Tag Archives: hypothermia

Class 28/44 – The double birdie pyros…


What does an double bird shooting accountant that was dragged to Survival 101 class know?

That she can overcome pain, adversity, push through physical and emotional barriers, find support in her loved ones, and accomplish something she didn’t think she could do.

Kerrie : “I can’t believe I did that”

Me: “I knew you could”

Sitting in 44 degree water after a 28 degree night in a survival shelter borders on crazy. Every fiber in your body screams, you start gasping as the cold water steals your breath, your mind seeks excuses to get out, your thinking becomes cloudy, and you question why you are sitting in a cold creek in the mid of winter shivering with your classmates.

And then it happens. You dig deep. You tame your breath. You find your reason for living. You focus your mind. And then you shoot your instructor the double bird.

And while the double bird was directed at me, it was really aimed at fear… pain.. self-doubt… social stigmas… and death itself.

Not everyone’s experience in the Creek drill is the same, but I highlight Kerrie’s because I watched her crush all those demons that day. I watched her go from inexperienced to being able to save her life and others under physical, mental, and emotional stress. Cold, wet, shivering, and confused, she was able to gather material to build a life-saving fire, a skill that very few possess nowadays.

This weekend I will be training another cast member for Naked & Afraid.

It, like all the other shows, are an illusion of reality. Reality doesn’t play fair, impose rules, or have an emergency crew on standby.

Reality knocks you out of your boat into icy cold water, like Craig Strickland and Chase Morland   stealing you from your beautiful wife and family.

Reality soaks you and your children on a cold, dark night like David Decareaux and his two boys  ripping you from the lives of your other children and loving wife.

Reality is the nighttime callout my SAR team got for a busted leg on an icy trail New Years day.

Reality will crash your car, dehydrate you, make your throat swell shut from a bee sting, and a whole load of other nasties.


Reality, inspired by these heart-breaking stories, also allows us to accept the ultimate responsibility for ourselves and family and do something about it.  It allows us to prepare our bodies and minds in the safety of a training environment or at home.

It allows us to train our mindset, like Kerrie..

It allows us to train our skills like Team Dirty Water..


And it allows us to choose the right gear, like Josh..


In our comfortable world it is easy to forget that the forces of calamity lurk in the shadows. It is also easy to forget that we alone have the responsibility and power to to fight them, alone if necessary.

As I type this, I look out the window at the snow falling. It is 18 degrees and I am about to head out the door to work outside.

Natural law is hard at work. The icy cold, the bone chilling wind, the never ending assaults on my body’s warmth.

I imagine in Kerrie’s office however, it is warm and cozy. Her co-workers chat about the latest news while sipping mugs of coffee. Removed and oblivious to the dangers outside, the keyboards click away and the phones ring. At the end of the day  when they emerge from their office it will be a hasty walk to the car. As the bitter cold attacks them, there will be a deep, primal reminder of their vulnerability.

There is however, one amongst them that needs no reminder.

Maybe she walks a little slower, soaking in the elements as they launch their onslaught to her comfort.

Maybe she smiles confidently knowing she has endured much worse and found untapped sources of strength.

Maybe she cranks out the defiant, double bird in the face of anything, and everything, that would try to take her life… 

Upcoming Survival 101 courses



P.S. – Moms that get survival books from their boy and read it in cold water rock!!


BUSAR Update – December & January..


Training – We trained at Lookrock in both December and January. December focused on hypothermia treatment, SKED packaging, and high angle recovery.

January focused on multiple reps of steep angle, with sessions after dark as well.

Morgan and Sharbel also completed BigPig Outdoor’s Survival 101 course in January.

And the Jernigator did a little run up Groundhog Ridge manway..

