Search
 

Working with Aron Ralston to protect Utah's redrock desert canyons

In 2003, climber, adventurer and wilderness advocate, Aron Ralston was trapped by a falling boulder in Utah's remote Blue John Canyon. Today, Aron is committed to protecting the iconic climbing, canyoneering and outdoor adventure venues throughout Utah's famous redrock desert.

SEPTEMBER 2014

Red Desert, Utah © James Kay / Aron Ralston © Courtesy of Aron Ralston
Red Desert, Utah.

  • Project partner: Southeast Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), www.suwa.org
  • Country: Utah, United States
  • Project type: Preservation of the environment
  • Budget: €7,500 in 2012

While descending the narrow slot canyon, a suspended boulder became dislodged, crushing his right hand and pinning it against the canyon wall.  After being trapped in the canyon for over five days with very little food or water, Aron realized that his only chance for survival was to amputate his arm in order to free himself from the boulder that held him prisoner.

This epic adventure was documented in the film 127 Hours, directed by Danny Boyle in 2010. 

Red Desert, Utah © James Kay
Utah red desert

The Foundation awarded Aron a $10,000 grant to donate to a conservation organization of his choice.

In response, Aron demonstrated that he means what he says about protecting the wilderness, by adding $10,000 of his own money making a combined total of $20,000, which he donated to the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA).

SUWA is an organization working to preserve Utah's redrock wilderness, one of the American West's wildest and most awe-inspiring landscapes.

This region includes Blue John Canyon where Aron was trapped, as well as such iconic climbing venues as Fisher Towers and Indian Creek.

Canyonlands National Park, Utah © Tom Till
Canyonlands National Park - Indian Creek

SUWA used the $20,000 donation to create a matching grant program for their 2012 fund raising efforts. This program resulted in raising $76,000 which will help fund work to protect some of the best canyoneering and climbing venues in the world.

Aron Ralston says:

Aron Ralston © Courtesy of Aron Ralstton "Today, not least for my experience in Blue John Canyon, red sand is forever embedded in my spirit.
Unique in the world, Greater Canyonlands, the defining landscape of the West, is under attack by gas, oil, tar sands, and uranium companies, who threaten to destroy one of our nation's most special wild places.
I urge President Obama to recognize Greater Canyonlands' significance for our national heritage, and take swift action to steward this landscape into the future.
In doing so, he will save the region from imminent degradation. That's my wish: that Greater Canyonlands National Monument will be there, long after I'm gone, for future generations to enjoy."

Updated in september 2014


RELATED ARTICLES

Project thumbnail KENTUCKY : ENSURE ACCESS TO RED RIVER GORGE CLIMBING SITE PROJECT - KENTUCKY: ENSURE ACCESS TO RED RIVER GORGE CLIMBING SITE

The Red River Gorge Climbers' Coalition (RRGCC) is a group of climbers that has come together to protect, promote and guarantee responsible climbing (...)

Find out more -  Our environment projects