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While an engineer at Intel in the late '90s, Ralston told the Times, he saw the IMAX movie Everest, which tells the story of a team of climbers whose attempted ascent turned deadly. Ralston was intrigued. He told the paper he quit the Intel job when he couldn't take three weeks to go climbing in Alaska. Since then, he has made a life of exploring the outdoors and following the jam bands Phish and String Cheese Incident while working at Ute Mountaineer in Aspen.
After the avalanche, a friend pulled Ralston aside, according to the Aspen paper, and said, "Aron, I think you were headed for trouble; if this hadn't happened now, it could have been--or will be--deadly." It seems Aron Ralston has cheated death again, but at quite a price. --Reported by Rita Healy/Denver and Peta Owens-Liston/Salt Lake City