a rope to rappel nearly 70-feet to the bottom of Bluejohn Canyon. Leaving rope hanging he hiked 5-miles downstream into adjacent Horseshoe Canyon, where he encountered a Dutch family on vacation"(1). Ralston had survived!

Ralston survived this life changing event and is now a happy dad and a proud husband. People can always look up to a hero like Aron, he's an extraordinary person and has already faced the toughest. After that experience Aron Ralston wrote, "At this point, I've got the confidence to know that I'll get through anything in my life given I have the motivation to do it, ... If it's an act of survival, we've all got a reason to keep living".

Page created on 3/12/2012 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 3/12/2012 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Extra Info

Benoist, Michael. "Climber Who Cut Off Hand Looks Back." Daily Nature and Science News and Headlines | National Geographic News. National Geographic Adventure, 30 Aug. 2004. Web. 11 Dec. 2011. .

Burrows, Shane. "Cheating Death in Bluejohn Canyon." Climb Utah - Canyoneering & Mountaineering. Utah-climbers. Web. 11 Dec. 2011. .

Yuan, Jada. "James Franco and Aron Ralston Explain How to Watch 127 Hours Without Fainting -- Vulture." New York Magazine -- NYC Guide to Restaurants, Fashion, Nightlife, Shopping, Politics, Movies. New York Media LLC, 25 Oct. 2010. Web. 11 Dec. 2011. .

Willoughby, Scott. "News: Aron Ralston Amputate His Own Arm." | Hiking. GRAND JUNCTION, Colo., 2 May 2003. Web. 11 Dec. 2011. .

Roe, John. "The Best Conversation Ever with Aron Ralston." “ Calgary Event Listings, Contests, Restaurants, Entertainment Listings, What to Do in Calgary, the Insider's Guide to Calgary. Postmedia Network Inc., 24 Jan. 2011. Web. 11 Dec. 2011. .