Responses – 

  • Grieco, Ransom, Sharbel, Campbell, Sledge, Jernigan, Geist, Wadley, and Lewis responded to the crash of N1839X. Plane crash in the Smokies
  • Grieco responded to missing AT hiker at Peck’s Corner

Team Workouts – 2017 marks the end of 35 pound kettlebells as we up it to 45 pounders. Thank you for the loyal service and punishment you have brought to the team…



Recruitment – 

  • Jeff Wadley – Former Lt Colonel in Civil Air Patrol and SAR theory junkie. Literally wrote the book on plane crashes in the Smokies – Mayday, Mayday
  • Ben Harrell – Former Civil Air Patrol ground team leader and computer wizard


Survival Tri-weekly -1/5/16


image: https://www.kelownanow.com/watercooler/news/news/Provincial/16/01/04/Injured_Skier_Airlifted_in_Nelson_by_Search_and_Rescue/

Welcome to another edition of Survival Weekly, where the real wilderness survival “reality show” plays out everyday, in the wild places around our world. These unscripted stories will give you insight to the true threats and challenges you may face in your outdoor pursuits. So sit back, relax, and read on to get a dose of reality to sharpen your most valuable survival tool. – BPO

Featured – 

911 call from rescued hunter – http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/donald-trump-heat-bill-clinton-36094578

Duck hunter fatalities – http://www.wfaa.com/story/life/people/2016/01/04/backroad-anthem-posts-tribute-to-craig-strickland/78280704/


News – 

New technology ill aid searchers – http://www.outsideonline.com/2043076/recco-rolling-out-year-round-rescue-system

Robot locusts for SAR – http://www.ecnmag.com/news/2015/12/robot-locust-can-traverse-rocky-terrain-and-assist-search-and-rescue

Sonar gloves – http://www.bidnessetc.com/60286-sonar-gloves-developed-in-japan-to-aid-underwater-search-and-rescue/

Cell phones and rescues – http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/30816288/cell-phones-are-improving-search-and-rescue-responses

Winter Sports – 


image: Image: http://www.theprovince.com/sports/really+nasty+area+north+shore+search+rescue+find+lost+backcoutnry+skier+remind+alone/11605562/story.html

Water Safety –

Hiking – 

National Park Rangers at Point Reyes National Seashore initiated a missing person search when they noticed a vehicle parked south of Pierce Point Ranch parking lot over two days beginning on January 1, 2016. After contacting family of the registered owner of the vehicle, a search was initiated on January 2 in the afternoon. By the next day, the search swelled to nearly 100 individuals from Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Marin County Fire, California Highway Patrolhelicopter, US Coast Guard helicopter, Sonoma County Sheriff Search and Rescue, Contra Costa County Sheriff Search and Rescue, San Mateo Sheriff Search and Rescue and California Rescue Dog Association.

After searching most of the morning on January 3, a body was discovered around 11 am north of Kehoe Beach. The Marin County Coroner’s Office has identified the body as 62 year-old John Son of San Jose, CA. Cause and manner of death are pending autopsy and toxicology results.

Lost & Injured hikers rescued –

Hunter-gatherer – 


Image: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sumas-mountain-rescue-1.3383744

Climbing – 

Vehicles – 

 Air ambulance crash – http://abcnews.go.com/US/dead-survivor-medical-helicopter-crashes-arizona/story?id=35791487

SUV occupants rescued –  http://www.theprovince.com/technology/rescued+from+stranded+suvs+snowy+sumas+mountain+abbotsford/11619778/story.html

Interested in learning skills to handle emergencies like the ones you read in Survival Weekly?  Check out BigPig Outdoors Survival  classes  – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.htm


Image: http://www.kcsg.com/view/full_story/27007543/article-Search—Rescue-dispatched-to-fatal-fall-at-Yankee-Doodle-Canyon-area–UPDATE-?instance=more_local_news1

Class 5/34/15 – Practice what you preach…


After almost 3 weeks in sunny 70 degree Florida, we rolled back just in time for the arctic blast that is gripping the country with forecasts of single digits in our area. I figured it would be a great time for me to hit the woods with an ultralight shelter version and run the Survival 101 drills.

Last night I headed out with my hunting pack to simulate the overnight bivouac without a sleeping bag and jump in the creek in the morning. While I sleep out with every class, I don’t wallow in the creek with them as one of our safety protocols.

