I am sure a lot of you have heard this story, but it always seems like there is somebody who missed the memo back in 2003 when it occurred. This story of survival is pure definition of the will to survive amongst all species in the animal kingdom. A man named Aron Ralston was an avid backpacker/climber. He was the type of guy that quit his full time job to spend time in the outdoors. Yet, he broke the golden rule of backpacking… never, under any circumstances go alone or not tell somebody where you are going.
The 27 year old was hiking through Utah’s Canyonlands National Park, a very remote area of America, even for a National Park. While scrambling through a small canyon a half-ton boulder collapsed and pinned his arm to the face of a rock wall. Changing his life forever.
For 5 days he stood there, unable to move his arm or the boulder. His arm started to die and and he became more and more dehydrated. He savored every little drop of water in his water bottle as if it was gold. Suffice to say, it wasn’t enough. He started living off his own excretions.
It became apparent to Ralston that he was going to die if he didn’t free himself. He knew all he had left was to cut off his own arm with his little pocket knife. First he used his body’s leverage against the rock and rocked his body hard enough to break both bones in his arm. He pulled out the pocket knife, and began slowly cutting through the flesh of his arm. He also used pliers to pull and rip through the tendons. The pain was beyond any one of us could possibly comprehend and I haven’t even told you the bad part yet. He slowly cut through his muscle until all that was left was the nerve. Knowing the amount of pain awaiting, he bit himself and prepared to cut the nerve. It took him a while but eventually mustered the strength to rip through the nerve. I guess you could basically say the feeling was probably worse than somebody removing all your skin and submerging you into a vat of vinegar.
Having already signed his death date on the rock wall and filming his will and last words on his camera, he was now freed. The entire time he had no phone and he was many miles away from his vehicle… the only option he had now was to hike out, having just cut off his own arm, drinking his own urine and living off no calorie intake. The hike out included rock wall traverses and rappelling off cliffs.
He eventually stumbled towards a couple he saw hiking that called in a helicopter and gave him trail snacks and water. He survived.
The new movie coming out is called ’127 hours’ and it recounts and relives his experiences. I HIGHLY recommend going to see this film. It most definitely will be inspiring and open up multiple new realizations. An example being, not taking such things as drops of water and a shambled pocket knife for granted… not to mention your life.
I plan on going to see this, looks incredible.