Danny Boyle’s latest film 127 hours will have particular resonance with outdoor lovers. in the film an outdoor lover, Aron Ralston, is left no option but to hack off his own arm when it becomes trapped after he falls down a crack in some rocks. The film is a journey into the outer reaches of human experience that will agog and inspire audiences with its tale of unfathomable willpower…but, as Ralston himself admits, it’s an episode that could so easily have been avoided had adequate preparations been made.
Many have been quick to criticise his failure to tell anyone where he was going. Irresponsible though it might be, I can empathise with Ralston on this. when I want to cut loose I don’t tell mummy and daddy, I just do it; for me that’s what cutting loose is. unfortunately for Ralston it was this kind of cavalier attitude that landed him in hot water and made the business of cutting loose all too literal… but it could all have been avoided if only he’d been equipped with a SPOT 2 satellite messenger. Using his good arm to press one of the buttons on the front of the compactly designed SPOT 2 satellite messenger would have alerted rescue services to his exact location and he would’ve been out in no time. Granted, the film would have been ruined but it would have saved Ralston whole lot of heart ache- not to mention arm ache.
Ralston made another slip up by not taking enough water. Even if he hadn’t become trapped, with just ONE LITRE of water in desert conditions, he was playing a dangerous game, gambling dehydration with his own life as the stake. It may even have been an unconscious desire to remedy his grave water situation that drove Ralston to take the risks that landed him in trouble. had he been properly equipped (with Golite’s H2G0 Slipstream backpack, for example) the whole thing might have been avoided. Specially designed to accommodate two 21oz (621ml) water bottles, the Slipstream backpack would have given Ralston more than 200ml extra water, putting to bed his water anxiety and keeping him out of harm’s way. To further allay any hydration fears, Ralston could have invested in Nuun supplements, which, rich in electrolytes and essential body salts would have increased the hydrating potential of his water supply.
Arguably Ralston’s worst mistake was his failure to take things further with either of the attractive hiker girls he meets on the trail. although initially apprehensive they eventually warm to his off-beat charm and when the time comes for them to part ways, they’re both way into him. It was plain to see that the one in the blue top would have gone for it if Ralston had made any kind of advance. She’s pretty, smart, funny, shares similar interests and clearly into him- she even invites him to a party for crying out loud- and still Ralston opts to go rock-hopping on his own. It was totally on a plate and he blew it. Next thing you know he’s hacking his arm off with a rusty spoon. It was a costly mistake we can all learn from.
It’s fun to laugh at films but the truth is, any one of us could have suffered Ralston’s fate. We can snipe at his cavalier attitude and lack of preparation but, how many of us can honestly say we’ve never taken our own safety for granted when enjoying the great outsoors? in truth, outdoor going folk like you and I are perhaps the worst for it. For us, nature exists as a sanctuary away from the bluster of the modern world; a place where one can pause, reflect and recollect in tranquility. It’s easy to forget that the same power that invogorates and beguilles us as nature lovers can also tear us limb from limb. In an age of human self-congratulation and ecological irresponsibility 127 Hours’ depiction of an a vindictive nature comes as a welcome reminder that, no matter how invincible we might consider ourselves, nature is ultimately top dog.
But it really was on plate…I’ll never understand men.
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