Mountain Mayhem: An Aspen Homecoming |

Mountain Mayhem: An Aspen Homecoming

May Eynon

Having spent the past six months crisscrossing the globe, Aron Ralston looked forward to returning home to reconnect with friends and family. Since amputating part of his right arm in May 2003, when it was pinned between a boulder and a canyon wall in Utah, Ralston has been through a fair share of life experiences. He has undergone multiple surgeries, written a biography, promoted his book on an international tour, climbed Aconcogua and essentially returned to a life centered around adventure.To acknowledge his friends, family and the community for all of the support shown to him over the past couple of years during his rescue and recovery, Ralston wanted to give back. He and four local non-profits conceived a benefit event. Mountain Rescue Aspen, Wilderness Workshop, Aspen Youth Experience, and DonorDirect equally shared the responsibility of promoting the event as well as the proceeds generated by it. Former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw agreed interview Ralston for the occasion, having developed a friendship with him while filming a two-hour special for “Dateline NBC.” They related on various levels – especially their appreciation of the outdoors. On Friday, Feb. 4, “Aron Ralston: An Aspen Homecoming,” presented by Jones Trading, took place at the Wheeler Opera House. A dozen other sponsors supported the event at treeline, trailhead and summit sponsorship levels.”We feel lucky to be a part of such an incredible evening,” stated Packy Jones, Jones Trading chairman.”I think there are two outstanding elements to this story,” said John C. Gray of Dayton, Ohio, a treeline sponsor of the event. “One is the bravery and courage Aron showed (while trapped in Utah) and the other is how Aron has resumed his life of discovery. Both are equally admirable.”Ralston recalled lessons he learned through his experience, took questions from the audience and talked of his exploratory outdoor lifestyle with Brokaw. Afterward, he signed copies of his biography, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” in the lobby.Ralston remains an active climber and backcountry enthusiast, so it was fitting he capped the weekend off with a hut trip. A fortunate few accompanied him at the Lindley Hut near Ashcroft. They included Brokaw, his daughter, Ralston’s parents, and a cast of friends from the Aspen area.After a day spent ski touring, the evening resumed with a fajita feast complimented by margaritas and political commentary.On Sunday morning, Brokaw celebrated his 65th birthday at the hut before departing for civilization. Aron and a few friends returned to the backcountry slopes to carry on with another quest for turns.To contact May to send info, insight or invites, e-mail

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