127 Hours - A climbers' must see..

127 hours is the screen adaptation of the life of canyoneer/climber Aron Ralston and his five-day dilemma in Blue John Canyons in Utah. James Franco (son of Green Goblin in Spiderman) plays Aron Ralston in this disturbing but triumphant story of survival based on Ralston's authored book - Between a Rock and a Hard Place.  

Chilling and downright shocking.

Self-assured and loner (and proud of it) Aron heads to the Blue John Canyons for a high dose of adventure solo climb. All is well on his first day out, he met two lovely girls lost in the canyon and showed them the way and into some secret places. He bids them farewell and went on his way. At the trail he was descending, he loses his balance and dislodged a big boulder which lands on his right arm pinning him to the narrow canyon gully. Thus began his 127 hours ordeal trapped in isolation. 

Hands stuck but with a great deal of determination. 

He scours through his stuff to see what he brought useful. A camcorder, a camera, a dynamic rope, slings, carabiners, pulley, water bladder, some food, some water, a headlamp and a (cheap) multitool. The movie revolved around his realization of his life choices, sort of a flashback of his life which people usually experience when face to face with death. In his isolation, he recalls the events leading to his predicament - how he left behind his swiss knife back home, his gatorade on the truck, and how he didn't bother telling "anyone" where he's going. Aron reaches a point where he has to make a decision once and for all to get out of his situation creatively portrayed in the movie as a premonition of a child and Aron's mental and emotional strength to survive. He frees himself from the boulder by improvising a tourniquet using a bladder's hose cover and a carabiner, and cuts his right arm off using a dull multitool.

There are several points to learn in the movie if you are a climber or aspires to be:

Lesson No. 1: Tell someone where you are going. 

I am guilty of this crime as well. I often go to trips without informing loved ones where I will be going. Leave a note on the fridge or even a text message to say where you're going and when you will be back. Whenever available and possible, communicate.

Lesson No. 2: Avoid climbing solo

Climbing is supposed to be fun, why climb alone? For others its a challenge, for most its prestige and pride. Whatever the reason, I will never understand. I haven't done solo climb ever. Again if you will be climbing solo, make sure you got item no.1 covered.

Lesson No. 3: Never underestimate a mountain (or a canyon).

Preparation is key, bring what you need and plan ahead. Aron sets off for the canyon in a hurry, and leaves a tool that could have made it a little easier for him, his swiss knife. Though it will not change the fact that he still has to cut his hand off, the availability of a swiss knife could have made his self amputation, well a little classier and less painful. He is too conceited having been in the canyon many times before, but every climb is in fact a unique experience everytime. 

Lesson No. 4: Climb tools and equipment are your only resources in the wild, invest in them.

As said in the movie - "Don't buy those cheap, made in china multitool." That tool could make the difference between life and death. Leave your sleeping bag to save on your carrying load and space, sacrifice a good night's sleep. It's a choice everytime.

As for Aron Ralston, he lives to tell the tale. In the end it is still Aron's experience and presence of mind that saved him. He learned from his mistake, and we could all learn from it too.

Aron Ralston - Simply born to climb.

You gotta see the movie to feel that stomach crunching experience. If you are a climber, you just might be a little more careful on your future climbs. I know I will be...

1 comment:

  1. saw the movie about 2 weeks ago. nice and lots of lessons to be learned. keep safe always
    - durianburg -


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