Aron Lee Ralston is an American mountain climber who became famous in May 2003 when he was forced to amputate his lower right arm with a dull knife in order to free himself after his arm became trapped by a boulder. Ralston documented his experience in a book titled Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
Ralston, a student of mechanical engineering and French at Carnegie Mellon University, was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. At Carnegie Mellon, he served as a Resident Assistant, studied abroad, and was an active intramural sports participant. He left his job as a mechanical engineer with Intel in 2002 to climb all of Colorado's "fourteeners,” or peaks over 14,000 feet high. While he was on a canyoneering trip in Blue John Canyon (near Moab, Utah), a boulder fell and pinned his right forearm, crushing it. After five days of trying to lift and break the boulder, a dehydrated and delirious Ralston bowed his arm against a chockstone and snapped the radius and ulna bones. Using the dull blade on his multiuse tool, he cut the soft tissue around the break. He then used the tool's pliers to tear at the tougher tendons. Although he didn't name which brand (other than to say it was not Leatherman), he did describe it as "what you'd get if you bought a $15 flashlight and got a free multi-use tool.” After Ralston was rescued, his arm was retrieved by park authorities and removed from under the boulder. It was cremated and given to Ralston. He returned to the boulder and left the ashes there.