Sept. 22: '127 Hours' climber Aron Ralston opening Speaker Series

Mountain climber Aron Ralston, inspiration for the film “127 Hours,” will open the annual Speaker Series at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, the Reed Union Building on campus.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

In 2003, Ralston’s story of survival made headlines worldwide. Pinned beneath a half-ton boulder for nearly a week in a remote slot canyon in southern Utah, he finally freed himself by breaking the bones in his right forearm and severing the viscera with a dull pocketknife. After applying a tourniquet, he rappelled out the canyon and hiked for five hours before searchers in a helicopter miraculously rescued him.

Ralston documented the life-altering experience and his remarkable will to survive in his New York Times best-selling book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” The 2010 film adaptation of the book by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle starred James Franco, who received both Golden Globe and Academy Award best-actor nominations.

A 1997 Carnegie Mellon University graduate, Ralston earned dual degrees in mechanical engineering and French, as well as a minor in piano. In 2002, he had left an engineering position at Intel to pursue a goal of climbing Colorado’s 54 “fourteeners,” or mountains greater than 14,000 feet, which he achieved following his accident. He is the only person to have climbed the fourteeners solo in winter.

Aided by radical prosthetic devices that he helped to design, Ralston has continued to explore the world’s peaks, including Ojos del Salado in Chile and Monte Pissis in Argentina. He lives with his wife and son in Boulder, Colo., where he is an advocate for preservation of the wilderness lands of Utah and Colorado.

Aron Ralston’s Penn State Behrend Speaker Series presentation is supported by the Student Activity Fee, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Harriet Behrend Ninow Memorial Lecture Series Fund. Also appearing in the series this fall will be social media expert Erik Qualman, author of “Socialnomics,” on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

For additional information, contact the Office of Student Activities at 814-898-6171.


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Last Updated January 09, 2015