On the way  to the camp when I got a call from a buddy asking if I wanted a hog he just shot. Fate would have it, that I was visiting with a friend that was down from New York and wanted to bag a hog. So my buddy dropped this beauty off, and 6 1/2 minutes later it was poacher cut up and I was back on my way. Click here to see that technique. I have since modified it to start with one side’s legs first then the backstrap, flip over and repeat. https://bigpigblog.com/2013/12/23/poachers-cut-1-0/


Back on my way, I set up a “String only” super shelter with a 1 mil 9 x 12 drop cloth. At some point, I plan on doing a blog series about what I have learned since Mors first taught me that technique 15 years ago, but for now, the 1 mil version only weighs 9 ounces compared to 18 ounces for the 2 mil. Durability is the big question as 1 mil is pretty thin.



I bedded down around 11pm after building up my fire, brewing some pine needle tea, and making a hot water bottle.



I woke up at 1:30 am when the fire died down and loaded it a little too hot on next run.


So instead of shuffling layers, I opened the front to vent. Lulled by the primitive television, I drifted off to sleep again.


I woke at 3 am this time, loaded it up, closed the front up and bedded down. I couldn’t sleep until somewhere around 5 am, not because I was cold, but because my brain booted up and I started my usual lay in bed and think about all types of things, some practical and some nonsensical.

I woke up for the last time at 7:30 am and checked the low on the thermometer. It read 5 degrees. The indoor low actually occurred during the the open front stage.


Even though I had 1000+ calories in my pack in the form of almond butter packs and coconut oil, I wanted to simulate a hiker whose last meal was lunch. I did a 24 hour fast, drinking pine needle tea that night, and thawing out the leftovers for a morning brew. Staying hydrated during any fast is top priority and the tea gives you some vitamins.


My “rescuers” showed up at 9 am to be my safety team for the “Man in the Creek” drill.  Anytime you are survival training, always have a safety net and plan in place if things take a turn. Rick and Mike were there to monitor for hypothermia and I had a sleeping bag a short hike from my camp for my solo overnight. I had multiple contacts that were aware of my plans and a charged cellphone. Redundant, multiple safety nets mean you can push hard and train safe.

It was 15 degrees and time to take a morning dip in the 34 degree water.


IMG_0287 (2)

I ran through the same mental exercises as my students while I waited for the shivering to set in and then got to work.

IMG_0297 (2)


Usually we do this drill with natural tinders, so everyone always packs man made after that point, but having done that multiple times, I wanted to time the drill with my personal survival kit (PSK) contents.

My safety crew forgot to start the timer, but using PJ balls and fatwood made lighting the fire a breeze and took only a couple minutes.

Numb hands made the Strikeforce my choice of ignition as it fills the hands better when your dexterity sucks.


As my buddy Roberto likes to say.. “Fatwood. Don’t leave home without it!!”


Icy pants…


This post isn’t about bragging. Hell, 5 degrees is shorts weather in Alaska…

It is about “walking the walk”, something I value and appreciate in instructors. When I was LE, I took my job seriously. Bad guys were my main threat, so I trained, worked out, shot 3gun matches, and joined a MMA team. I chose those endeavors because they were realistic training modules for serious threats. Serious threats require serious training, and wilderness survival is no different.

Jobs change and new threats rise to the top. Getting caught out in crap weather overnight or falling in the lake are possible scenarios in my winter time work. While the threats may change, the reason to make yourself uncomfortable, experience numbing pain, and train hard don’t.


If your work or play takes place in the wils or you are looking for a challenge, there a two more spots open in this weekend’s class – http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

2014 Alaska Cold Injuries Guidelines…


You don’t have to live in Alaska to benefit from the wisdom in this manual.  A tip of the hat to Mike for sending me the link..



