Mountain climber, author tells survival story

The term “sacrifice” often relays images of slaughtered pigs or dead goats presented on hilltops exalting Gods unknown. However morbid the sacrifice, they are performed in hope that some great reward will be given in return.

Aron Ralston, who severed his arm for the sake of survival, shared his tale of sacrifice and reward Sept. 27 at Title Wave Books and Music. His appearance attracted more than 300 people and the city’s fire department.

Ralston’s story begins in southeastern Utah in a remote location known as Blue John Canyon. Curiosity led him to investigate a smaller canyon, so he dangled from a boulder to reach the bottom. The boulder above fell and sandwiched one of his arms between two rocks. After five days of rationing his food and water and even recycling his own urine, Ralston prepared for his imminent death. On the sixth day he had an epiphany. He broke his arm and cut off his forearm with a pocketknife, a procedure that took him about 45 minutes, he told the audience.

Several months after the event, Ralston wrote the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” The title debuted on the New York Times Bestsellers list alongside Paris Hilton’s “Confessions of an Heiress” and Jenna Jameson’s “How to Make Love Like a Porn Star.” Ralston’s book has been on the list for the past three weeks.

More people attended Ralston’s presentation than the room could accommodate. Some standing audience members were moved due to fire hazards. Ralston told his story via Title Wave’s public address system.

Weston Bennett, a third-year business management major at UAA, was moved behind Ralston due to the fire code.

“It was fine. I got to see the back of his head,” Bennett said.

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Others were not so fortunate as the loud speakers were not clear through the entire store.

“It was hard to hear,” Todd Engle said. Engle is a health sciences major at UAA.

Because of the overcrowding, the fire marshal spread many Ralston fans about the store.

“This is about the turnout we expected,” said Tara Hviid, a third-year journalism major and Title Wave employee. “He’s very popular. His story is amazing and I think he really touched a lot of people in Alaska.”

Although Ralston’s story inspires many, he also has been touched. A young girl gave Ralston a plaque that read, “Yo gotta believe,” and he incorporated this into his overall message.

He told listeners how there is no such thing as the impossible.

“You must do the things that you think are impossible. ‘Yo gotta believe.’”