127 Hours – The Story of Aron Ralston: This Accident Was a ‘Blessing’


Reflection on life for 127 hours: the story of Aron Ralston

This Accident Was A 'Blessing' : 127 hours - Wisdom's Webzine

What if you were trapped alone in an underground, can yon? In addition, what if no one else in the world knew where you were so were unable to save you? What would you do if that really happened to you?

This terrible situation actually happened to Aron Ralston in April 2003 when he was rock-climbing alone at Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Aron suddenly slipped into a crack in the canyons whereupon his arm got stuck between the canyon and a boulder as a rock tumbled down on his arm. Trapped, he came to grips with the situation, realizing that there was no possibility of anyone saving him. One thought that crossed his mind while trapped and scared out of his mind was that he would just have to wait for death.

If you haven’t watched this movie yet and are not interested in a spoiler, stop reading now. So let’s start with the conclusion first. After realizing that no one would come to his rescue and that he still wanted to live, he decided to amputate his own arm and succeeded in freeing himself five days and seven hours later. His autography was published to reveal his story, and it was turned into the widely known film 127 hours (2010) directed by Danny Boyle.

Aron, a mechanical engineering graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, quit his job after five-years as an engineer with Intel. Not satisfied with his mundane work, he started a new life as a mountain climber, which he always had a passion for. While exploring mountains, he was living life on the edge, getting a rush from taking on seemingly insurmountable challenges: vertiginous adventures that took him to the fine line between life and death.

Then an accident in 2003 completely changed his life.

A situation in which he could not even move, with one arm stuck between the narrow boulders of ruthless Great Nature. All he had was a 500ml bottle of water and two burritos. Every time you encounter Aron’s story, you begin to think, “What would I have done had I been stuck in the same situation?”

The moment he faced up to the reality that there was no more water left in the bottle, his strength was exhausted; and knowing that no one can rescue him, he started to feel death’s door come closer. At about the time he looked down and saw that since his arm was stuck between the boulders, there was no blood circulation and his arm was starting to decay. He then began reflecting on his life.

It is commonly said that in moments before death, the days of one’s life go through one’s mind in a flash. For Aron, the accident was a time for him to look back on the life he lived. He then left his will on the rock, and recorded his last words to his family with his camcorder.

Aron looked back on what he had done in his life, moment by moment, and came up with many regrets and apologies. He ignored a call from his sister just to pack his bag for the canyon adventure. If he had picked up the phone call, he could have at least told her where he was going and could have been rescued sooner. Aron recognized how self-centered he was, always ignoring his family and lacking any consideration for others.

As soon as he realized that the rock crushing his arm had fallen due to gravity (while it was him who had decided to go to the canyon and it was also his fault that he hadn’t told anyone where he was going) Aron came up with one conviction in his mind while his anger and frustration disappeared.

“Ok, I’ll amputate my arm and free myself from here.”

It seems almost impossible to amputate an arm with a dull multi-tool. However, he was able to escape as he succeeded in breaking his arm, using the rock crushing him for 5 days as a lever. According to Aron, he was full of joy instead of pain.

This Accident Was A 'Blessing' : 127 hours - Wisdom's Webzine

Aron, who says this accident was a ‘blessing’, still mountain climbs today. After listening to his story, a suicidal man decided to abandon his attempts at ending his life and chose life instead. The courageous story of Aron, indeed, delivers a message of hope to many people.