The Survival Story of Aron Ralston - American Culture and History

Welcome to the second part of Episode 117. This is going to be fun. We all love survival stories, do we not? Watching men and women find food and water. Seeing them build shelters out of sticks, stones and leaves. It’s a common theme on reality television. Occasionally, though, in real life, we hear real survival stories. People who were confronted with death and managed to escape it.

Today you’ll hear the incredible story of Aron Ralston. You may know his story already if you’ve seen the movie, 127 hours. If you haven’t, you’re in for a ride.

Take a deep breath, though. Aaron is going to live. This is a survival story. Although, if you are eating, if you’re having lunch right now, you might want to pause this episode and wait until you’ve digested your food. It gets pretty gruesome.


Canyonlands National Park in Utah is a gem. Red rock formations and oddly shaped peaks make up its unique landscape. It’s the home of prehistoric cultures from over 10,000 years ago, and there are rock markings on cave walls that you can see for yourself. At night, it boasts one of the most spectacular views of the night sky in the United States due to the fact that there’s virtually no light pollution. According to the National Park Service, if you lie down in the canyon at night and look up into the sky, you can see up to 15,000 stars, whereas in a city you might only see around 500.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors come to this iconic park each year to climb sandstone spires, float on rafts down the canyon rivers and take advantage of a number of other activities the park has to offer.

Aron Ralston was one of them. He’s an adventurer. At the young age of 13, Ralston moved to Colorado, the heart of the Rocky Mountains, and he soon became a passionate mountaineer. A mountaineer is someone who climbs mountains as a sport, the goal usually being to reach a peak or the summit of a mountain. That’s the very top of a mountain – a peak or summit.

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