When You Find Yourself Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Adventurer Aron Ralston is a survivor
 if there ever was one.

We all have those days where everything that can go wrong, does. Where it seems the entire universe is working against you, testing your patience, your determination and your will to carry on. But in the scheme of things, are these so-called bad days really that bad?

Aron Ralston, an experienced outdoorsman and climber, took the concept of a bad day to a whole new level when he found himself alone and trapped in a remote Utah canyon, his arm pinned by a massive 800-pound boulder. Five days and seven agonizing hours later, Ralston’s extremely bad day had become nothing short of a life-or-death situation. To survive, he was faced with an unthinkable decision, and the ordeal would forever change his perspective on what truly matters in life.
The survivor and best-selling author will share his harrowing experience along with wisdom on how to conquer life’s “boulders” – both big and small – in the keynote address at the 2017 Masters Summit, MasterControl’s largest annual user conference, to be held on Oct. 10 in Salt Lake City.

On the afternoon of April 26, 2003, Ralston was descending into a narrow slot canyon in Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah when a huge boulder became dislodged and crushed his right hand against the canyon wall. During the 127 hours of entrapment by the unrelenting boulder, he experimented unsuccessfully with multiple methods of escape until nearly giving in to his demise, even going so far as to carve a makeshift tombstone into the canyon wall and video record his final farewell to loved ones.

But despite dehydration, exhaustion and delirium, Ralston experienced a moment of clarity in which he realized his only hope for survival was to amputate his arm using the only tool available to him: a cheap and dull pocketknife. 

Best-Selling Book and Oscar-Nominated Film

Aron recounted his extraordinary story in his best-selling book, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” the basis of the film, “127 Hours,” starring James Franco. The film received six Oscar nominations.

  As this excerpt from the book illustrates, Aron’s decision to sever his arm was an absolute last resort, and an idea he struggled to come to terms with:

“As I debate my remaining choices, my stress turns to pessimism. […] Without enough water to wait for rescue, without a pick to crack the boulder, without an anchor, I have only one possible course of action.

“I speak slowly out loud. ‘You’re gonna have to cut your arm off.’ Hearing the words makes my instincts and emotions revolt. My vocal cords tense, and my voice changes octaves.
“‘But I don’t wanna cut my arm off!’
Incredibly, the amputation was just the beginning of Ralston’s arduous journey out of danger. In his keynote presentation, titled “127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” he will shed new light on the meaning of sacrifice and what is truly important, and explain how he has come to believe there is no force more powerful than the will to live.

“‘Aron, you’re gonna have to cut your arm off.’ I realize I’m arguing with myself and yield to a halfhearted chuckle. This is crazy.”

Join Us at the 2017 Masters Summit

The Masters Summit is the premier educational event for the global MasterControl community, including anyone who works in compliance and regulatory-related fields or roles, regardless of whether you currently use MasterControl software. With over 550 attendees, 75 educational sessions and interactive workshops, 30 hours of networking and Ralston’s one-of-a-kind keynote, the 2017 Masters Summit is not to be missed.  
Registration for the event is now open, and you can save 40 percent on the cost of your entire registration package if you register using the discount code MS17EB40 by April 30. A generous group discount is also available if three or more people from your company want to attend the Summit. Please contact events@mastercontrol.com for more information.

Beth Pedersen is a content marketing specialist at the MasterControl headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her technical and marketing writing experience in the enterprise software space includes work for Microsoft, Novell, NetIQ, SUSE and Attachmate. She has a bachelor’s degree in life sciences communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree in digital design and communication from the IT University of Copenhagen.