Aron Ralston did. The 27 year-old mountain climber spends his holidays climbing the Rocky Mountains. He’s done it over 45 times, alone, and always in the winter – most of the time after midnight. Life on the edge is nothing new for him. But life under an 800 pound boulder? He was climbing off one when it shifted and trapped his right hand against the wall of a narrow crevice.
He shoved the rock with his shoulder, and tried to chisel it with his knife. He even attempted to hoist the boulder with his climbing rope and pulley. The boulder would not budge. After five days, with food and water gone and having drifted back and forth between depression and visions of friends and water, he made a decision, the thought of which makes mere mortals gulp. He decided to cut off his own hand.
He had to break his own wrist first, and then with a cheap multiuse tool, be began cutting into his own arm. The blade was dull, and he said that it took over an hour to finish his own amputation.
He finally broke free from the boulder and then faced the challenge of finding help. He crawled through a 150-foot ravine, rappelled (one handed) down a 60-foot wall, and then hiked six miles. Only then did he run into some Dutch tourists, who no doubt, got more for their money than what their travel agent promised.
Aron downplayed his own courage and explains his escape as a “matter of pragmatics.”
Pragmatic indeed. On one hand, death. Without the other hand, life. When faced with the choice, he chose life. Hey, when you’re thirsty, you’ll do about anything… (2) 2. Adapted from: “Come Thirsty” by Max Lucado. Pp. 39-40
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