Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nature versus Human Endurance

In 2003, trapped in a Utah canyon by a fallen boulder, a solitary hiker freed himself with an amputation that became famous around the world. And it has now become a Hollywood movie, where Aron Ralston relives his harrowing experience, with a Hollywood twist.

Aron re-tells his story in the December 2010 issue of Outside from the set of “127 hours”, a film starring James Franco, out in theatres now. Aron’s story is both thrilling and a true test of the human spirit. In this particular article, Aron describes what it’s like working with a Hollywood actor and on a set, trying to detach himself from the changes needed to translate his book and his experience onto film. He has been able to revisit many times the site of the incident, the first time just 6 months after the accident. He describes it as a place of peace and clarifying acceptance. He still climbs to this day and goes back to Blue John Canyon as often as once a year. He thanks his premonitions of family and life during his ordeal that gave him the courage to make it until dawn one more time before freeing himself.

Aron, like many other climbing enthusiasts, looks back at his experiences and how it has made him grow as a person and athlete. Encouraging others not to give up, overcoming any obstacles that they may encounter. Many schools are incorporating outdoor survival into their physical education programs. Not only to prepare for worst case scenarios but to look at wilderness survival as an enjoyable way to become closer to the earth. Along with personal growth, it offers skills that will encourage the participants to become more interactive with nature by observing and participating in it.

Reference from the SIRC collection:
Ralston, A. (2010). Cut Rough. Outside, 35(11), 78-82; 88-90; 149-151.

Aron’s story and many other informative articles on survival and the outdoors can be found in different parts of the SIRC collection:
Ball, M. (2001). Wilderness Survival and Outdoor Education. Association of Outdoor Recreation & Education Conference Proceedings, 61-65.
Jenkins, M. (2003). Between a rock and the hardest place: what happens when a solitary day hike turns into the ultimate test of survival?. Outside, 28(8), 51-54.
Ralston, A. (2006). MY SUMMIT PROBLEM. Outside, 31(4), 84-88;90;122-123;125;132
Reiter, B. (2010). The Not-So-Great Outdoors. Sports Illustrated, 113(18), 21.

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