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Last Updated: Friday, 9 May, 2003, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Recovering climber describes his ordeal
Aron Ralston
Aron Ralston can't wait to get back out into the wild
The US climber who cut off his own arm after being trapped under a fallen boulder has recovered enough to tell his story.

"I did what I had to do," said Aron Ralston, as he recovered in Grand Junction, Colorado.

He calmly described how, being hopelessly pinned by the boulder for four days, he finally took a blunt pocket-knife to his forearm.

"Basically, I got my surgical table ready," he said.

"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 task."

The operation took an hour.

"I may never fully understand the spiritual aspects of what I experienced, but I will try," he said.

"The source of the power I felt was the thoughts and prayers of many people, most of whom I will never know."


Even after his excruciating operation, what Aron had to do to survive required skills beyond the abilities of most.

He crawled through a narrow, winding canyon, rappelled down an 18-metre cliff and walked 10 kilometres down the canyon.

By the time he encountered hikers and then rescuers, Ralston was just three kilometres from the nearest road.

He was dehydrated and bloody, but calm.

Aron said he felt alternately at peace as well as depressed at the prospect of dying, figuring his body might be washed away in a flash flood before anyone had a chance to find it.

Now on the way to recovery he says he can't wait to get out into the wild again.

Trapped climber amputates own arm
03 May 03  |  Americas

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