climb

1.34 hours

clearly the challenge was to not look away while aron ralston tore through his own skin, muscles and ligaments to wrangle himself free from the boulder that pinned his right arm against the wall of an isolated canyon. i covered my ears, pulled the hood of my jacket over my head, and winced with as much imagined pain as i could, but with my eyes wide open, sat through the wrenching scenes where accepting his predicament, aron realizes that his only hope of survival was to amputate his own arm. "everything moves", he says in an earlier scene, and finding himself trapped, he wondered whether it was his arm that was supporting the rock: each time he had chipped away a piece of the rock, it settled.

this is one of those movies my mother should not ever see, for it will only serve to fuel her fears about my trips outdoors. although my excursions are safer: i let people know where i'm going and wear a helmet when i bike, the reality is that accidents can happen in the wild. i am all too familiar with it.

i have known about aron's story since 2007. i read about it in a back issue of either "outside" or "backpacker", which i fished out of a pile from booksale. i didn't manage to get a copy of his autobiography, "between a rock and a hard place", but i knew about his ordeal: having to extricate himself using a dull multi-tool, and surviving until he was finally rescued. i was amazed he didn't faint from lack of food and all that blood loss, or get impossibly sick from imbibing his own urine and very dirty water. faced with the same predicament, what would you have done? i told my companion earlier that i would have just left myself to die.

and here lies aron's heroism. i do not salute him for his mistakes, his arrogance, his carelessness, but for his courage. his will to survive. 5 days in a canyon with just a liter of water and some morsels to eat could have turned me completely wacko, i would have just talked myself to death with my paranoia. you'd imagine it might be difficult to sit through a movie where about an hour is devoted to a man stuck in a canyon, his arm pinned against a wall. but danny boyle is a genius of a filmmaker, and his treatment of this movie is deserving of the oscar nomination.

but the more important lesson for me here is not to leave behind a note about where you're going, but this: never buy the cheap multi-tool made in china. i get ratted often about my apparent brand-consciousness, but that scene where he tries to cut his flesh but does not succeed makes for a good case why a victorinox -- or even a gerber -- is necessary. i made due note of the brands that were subtly advertised in the movie. james franco wore a cap by arteryx, used a petzl headlamp, drank from a nalgene bottle, and dreamt about gatorade. i wasn't sure if his shoes were montrail, and his pack didn't seem to have a brand.

"127 hours" should be required viewing for all mountaineers. i nearly cried in the ending. i felt the movie spoke to me intimately.
(Anonymous)
in one article, aron is grateful for having picked up the china-made multitool instead of something sharper. the latter would have cut too fast and too cleanly, not allowing enough opportunity for blood clots to form, and would have resulted in death by blood loss.
I'm not sure if there is any scientific basis for that. A wound is a wound, regardless of the dullness of the instrument inflicting it. It'll bleed. Aron is an engineer, not a surgeon. Victorinox pa rin!