Aron Ralston, who inspired the movie “127 Hours”, told an audience on March 9 if he had the choice to go on the canyoneering trip, which ended in him amputating his right arm to survive, he would do it again.
“For me this was not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. It was one of the best things that’s ever happened for me in my life. I’m eternally grateful for that boulder, for what it gave me. I’ve only gained from this experience,” said Ralston.
The UVUSA event filled the Grande Ballroom with an audience of approximately 700.
What started off as an easy hiking day for Ralston, ended with a six-day fight for his life. In 2003, Ralston was descending through a slot canyon in Blue John Canyon when an 800-pound boulder became dislodged and pinned his arm against the canyon wall.
“I really wanted to see him give his speech. I like to go hiking by myself. I didn’t realize how much of a spiritual experience he had there,” said Emily Landon, outdoor recreation major at UVU.
After Ralston spent the next hour trying to free his arm without any success, he lost hope that anyone would find him. Stilled equipped with his camera, Ralston taped a goodbye video for his family, and by thinking of his friends and family, he managed to smile while still trapped.
“As sad and as somber as it was in that moment, it was also the moment when that boulder gave me my first gift. In that moment that rock showed me what was truly important in my life,” said Ralston.
Knowing he would die if he remained stuck in the canyon, Ralston realized cutting his arm off was his only option for survival. Hi knife was so dull it could not cut the hair off his arm, and when he reached his arm bone, he felt defeated because his knife was too dull to cut through it.
“I’ve always had an appreciate for him. I’ve always liked his idea for survival,” said Clay Shields, marketing major at UVU.
Believing he was standing on his grave, Ralston carved his epitaph on the canyon wall next to him, but according to Ralston, on the fifth night of being trapped, he had a 30-second premonition of his future son, which motivated him to get out alive.
On the sixth day he broke the bones in his arm, which freed him, and once he was free, he said, “thank you” to the boulder.
“It showed me what was important in my life and what was possible in my life,” said Ralston. He described the area where he was stuck a sacred place.
Today, Ralston continues to climb and is an advocate for wilderness preservation. While speaking to the audience he wore a green UVU tie and prosthetic arm.
Kimberly Bojórquez is a Los Angeles native currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis in journalism, and a minor in Latin American Studies. From 2017-18 she served as the editor-in-chief of the UVU Review and worked at ABC4’s morning show “Good Things Utah”, Salt Lake City Weekly and the Daily Herald.
She has written stories that relate to national issues, local crime and social justice. In her spare time, she loves to take photos, hike Utah’s national parks and attend live rock concerts.