Aron is a mechanical engineer and an American Mountaineer who was forced to amputate his lower right arm to free himself after his arm became trapped by a boulder when he was mountaineering in Utah.
Aron Lee Ralston left his job as a mechanical engineer with Intel in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2002 in order to pursue a life of climbing mountains.
He is widely known for having survived a canyoneering accident in south-eastern Utah in 2003, during which he was forced to amputate his own right arm with a dull multi-tool in order to free himself from a dislodged boulder, which had trapped him there for five days and seven hours.
After the accident, Ralston continued to climb mountains prolifically, including a 2008 expedition to climb Ojos del Salado in Chile and Monte Pissis in Argentina. In 2005, Ralston became the first person to climb all 53 of Colorado’s ‘fourteeners’ solo in winter, a project he started in 1997 and resumed after the amputation in Blue John Canyon. Ralston also made numerous appearances in the media. On July 21, 2003, Ralston appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman; on October 6, 2005, Ralston appeared on The Late Late Show in Ireland.
Ralston was also named GQ Man of the Year and a Vanity Fair Person of the Year in 2003. In the same year he was named the first Shining Star of Perseverance by the WillReturn Council of Assurant Employee Benefits.
Ralston documented his experience in an autobiographical book entitled Between a Rock and a Hard Place, published by Atria Books on September 7, 2004. It reached #3 on The New York Times Hardcover Non-Fiction list. It hit #1 in New Zealand and Australia, and is the #7 best-selling memoir of all-time in the United Kingdom.
British film director Danny Boyle directed the film 127 Hours about Ralston’s accident. Filming took place in March and April 2010, with a release in New York City and Los Angeles on November 5, 2010. Fox Searchlight Pictures funded the film. Actor James Franco played the role of Ralston. The movie received standing ovations at both the Telluride Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival.
Aron Lee Ralston delivered the commencement speech on May 15, 2011, at Carnegie Mellon University for the graduating class of 2011.
Aron illustrates a gruelling journey of bravery, strength, and skill, where every decision made during his time in south-eastern Utah could have been his last.