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Someone with true guts.... climber cuts off his arm to survive

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posted on May, 2 2003 @ 08:16 PM

Utah climber who cut off arm had no choice

The Associated Press

Published: May 2, 2003, 04:00:13 PM PDT
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - The climber who amputated his own arm to free himself from beneath a boulder had no other choice if he wanted to survive, one of his rescuers said Friday.

Aron Ralston, 27, of Aspen would have died had he stayed where he was, in remote Blue John Canyon near Canyonlands National Park in the far southwestern Utah, Emery County sheriff's Sgt. Mitch Vetere told NBC's "Today" show.

Ralston, described by authorities as an avid outdoorsman in exceptional physical condition, was in serious condition late Thursday at a hospital in Grand Junction, Colo.

Vetere said two other rescuers who returned to the canyon in hopes of retrieving the limb discovered that the boulder weighed 1,000 pounds, not the 200 that they first believed. They were unable to retrieve the arm.

"If he wouldn't have gotten himself out of that mess," Vetere said, "they wouldn't have seen him from the air."

Ralston was hiking Saturday when he became pinned by the boulder. He ran out of water on Tuesday and on Thursday morning, he decided that his survival required drastic action.

Using a pocketknife, Ralston cut off his right arm below the elbow and applied a tourniquet and administered first aid. He then rigged anchors, fixed a rope and rappelled 60 feet to the canyon floor.

Ralston's expeditions have been known to trigger awe, said Brion After, manager of the Ute Mountaineering store in Aspen where Ralston works. After said Ralston has climbed 49 of Colorado's 14,000-foot-plus mountains.

"To be honest, sometimes we get pretty scared with some of the things he's doing," After said.

Ralston was found about 3 p.m. Thursday with two other hikers, said Vetere, who did not elaborate on who the other people were or why Ralston was with them. The search had begun in the morning after authorities were notified of his disappearance.

Vetere said Ralston described to them what he had done and that he was "obviously tired." His only request was water.

The rescurers tried to keep Ralston awake for the 12-minute flight to the hospital in Moab, Utah, by talking to him. He walked into the emergency room on his own. He was flown later to the Grand Junction hospital.

"I've never seen anybody who has the will to live and is as much of a warrior as Aron is, and I've been doing this for 25 years," said park ranger Steve Swanke, who was with Ralston in the emergency room. "He is a warrior. Period."

[Edited on 3-5-2003 by Netchicken]

posted on May, 2 2003 @ 08:20 PM
i know it would be a very traumatic afair to cut of your own arm ,but it had to be done. it's funny that he had to be flown to the 'mother of all bombs', utah. lol. that's the town that wanted the MOABs name changed.

posted on May, 2 2003 @ 08:44 PM
Now that guy has guts. To cut your own arm off with a pocketknife is ..... it sends chills down my spine just thinking about it. Now thats what I call wanting to live.

[Edited on 3-5-2003 by Ocelot]

posted on May, 2 2003 @ 08:49 PM
I wonder how he got through the bone with a knife? Did he use the saw tool?

posted on May, 2 2003 @ 08:56 PM
I read about that and thought... there is no freaking way I could do that. Amazing how strong the will to live is. What I was so impressed by was that he did that and THEN RAPPELED down a cliff. INSANE

posted on May, 2 2003 @ 09:07 PM
An astounding tale of sheer fortitude.
If what Americans call a pen-knife is anything like what the British call a pen-knife (a small, relatively blunt thing), I shudder to think how long it must have taken him and how painful it must have been.
How he managed not to faint, I'll never know.

posted on May, 2 2003 @ 09:09 PM
I'm guessing the bone was probably crushed to some extent, so he prob didn't have to saw through it. Either way it is something not very many people can say they did.

posted on May, 2 2003 @ 09:21 PM
That's awesome.

posted on May, 3 2003 @ 03:01 AM
Yeah that dude had a will to survive!!! Thats great!! Kinda reminds me of Mad Max

posted on May, 3 2003 @ 03:30 AM
Don't assume he didn't either saw through or snap the bones.
Who was that guy a few years ago that had to cut through the flesh in his leg and then saw through the thigh bone? Remember, he was a lumberjack fella?

Not just any bone di he saw through but the thigh bone.

Had you asked that guy the day before whether or not he could cut through the flesh and then snap the bones in the lower arm were he to be trapped, he'd probably have answered negatively. I'll bet everyone here at the board could do the same thing this guy did. You guys ain't whimps, nor are you losers.

Estragon, you'd have probably cut off the arm while stopping to write a "how to" book at the same time!

posted on May, 6 2003 @ 04:38 PM
An interview with the parents...

OK its tough to cut your own arm off, but how tough it is to BREAK your arm first when it is pinned .... that guy is amazing...

The mountain climber used a pocketknife to amputate his arm, but first he realized he had to smash the bone, because his knife was not sharp enough to cut through it.

He actually broke his bone when he realized and decided that he was going to do the amputation," Ralston's mother, Donna, said today on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America.

"He actually forced his arm against the boulder and broke the bone so he would be able to cut through the tissue, because he knew from his experiences that the knife he had wasn't sharp enough to actually cut the bone," she said.

Aron Ralston, 27, is an extremely experienced climber who has also had search and rescue training, so he was able to think clearly in a situation in which many people might have panicked, his parents said.

"He said within the first hour he had identified he basically had four alternatives: someone would come along the trail, he would be able to chip away at the rock and free his hand, he would be able to rig up something with the ropes and equipment he had to move the rock. If all else failed, he said he knew he would need to sever the arm," Larry Ralston said.

Once he made the decision of what he had to do, he put his first aid training to good use.

"He had a long time to think about it and he had some idea of what to do and how to apply the tourniquet correctly, and actually, he lost very little blood," Larry Ralston said. "The doctor indicated that he did not even have a blood transfusion during the transport or at all. So, he was lucky in that respect."

posted on May, 6 2003 @ 04:44 PM
this is what seporates us from the animals

posted on May, 6 2003 @ 04:56 PM
To think that a guy who looks like he wouldn't ever even think about hurting a soul, would be driven so far into desperation that he ended up hurting himself. It is amazing what the mind coupled with the forces of nature can do to the body.

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