Interested in learning the skills to not become a cold injury victim? Sign up for your survival experience here: http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/survival-101-1.html

Survival Weekly…


Injured hiker rescued –  http://www.castanet.net/edition/news-story-114413-48-.htm

Injured hiker and fisherman rescued – http://www.bluemountaineagle.com/long-busy-night-for-search-rescue-teams-ends-well-publish2_ap_d29e489a33f3bd260a9e1be93d5253a5

Survival gear lowered to stranded hunter – http://www.odt.co.nz/news/queenstown-lakes/300804/survival-gear-lowered-teen-stuck-bush

SAR initiated from a satellite messenger – http://www.cftktv.com/News/Story.aspx?ID=2155961

Father and 2 kids lost in swamp for 2 days – http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/29/search-crews-rescue-father-2-kids-in-sc-national-park/

Missing turkey hunters found – http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/06d6acd66a294ad9af8ab4d3f1cf0d38/SD–Missing-Hunters/#.U2bZ-fldX58

SAR underway for missing forager – http://q13fox.com/2014/04/27/search-underway-for-missing-93-year-old-federal-way-man/#axzz30nKkqK2P

Cold, wet, and rescued – http://infotel.ca/newsitem/cold-wet-and-rescued/it9630

Injured skier rescued – http://www.telluridenews.com/articles/2014/04/27/news/doc535ad75b6398d050261429.txt

Search and Rescue Weekly..

Injured Climber Rescued During Spring Storm – 

The combined efforts of search and rescue teams from Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Ouray Mountain Rescue, West Elk Mountain Rescue and Western State Mountain Rescue resulted in the successful evacuation of an injured climber from the Atlantis buttress during a spring storm on Sunday, April 13th.

The park received a report of an injured climber on Saturday evening.  Climbing rangers, including a park paramedic, located the climber late that evening and bivouacked overnight with him, treating his several injuries.  He was injured when he pulled a large boulder off the wall while leading a pitch on a route called “Hotlanta” on the Atlantis buttress.

Additional technical rescue teams arrived on Sunday to help raise the climber 1,800 feet to the canyon’s North Rim. Intermittent whiteout conditions with heavy, wet snow and gusty winds challenged the rescuers during this high angle rescue.

The climber, who is from Durango, Colorado, was taken to a medical facility with ankle, chest, and facial injuries. He is in stable condition.

Lost in the desert and forced to spend the night out – http://www.scsun-news.com/silver_city-news/ci_25565756

Stuck on a ledge after taking a short cut – http://www.standard.net.au/story/2229934/grampians-rescue-after-hikers-short-cut-leads-to-a-long-wait-for-help/?cs=72

Injured in a canyon – http://azdailysun.com/news/local/coconino-county-search-and-rescue-extracts-canyoneer-near-west-clear/article_ab5358b0-c45d-11e3-a493-0019bb2963f4.html

Father and son go hunting, end up with broken leg and hypothermia – http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/9938734/Father-and-son-hunters-rescued

Body of missing hiker found – http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_25554480/body-found-mount-tamalpais-near-where-missing-woman

Three days in stuck in canyon country – http://www.kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_10608.shtml

SAR for missing hiker continues, but volunteer efforts scaled back due to subject drug abuse and violent behavior history – http://www.osidenews.com/2014/04/12/missing-person/

Injured hunter rescued – http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbnat/953322285-family-agrees-to-name-missing-hunter



News from the survival world…

As the countdown to the birth of my son marches on, the tragedy of this story hits a little closer to home tonight. Like the father in the picture, I know that I will deeply love my son and I am already planning great wilderness adventures. I cannot imagine the grief and sorrow felt by this family and my heart goes out to them.

You and I have something that they do not have though… another opportunity. An opportunity to spend some quality time outdoors with someone we love and an opportunity to leave a trip plan that can save our lives.

When you are cold, wet, and have no cell service, it is too late. Take the time before your trip and leave a trip plan with someone that cares about you. A trip plan is free, easy, and saves lives. If you have a family member that ventures of into the wilds and does not leave a plan, steal their keys until they fill one out. I leave a modified version with my crew everyday.

