By now most of you have heard of this and how it all happened.Just in case you havent,here it is.All I can say is .....Wow!
ON THURSDAY — only a week after he crawled through a narrow, winding canyon, rappelled down a 60-foot cliff and walked six miles in search of rescuers with the stump of his right arm wrapped in a makeshift tourniquet — Ralston sat down at a hospital near Denver to tell the world how he did it.
But not before he balanced a camera in his one remaining hand and snapped a picture of the hordes of reporters and cameras that showed up to hear him.
Yes, of course, the pain of sawing off his arm was terrible, said Ralston, 27, a mechanical engineer-turned-adventurer. “I did what I had to do,” he said.
‘GOING THROUGH EACH OPTION’
Trapped April 26 in Bluejohn Canyon in Canyonlands National Park when the boulder shifted as he was lowering himself off it, Ralston tried everything he could think of to save himself.
His first instinct was to ram his wiry body up against the rock, hoping it might budge.
After several failed attempts, the former Intel mechanical engineer and search-and-rescue volunteer soon realized he had better save his energy for a smarter plan.
“I began laying plans ... and the next five days until I was rescued … I spent going through each option,” he told reporters Thursday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
He used the rope and pulleys in his climbing gear to rig a hoist to lift it.
He used a “multiuse tool” — similar to a pocketknife, but with multiple blades for different tasks — to try to carve the rock away where it was pinning his arm, just below the wrist.
He felt depressed and remorseful at times, but he was largely able to stave off desperation by focusing on finding a way to free himself.
He said he had mystical experiences — sensing “presences” in the canyon that he believed were his family and friends giving him strength.
Finally, by April 29, his third day in the canyon, his food and water — a liter of water, two burritos and crumbs on a couple of candy wrappers — were running low. Ralston concluded that he would have to cut off his arm if he were to survive. By then, he said, “the courage became more about pragmatics.”
‘THE LAST OPPORTUNITY’
Before beginning, Ralston prepared a tourniquet, pulled some bicycling shorts out of his backpack to put on the wound and packed his other belongings so he could quickly leave after he was done.
“Essentially, I got my surgical table ready,” he said.
But his initial attempt to sever the limb was sobering. He was using the same knife with which he’d tried to carve away the boulder, a folding device that typically has knife blades, pliers, screwdrivers and other gadgets. It was “what you’d get if you bought a $15 flashlight and got a free multiuse tool,” he said. It was so dull by then that “I couldn’t even cut the hair off my arm.”
The next day, after finishing the last sips of his water, he tried again. This time, he was able to puncture the skin, but he found he couldn’t cut the bone beneath.
By Thursday morning, he concluded that he had only one more chance.
“I realized that it was the last opportunity that I could have and still have the physical strength to get out where help would find me,” he said.
This time, he twisted his arm, torqueing the bones until they broke.
“I was able to first snap the radius and then, within another few minutes, snap the ulna at the wrist, and from there, I had the knife out and applied the tourniquet and went to the task,” he said.
“It was a process that took about an hour.”
But Ralston’s ordeal was by no means over. Bluejohn Canyon is as remote as it gets in Canyonlands National Park, and he had many miles to navigate, bleeding and dehydrated, before he could hope to find help.
With the stump of his arm wrapped in the makeshift tourniquet, Ralston still faced a 150-foot crawl through a rock-clogged fissure. Then, one-handed, he had to rappel down a sheer face of rock. Then came a hike of about six miles. Only then did he run into the Dutch tourist family who went for help.
“It was quite shocking when he started talking to us,” Monique Meijer, one of the tourists, said this week on NBC’s “Today” show. “He said: ‘I’m Aron. I’m in this canyon since Saturday, and three hours ago, I had to cut off my hand to release myself.’ ”