May 2, 2003
Climber Resorts to Amputation to Free His Arm From Boulder
From Associated Press
MOAB, Utah — A Colorado climber amputated part of his 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 at a hospital in Grand
Ralston was climbing Saturday in Blue John Canyon, adjacent to Canyonlands
National Park in southeastern Utah, when a 200-pound boulder fell on him,
pinning his right arm, authorities said.
He ran out of water Tuesday and on Thursday morning, he decided that his
survival required drastic action.
Using a pocketknife, he amputated his arm below the elbow, applied a tourniquet
and administered first aid. He rigged anchors, fixed a rope and rappelled to the
canyon floor. He hiked downstream and was spotted by a helicopter. The search
for Ralston began Thursday morning, after authorities were notified he was four
days overdue for work. Ralston was described by authorities as being in
exceptional physical condition.