Hiker's Survival Story Creating a Buzz

Hiker's Survival Story Creating a Buzz


Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Jed Boal Reporting...The Aron Ralston story is still generating a lot of talk across the nation today. From climbing shops to hospitals and, just about everywhere in between, few can comprehend how the climber was able to cut off a part of his arm and hand and escape a canyon.

Ralston's story has people talking about the will to survive, thresholds of pain, and proper planning for wilderness trips. We know what he did but no one can truly explain how he did it.

Aron Ralston's tale of escape from Bluejohn Canyon has stirred a surge of new interest in Canyon Country.

No one can grasp how a man could cut off his hand, after being trapped five days, then rappel and hike to safety.

Aron Ralston/Mountain Climber: “I'M NOT SURE HOW I HANDLED IT, I FELT PAIN, I COPED WITH IT AND MOVED ON."

Jeff Maudlin has been climbing more than 20 years. He says there are many amazing stories about self-rescue among climbers, ...but...

Jeff Maudlin/Mountain Climber: “THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST. I MEAN I'VE HEARD SOME PRETTY GOOD STORIES...BUT THIS IS A GOOD ONE."

Maudlin works at a local climbing gear manufacturer and says climbers have talked about it all week. He says climbers are problem-solvers -- always surveying their options. Ralston says he knew his last option.

"Jeff Maudlin/Mountain Climber: I THINK HE WAS STEELING HIMSELF FOR THAT, THINKING IF NOBODY COMES BY IN THREE OR FOUR DAYS, THIS IS WHAT IT'S GOING TO COME DOWN TO."

Emergency Room Doctor Philip Bossart says doctors are amazed and baffled.

"Dr. Philip Bossart/University of Utah Medical Center: “TWENTY YEARS OF SEEING A LOT OF ACCIDENTS, A LOT OF INJURIES...AMAZING STORIES...BUT, THIS ONE CAUGHT MY ATTENTION."

Bossart says Ralston's athleticism certainly gave him an edge on survival. He says Ralston was lucky he didn't bleed to death or pass out from the pain.

Dr. Philip Bossart/University of Utah Medical Center Emergency Room Doctor: “NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, IF YOU LOSE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF BLOOD, OR YOU GET TOO DEHYDRATED...YOUR BODY WILL GO INTO SHOCK...NO MATTER HOW STRONG WILLED YOU ARE."

Ralston offers little scientific explanation.

Aron Ralston/Mountain Climber: “THE REVELATION THAT CAME WAS MORE OF AN INSPIRATION. ONCE THIS HAPPENED, ALL THE DESIRES AND JOYS OF FUTURE LIFE CAME RUSHING INTO ME AND MAYBE THIS IS HOW I HANDLED THE PAIN."

But, there's also an important lesson from all of this. Ralston never should have gone where he went without leaving detailed information on where he was going and when he would return.

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

Utah

STAY IN THE KNOW

Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast