If U only had a gun, would you have done this?


May 2, 2003, 06:39 AM
I just had to make this gun-related, so here goes:


Climber amputates his arm, hikes to safety
Friday, May 2, 2003 Posted: 12:57 AM EDT (0457 GMT)

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.

Would a gun shot at the elbow be 'less painful', considering it could have been more sudden? :(


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May 2, 2003, 06:54 AM
If I had enough ammo,I'd shoot in the air to get someone's attention.If that didn't work,I don't know.Luckily I have extra pounds for just such an occasion:D I don't know if I could do it.
I could definately shoot if befor I could CUT it off.
(That's why I don't hike):cool:

May 2, 2003, 07:07 AM
I'd cut instead of shooting, it would be cleaner and less damaging so a prostetic could be more easily fitted (if the doctors couldnt reattach the original or grow a whole new arm in a few years).
Like TonyB, I'd empty my magazine into the air in hopes of getting rescued. In this situation, a double stack WunderNine would be definitely better than a .45...


May 2, 2003, 08:28 AM
Who shall remain nameless reports that on one occassion, he had to cut down a 3 or 4 inch sapling.

He didn't have a saw, but he did have a 12 guage, and a 30-06.

He was able to fell the sapling with 2 blasts from the shotgun, but most of the fibers connecting the stump to the rest of the tree where still intact, and he basically had to cut them individually with a pocket knife.

He reports "It didn't really work that well".

With that in mind, I think I'd pass on amputation via firearm.

Kentucky Rifle
May 2, 2003, 09:17 AM
I guess you do what you gotta do.


Joe Demko
May 2, 2003, 09:21 AM
A few years ago, a fellow from near my hometown amputated his own leg with a pocket knife after getting it crushed under a tree. He then drove a bulldozer to his truck, and then drove the standard shift truck several miles to a farm where he requested that they call an ambulance.
Some folks apparently are wired differently than the rest.

May 2, 2003, 09:27 AM
The guy could have been so hungry, and tired, and thirsty, and numbed by the cold and pain, he may not have enough senses left to feel the knife cutting thru the joint...

But still... ouch!!!! :what:

May 2, 2003, 11:46 AM
200 lb boulder??

I think I would simply move the rock off my arm. 200 pounds isn't that much weight for a rock.

May 2, 2003, 12:08 PM
It sounds like he couldn't get any leverage. I can max out the squat machine (410lbs) at the gym, and my max bench is somewhere around 260lbs, but what good is it going to do me if I can't get any leverage on the boulder?

May 2, 2003, 12:12 PM
At five days the body has probably expended his fat stores and the adrenaline in his body was probably running full bore. Kudos to this guy he did what he had to do to stay alive. :what:

Jesse H
May 2, 2003, 12:22 PM
I'm sitting here looking at my Kershaw. Then I look at my arm. Back at the Kershaw. Arm. Kershaw. Arm.


May 2, 2003, 12:24 PM
Yeah ... and I figure the arm was probably pretty well damaged from the rock smashing it and being trapped under it (probably without much circulation) for 5 days ... but to cut it off with a pocket knife takes some, well, you know!

Lesson learned: Pack flare gun ... cell phone ... hand gun ... signal mirror ... move to New Orleans, where there are no mountains!


Felonious Monk
May 2, 2003, 12:46 PM
Did a search, and the Denver Post did an interview with one of the guys who went back to look for the arm, and he said it was more like 800-1000lb. boulder. They couldn't retrieve it with a group of healthy guys!

It was also his right arm; not sure, but it's pretty likely that he had to use his WEAK left hand to cut it off.
Hellatious tough cat.

May 2, 2003, 12:48 PM
Rusty: Dont forget a satelite phone with voice recognition. You never know, you might get both hands trapped and have to use your big toe to dial otherwise.


Double Maduro
May 2, 2003, 12:53 PM
I used to climb rocks. One of the first things you learn is DON'T CLIMB ALONE.

If he had a friend with him he would have been home that night.

If he had a reliable contact person at home it wouldn't have been 5 days till he was reported overdue. This is probably his fault for being late in the past, just a guess.

Another good idea is to take a cell phone or an emergency beacon to summon help.

An arm is a terrible price to pay for being unprepared, but not as terrible as it could have been.

May 2, 2003, 08:27 PM
There's no way I could have done that. They would have found my skeleton and my Beretta. :)

May 2, 2003, 10:14 PM
Help! My arm is caught under a rock! :D

I would have sent my dog for help. Run Lassie run!

Admiral Thrawn
May 2, 2003, 10:16 PM



May 2, 2003, 10:32 PM
I'm in agreement with TonyB and Cool9mm. I'd start making as much of a racket as I possibly could, with as many rounds as I'd have on me, save one. That one comes last, and suffice it to say, that'd be the last thing to go through my mind... I wouldn't have the guts to hack through my arm.
Congrats to Aron for having cajones made of pure steel and doing what he had to do.

May 2, 2003, 10:43 PM
Well, if you'd had a gun you could have shot through the forearm. With a knife alone he probably had to cut through the elbow joint and so the prosthesis fitting will be harder than if he'd had more arm to save.

May 3, 2003, 01:50 AM
I agree.

That was just what I thought the first time I read about this...

Without a stub forearm left to attach a prosthetic, which could have been useful for simple 'push-pull' tasks, I guess he'd be fitted with a less utile "cosmetic" forearm instead. Shooting thru the bones (i believe there are two), and finally cutting away flesh could have been a less 'traumatic' loss...

Now there's one excellent advantage in having a gun in such dire situation. :D

May 3, 2003, 01:55 AM
Folks when you go out to the boonies always go with some others. If you must go alone then let people know where and when and return time(estimate). Proper planning precludes stuff like having to saw off your arm most times. Tough hombre though!

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