Aron Ralston (partially found "Blue John Canyon" video diary of American outdoorsman; 2003)

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This article has been tagged as NSFL due to its disturbing subject matter.


Aron Ralston after the incident.

Status: Partially Found

On April 26th, 2003, then-26-year-old climbing enthusiast Aron Ralston was involved in an accident in the Blue John Canyon in southeastern Utah. While climbing down a slot canyon, a boulder that he was using to support his weight became dislodged and pinned his right hand against the canyon wall. On this particular occasion, Ralston had not told anyone in advance that he was going on a climbing trip, and as such, he knew that it was unlikely anyone would come searching for him.[1]

Over the proceeding days, Ralston had to carefully ration his food supply, consisting of 350 ml of water and two burritos and was eventually forced to drink his own urine. During the course of the event, Ralston created a video diary for his friends and family, with the assumption that he was going to die. After three days of trying to chip away at the boulder with a knife, Ralston decided that he would attempt to amputate his forearm. This proved difficult, however, as the knife could not break through the bone. On the fifth day, Ralston carved his name and the date he predicted he would die into the wall, and he recorded his last goodbyes to his family. Upon waking up the next day, however, he realized he could break his arm bone using the torque against it. He did so and completed the amputation, using a tourniquet to stop the blood flow and a multi-tool to cut through muscle tissue and a nerve.[2]

After freeing himself, Ralston exited the canyon and repelled down a sheer wall with one hand, before attempting to hike 13 kilometres to where he had left his car. On his way, he encountered a family on vacation from the Netherlands who gave him food and water and alerted the authorities. Ralston feared that he would bleed out before authorities arrived, but a helicopter search party happened to pass overhead moments later and picked him up.

In 2010, a movie titled 127 Hours (named after the amount of time that Ralston spent trapped in the canyon) was released starring James Franco. To prepare for the role, Franco and the film's producers were allowed to view the home video footage that Ralston had recorded, and parts of the film's transcript were taken verbatim from Ralston's video.


Ralston was asked in an interview if he would ever make his footage public, and while he understood the intrigue and interest behind the concept, he politely declined, stating that it was a private, personal video made for his family and friends and that he intended for it to remain that way. Despite this, one video clip has been released, as well as a compilation of audio snippets, taken from different sections of the tape.


  1. LA Times article Retrieved 11 Apr '18
  2. Post-Gazette article Retrieved 11 Apr '18