Climber Amputee Recorded Last Message to Family

Climber Amputee Recorded Last Message to Family

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DENVER (AP) -- The climber who amputated his arm after being pinned by a boulder had videotaped a final message for his family in case he didn't get out alive.

"I spoke to my parents to tell them how much I loved them and I spoke to my sister and told her how proud I was of what she's doing in her life," Aron Ralston said Monday on CBS's "The Late Show with David Letterman."

Ralston, 27, of Aspen, was hiking alone, negotiating a canyon in southeastern Utah on April 26, when his right arm became pinned beneath an 800-pound boulder. He freed himself on the fifth day by snapping his bones and using a knife to cut through his arm.

Ralston was by turns joking and serious as he recounted the ordeal.

"Can I show you my trick?" he asked, then held a coffee cup in his prosthetic arm and rotated his wrist 360 degrees.

He also mimicked his thought process when he realized he might have to amputate his arm: "I said to myself, 'I don't want to have to cut my arm off.' 'You're gonna have to cut your arm off, dude!' 'I don't want to have to cut my arm off."'

"And then I laughed out loud because I was yelling at myself," he said.

Recounting his worst moments, Ralston said, "I went through times when it was really dark for me emotionally, that I feared that I might not make it out."

He said that's when he propped his video camera on the boulder that was pinning his arm and recorded his message.

"My mom won't watch it, but my dad has seen it," he said. Ralston said he'll never make the tape public, "but it's me there, at that moment."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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