ARON RALSTON (Pictured) Is a [...]

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF DAWSON

ARON RALSTON (pictured) is a 35-year-old mountaineer from Colorado, and looks the part. He is tall, lean, bearded, wind-blasted -- the epitome of the laid-back adventurer.

But from his right sleeve protrudes a prosthetic pincer. It is the astonishing circumstances surrounding the loss of his forearm that has made first a best-selling book and now an acclaimed film.

Ralston's story goes like this. In April 2003, after a lone trek into the wilderness of Utah, a freak accident left him trapped beneath a half-ton boulder in remote Blue John Canyon, a door's-width ravine, some 70ft deep.

After six days, pinned to the wall below his right elbow, having exhausted water, food, every method of extraction and with scant chance of rescue, Ralston effected his release by severing his own limb.

He then bound his wound, took a snapshot of the carnage, abseiled down a sheer rock face and set out on an eight-mile hike back to his car, pondering how he would c h a n g e g e a r w h e n driving to the hospital. He had been walking for five hours when a helicopter arrived. 'I went through six days where I came to accept I was going to die,' says Ralston. …