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Climber amputates arm.....

12:24:33 AM
Taken from CNN's web page. Dunno bout you guys but this is pretty balsy in my opinion.............................

MOAB, Utah (AP) -- A Colorado climber amputated his own arm Thursday, five days after becoming pinned by a boulder, and he was hiking to safety when he was spotted by searchers, authorities said.

Aron Ralston, 27, of Aspen, was in serious condition late Thursday at a hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Ralston was climbing Saturday in Blue John Canyon, adjacent to Canyonlands National Park in far southwestern Utah, when a 200-pound boulder fell on him, pinning his right arm, authorities said.

He ran out of water on Tuesday and on Thursday morning, he decided that his survival required drastic action.

Using his pocketknife, he amputated his arm below the elbow and applied a tourniquet and administered first aid.

He then rigged anchors, fixed a rope and rappelled to the canyon floor.

He hiked downstream and was spotted about 3 p.m. by a Utah Public Safety Helicopter. The search for Ralston had begun the same morning, after authorities were notified he was four days overdue reporting for work.

Ralston was described by authorities as an avid outdoorsman in exceptional physical condition. They said he was known to have climbed 49 of Colorado's major peaks.

" th

11:06:54 AM
Yeah, saw it on the news, unbelievably hard core. Don't know what the lesson in this accident is though ... (don't climb alone ?)

9:24:37 AM
I guarantee they will make a movie out this story - any nominations for the likely lead actor?

Edit: I dug around on the web for some more info to this stoy and found this:

It answers a few of the obvious questions that spring to mind.

3:08:25 PM
Yeh saw this in the age this morning. It says he cut off part of his arm and they didn't knw whether he managed to cut thru the bone or whether it was crushed totally or wat.. anyone know? I would have thought it would be damn near impossible to cut through your own bone with a pocket knife! perhaps he sliced his flesh down to the bone and pulled arm out like pulling off a glove! yeuck.. poor guy. wouldn't be much to stop him now!
11:29:50 PM
I heard this story years ago of a guy hacking part of his knee off with a nut tool after it got stuck in a crack... not sure how? Can't remember any details... maybe it was just a dream.

9:46:40 AM
> I would have thought it would be damn near impossible to
> cut through your own bone with a pocket knife

My Swiss army knife has some kind of wood saw blade that's pretty fierce. I have no doubt that it would be capable of getting through bone. The big question, though is if *I* would be capable of cutting through *my* bone.

I wonder what sort of knife he used? I can't imagine the manufacturer is going to get much mileage out of this one though. The number of people who would have use for a pocketknife with proven bone cutting ability would be, I hope, fairly small.

9:57:49 PM
A guess is that his arm was broken so he could cut across the break.
We chatted about this around morning coffee and I work in an acute hospital so the people I work with have years of experience in trauma medicine.
Their universal response was "Why didn't he tell anyone where he was going?"
His self-amputation may have been avoided if he had left a note saying "cycling to X canyon, will go down and hike out, love ...".
My co-workers don't have much sympathy for this guy; he may be incredibly tough but according to my co-workers, he's stupid.

Donut King
10:07:03 AM
whats an acute hospital?

i think your co-workers at the "acute hospital" are a bit harsh on the fellow calling him stupid.

Careless, but stupid....not really.

his self amputation *may* have been avoided by any number of ways, but i'm sure he realises this and will be reminded evertime time he looks down at his stump.

Would they think the chap that died at Arapalies recently "stupid" for running it out above his last gear placement (or whatever) or the dude that injured himself on missing link "stupid" for not finding good pro (or whatever).

10:51:22 AM
Well said Donut - just imagine how many thousands of 'stupid' adventurers lives could have been saved, if they had only left a note saying where they had gone. Scott, Mallory, Burke and Wills - the list goes on - anybody else got examples of 'stupid' adventurers.

10:53:58 AM
Or if they had just stayed at home and watched TV instead!

10:57:24 AM
An acute hospital is a place where they send stupid adventurers.

11:15:31 AM
> Would they think the chap that died at Arapalies recently "stupid" for running it
> out above his last gear placement (or whatever) or the dude that injured himself
> on missing link "stupid" for not finding good pro (or whatever).

It's an interesting point you raise here. I suspect part of the problem is that the threshold of what we perceive to be 'risky' rises as our skill level or experience level rises. For many climbers, myself included, there are some things you do that just don't rate a mention any more. Whereas once upon a time you would have been shitting yourself.

