Between a rock and a hard place: Aaron Ralston speaks at Marquette University
By Lauren Burke, Grad ’11
Photo by Aaron Ledesma, communication junior
“Yup, I’m, the guy who cut his arm off.”
That’s how Aaron Ralston introduced himself to a packed Varsity Theatre at Marquette on Thursday.
In 2003, Ralston set off on a solo hike through the southeastern Utah canyons. Hours into his trip and miles away from civilization, he grabbed onto a boulder to lower himself into a canyon. The boulder came loose, falling with Ralston into a deep crevice and trapping his right hand. His story is captured in the book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
Ralston’s story became the 2010 film 127 Hours, starring James Franco and directed by Danny Boyle. The film details the six days Ralston spent freezing, hungry and dehydrated, lodged in that canyon before he eventually freed himself by cutting off his own arm.
Ralston revealed something that is not in the film: “What you don’t know, is that I was the guy who was smiling when he cut his arm off.”
Ralston compared his literal boulder, to the metaphoric boulders often faced in life and encouraged his audience to seize moments and accept challenges.
During the final hours of his ordeal, Ralston had a vision of himself as a father. The face of a small boy fueled Ralston’s determination to get out, even if it meant suffering through excruciating pain and then dragging himself for miles to find help.
“That boulder showed me what was possible, what was important, and what was extraordinary in me,” Ralston said.
Ralston’s talk was made possible by Marquette University Student Government as part of its Speaker Series.