Aron Ralston (US)

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Adventurer, Inspiration for 127 Hours

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Aron Ralston is the climber who inspired Danny Boyle’s hit film 127 Hours. He was descending a remote canyon in Utah, alone, when a vast 800lb boulder broke loose and simply crushed his right hand against the wall. After surviving for 5 days without food or water, Aron took the decision to free himself by severing his own arm below the elbow. In a captivating, uplifting presentation he shows the human capacity for the extraordinary – and how we can all exceed our expectations.


Aron Ralston is the climber and adventurer whose amazing survival story was retold in the hit Danny Boyle film, 127 Hours.

Aron had been hiking alone when a boulder fell and pinned his right arm as he was moving through a metre wide slot canyon near the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park, Utah. He couldn’t move the boulder, which was wedged into the narrowing chasm, and was trapped. This was on a Saturday afternoon.

By Tuesday, Aron had run out of water. Search efforts began on Wednesday evening, but yielded no signs. On Thursday morning he realised he would not survive unless he took drastic action.

With no other options, Aron took a small knife and cut through his own arm below the elbow on the Thursday morning, applying a tourniquet and administering first aid before rigging anchors and fixing a rope to rappel to the bottom of Blue John Canyon. With incredible will and bravery, Aron retained consciousness and eventually lowered himself to the bottom of the canyon and hiked out to meet rescuers that afternoon.

The episode marked Aron’s second brush with death. Just a few months earlier he was buried in an avalanche while skiing in the Colorado Rockies. Aron, who has climbed 49 of Colorado's 14,000-foot-plus mountains, was buried up to his neck in the avalanche, managing to dig himself out along with a companion within fifteen minutes.

Aron told his story in the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place. One of the most extraordinary survival stories ever told - a searing account of his six days trapped in one of the most remote spots in the US, and how one inspired act of bravery brought him home. The book was then made into the film 127 Hours by Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle and staring James Franco.

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