Here’s a story you might be familiar with, but it still bears repeating. This is the story of Aron Ralston, a man who after being trapped by an 800 lb boulder while hiking, amputated his own arm, rappelled down a 65 foot cliff with just one arm, and hiked his way out of the wilderness.
It was 2003, and Ralston was hiking in Blue John Canyon in Utah. As he was going down a slot canyon, a loose 800lb boulder fell and landed on his right arm, crushing it and trapping him in place.
At this point, Ralston thought he was going to die. He hadn’t told anyone about his plans to go hiking in the canyons, and he was in the middle of virtually nowhere, with no way to communicate with the outside world. He paced himself on his small bottle of water and the 2 burritos he had packed for lunch. By the 3rd day trapped in the wilderness with a mangled arm, he was both dehydrated and delirious. As much as he tried to free himself, his efforts were in vain. Ralston eventually realized that his only chance at survival would be to amputate his own arm.
Ralston tried making tourniquets with his clothes, and started cutting his own arm with his cheap multitool, which happened to include a dull, 2″ blade. It took him 2 days to complete the amputation – he finally succeeded when he realized that he could use the torque of the trapped portion of his arm to break the bones in his arm, letting him saw off the remaining flesh with his dull knife.
Once he was free, he still had to rappell down a 65 feet high cliff with just the one arm, and hike his way back to his car in the beating Utah sun. By the time he came across a family hiking in the canyon, he had lost 40 lbs, mostly from his own blood.
Ralston’s story is truly a story of survival. It’s a story of never giving up and incredible strength. The next time you encounter adversity and aren’t sure whether you can muster up the inner strength, remember the story of Aron Ralston, and realize whatever you’re facing can be overcome.