For this reason, I agree that calling this bloke stupid is a bit harsh. We all do things that, to us at the time, seem to be an acceptable compromise of caution and freedom. Nevertheless, the reactions of people like Kieren's cow-orkers are useful and important, because it's through their eyes that we can see these things as they once might have appeared to us.

Why is this important? Because climbers are rarely killed or injured doing things that they, at the time, believe to be risky or dangerous. Climbers are killed or seriously injured 'checking out a new cliff', or 'running it out on easy ground', 'scrambling up the easy side' or 'just rapping off'. Once our instincts are switched on, we seem pretty good at avoiding bad consequences. But as our experience rises, so to does our threshold of danger and we don't turn the instincts on any more. Then the bad things happen.


11:21:32 AM
You are very right Tim. These days I have no qualms about unclipping form a belay stance with a 700m drop below. The average person would be shitting themselves but I have just de-senstized myself to any form of exposure. That can certainly lead to potential accidents.

11:33:37 AM
To most non climbers, even somebody climbing a grade 10 crack and placing bomber gear every half metre, would still be seen as doing something mad or at least dangerous. Hey you even see people abseiling with somebody belaying them on a seperate rope from above, as well as someone else giving them a firemans belay from the bottom, being though of as "mad" by people watching that are not familiar with the sport.

You cant really read alot into peoples opinions if they do not know the context. The point made by the hospital staff that you should let people know where your going (especially if your a going solo) is a good one.

As a tasteless asside, maybee Simon Yates (who had to cut the rope on Joe Simpson of 'Touching the Void Fame') and the American guy should pool their design ideas and market the perfect climbers pocketknife ;-)

Donut King
10:02:03 PM
lol...Burke and Wills....thats a classic hardcore.

Donut King
10:26:34 PM
yeah...ok..other peoples views on danger an all that stuff is great, but at the end of the day this sort of post-fact analysis of what *may* or *maynot* have helped then dissing them cos you think they is stupoid is a tad pointless.

Perhaps it all sevrves as one of those fantastic timely reminders that we all diligently read, ponificate over...then promptly forget...tell someone where youre going and how long you'll be, dont forget to tie a knot in your ab ropes, dont over cam, wear a helmet (i really must get one) wear clean underwear in case you get hit by a car, eat lots of bran, wear sun block, dont trade while insolvent, dont wank or you'll go blind...blah...blah...blah

i mean really, does anyone really benifit from all this. if only he had a sat phone!

this is a great story and will enter into climbing folklore (he gets 10/10 from me).......but my monies on it happening again.....cant seem to see the keyboard...looossing fukus....

Oweng, mate you can read heaps into peoples opinions if you dont know the contex, i know i do!!
and i like youre idea of the Climber knife..but i hope i never need one...YIKES!

cheers chaps and chapets

5:08:03 PM
my paddler mate has this super dooper kayaking knife used to cut kayaks in half to rescue people.. cost somewhere around $250.. I reckon that'd be the go.. slice through ur arm bone like butter, wat every outdoorsy person should be putting on their chrissy list ;-)
10:46:27 PM
Wow, I have started something here.
The "acute" hospital that I work in is Wimmera Base in Horsham. We have a full-time emergency department and intensive care unit. The "acute" means that we deal with people who are seriously ill. My workplace is where you will end up if you fall off at Arapiles and get injured (unless the chopper crew decides to fly you elsewhere, but that is another story).
I asked around our morning-tea table for people's comments about the accident. There were a number of nurses and doctors about the table with years of experience in trauma medicine. Not one questionned why he was canyonning on his own. They were all shocked at what he had managed to do (the amputation). No-one could imagine doing it without benefit of anaesthetic. Their universal response was "Why didn't he let someone know where he was going?"
That's the response I observed from people who aren't fools.
It's not my personal opinion. I think that I have fairly represented the views of the clinical staff at my workplace.
My personal view is more complex because I have done long solo trips, but it's my workmates views that I am presenting here.
11:10:15 AM

Apparantly his knife was a cheap and nasty one.
Can you imagine all that chipped bone and nerve endings, I would have though the shock alone should have killed him.

12:05:14 PM
Apparently he did have to break his bones first

... OW!

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There are 25 messages in this topic.


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