Winter Survival In The Bush

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

This guy almost didn’t make it.  It’s useful he had the presence of mind to grab a few minutes of film to catalog his misery.  Here is a more detailed account of his experience.

So I have to say that I’m no expert, but neither is Bear Grylls.  Bear Grylls is a fake.  Following his advice nearly got this guy killed.

If I would have been in that predicament it’s obvious I wouldn’t have had fire starter, bedding, or shelter for the night any more than he had.  But I would have been smart enough to stop way before he did.

He was still moving on the first day at 4:45 pm.  Anyone with experience in the bush knows, in the winter it gets dark early.  In the mountains in the winter it gets dark even earlier, and in the mountains in the winter among the trees it gets dark even earlier.  If he had stopped at 3:00 pm to make a good shelter for the night, he might not have gotten his feet wet and might still have the leg that was amputated.

He needed a shelter of evergreen bows, leafs, pine needles and whatever else he could find, or in other words, a debris hut, with separation between him and the ground, as small as he could make it and still have room for himself.  Heating it would have been easier with his body heat than a large shelter, or one made of ice which would remove body heat by radiation.  He needed to go to bed earlier, and he needed to be dry.

He needed to get up the next morning and backtrack his exact footsteps to the place he began this misadventure.  Instead, he lost energy, slept with ice for insulation, and continued to go the wrong way.  He lost his leg for it, and could have died.


Comments

  1. On December 16, 2019 at 9:17 am, ragman said:

    I will never understand why “adventurers” don’t invest in an emergency locator. They are a bit expensive to buy(hint: Christmas gift) and there is a monthly fee of about $30 for the monitoring service. That being said, the small transmitter uses the Motorola Iridium Sat array and if you select emergency, rescue will come for you. No need to lose a leg, or be adrift at sea for weeks or months. People will spend a few hundred dollars for a nice dinner but will not take responsibility for their own safety? Seriously misplaced priorities!

  2. On December 16, 2019 at 11:30 am, Pat Hines said:

    Some time ago, when I lived in Montana, I spent a rather cold night while out elk hunting. Blizzard conditions, heavy snow, and about -10º F. My hunting partner and I had adequate sleeping bags, insulating mattresses, and in a good tent. In addition, we both had heavy long underwear, socks, and good boots. Nevertheless, we were still uncomfortably cold.

    But not crippling cold at all.

  3. On December 16, 2019 at 11:37 am, Herschel Smith said:

    @Pat,

    Here’s a tip for you. When the manufacturers spec sleeping bags, they do so differently for men and women. A female sales rep at REI explained this to me.

    If a man’s sleeping bag has a spec down to 20 degrees F, it means that he can survive in that bag to 20, but not be comfortable.

    If a woman’s sleeping bag has a spec down to 20 degrees F, it means that she will be comfortable, not just survive.

  4. On December 16, 2019 at 2:27 pm, elysianfield said:

    Too bad he lost a limb…but on the PLUS side, he’ll qualify for one of those cool parking permits….

  5. On December 16, 2019 at 3:34 pm, Sanders said:

    I’m planning a solo winter camping trip. But I’ll be in my roof top tent with a propane Heater Buddy going in the add-on lower vestibule. I’ll probably be sleeping on top of my 0 degree sleeping bag. The only time I’ll let myself feel the cold is when I step outside to take leak.

    I did all that hardcore gung-ho stuff when I was younger, like sleeping out on the ground on a USGI sleeping pad, extreme cold weather bag, with a poncho over the top of me. Now, I like a little luxury. I don’t even have to go North into the mountains and the snow. I can go South into the desert…

    Ragman is right about the personal locator beacon. But I also know of some canyons I’ve gotten off into where the GPS signal wouldn’t reach my Garmin receiver. I believe the beacons work off weather satellites.

  6. On December 16, 2019 at 3:41 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Be warned about those sat-phone plans. I’ve used them to send text messages before to check in. Those satellites take a while to send messages. They aren’t timely, so if you’re in time-trouble, you’re in trouble.

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You are currently reading "Winter Survival In The Bush", entry #22660 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Survival and was published December 15th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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