Click here to print some off: http://www.bigpigoutdoors.net/bpo-trip-plan.html

Father and son missing on spring break hike. Note that the SAR personnel did not know where to start looking –  http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/father-and-son-missing-in-echo-lake-area-clear-creek-deputies-searching-for-them

Search for father and son suspended. I can only hope that maybe they are still hanging in there  –  http://kdvr.com/2014/04/10/search-for-missing-father-and-son-in-echo-lake-area-called-off/

Caught out – Bad weather, unprepared, lost

Missing Doctor from story a couple weeks ago found dead – http://guardianlv.com/2014/04/missing-indian-hiker-dr-james-mcgrogan-found-dead-in-colorado-mountains/

Note the use of isometrics to keep warm – http://www.chron.com/news/us/article/California-man-lost-in-wilderness-beat-the-odds-5369101.php

Very large group of students lost in bad weather –  http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.grough.co.uk/magazine/2014/04/07/23-dukes-award-walkers-among-beacons-walkers-rescued-in-foul-weather

Missing hunter – http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/298580/search-missing-hunter

Effective trip plan launches SAR team – http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Missing-students-Dartmoor-Plymouth-Search-Rescue/story-20923830-detail/story.html?891

Missing person reported, but lack of information delays SAR – http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/298595/missing-tramper-located-westland


“Your not dead, until your warm and dead” Amazing hypothermia save with 4 hours of CPR!! – http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/whistler/woman-defies-medical-odds-after-miraculous-tree-well-rescue/Content?oid=2550166

And stranded on a cliff – http://www.kmvt.com/news/latest/Rock-Climber-Rescued-At-Centennial-Park-253818531.html


Old man winter grounds the fly boys…


What are your chances of being in a wilderness emergency? My guess is about the same as winning the lottery. Every year, millions of people enjoy the backcountry with no incidents, accidents, or injuries. Driving to and from your destination is way more dangerous than getting out in the woods. According to statistics, eating greasy cheeseburgers, texting while you are driving, and smoking like a chimney on the way is more likely to lead to your demise than anything in the woods.

I say all that because, I post these stories not as a fear tactic, but as a learning tool. However, applying simple math, the more time you spend outside in the woods, the greater the chances of injury or having to spend the night out. I theorize that by studying incidents, one’s awareness and knowledge base increases, thereby decreasing your overall risk of coming home with cool scars and stories.

That being said, two stories this week highlight the effect weather can have on air operations during a search and rescues. We all know that bad weather can be a catalyst for wilderness emergencies. Having a good understanding of the use, capabilities, and limitations of air assets in Search and Rescue incidents can arm you with better information for making decisions or handling morale. I know of cases where dispatchers have been verbally thrashed for not launching helicopters when the reporting party insisted.

Two stories this week highlight the reality of bad weather on SAR’s.

The search for a missing doctor is suspended due to weather – http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/duneland/chesterton/winter-storm-halts-search-for-missing-hiker-in-colorado/article_2ea429f5-f538-5a90-a0e4-6a1fe5f3771d.html

With a full backpack and adequate gear, I am hopeful he is still alive. The backstory – http://www.realvail.com/rescuers-searching-man-lost-eiseman-hut-trip-near-vail/a733

Unprepared overnight stay in bad weather –

Negative 5 and deep snow. Good example of whistle use in a SAR – http://globalnews.ca/news/1216781/coquitlam-search-and-rescue-looking-for-two-lost-hikers-near-buntzen-lake/

Snowmobilers activate SPOT to summon rescue – http://thenelsondaily.com/news/golden-search-and-rescue-kept-busy-dealing-missing-snowboarder-snowmobilers-30389#.UyzZxPldX58

Injury – 

Hypothermia. Note that evacuation by air was not possible due to the weather.

 Buffalo National Scenic River (AR)
Hypothermic Hiker Rescued From Ponca Wilderness

On March 16th, northwest Arkansas received about two inches of rain overnight and had temperatures in the low 30s, leading to a sleet/snowstorm that eventually dropped three to four inches of snow.

While on patrol in the Steel Creek area of the park, protection ranger Mark Miller contacted a visitor for speeding. The man told Miller that he was rushing in order to shuttle out people who’d hiked out from an overnight stay in the Ponca Wilderness, adding that one of the hikers, a young woman, was not feeling well due to being sick earlier in the week.

Miller offered to assist with the shuttle and hiked down the trail to check on the young woman. He contacted several members of the hiking party who affirmed that she wasn’t feeling well, but did not give Miller the impression that she was in need of assistance. Further down the trail, he contacted a man from the party who informed him that she was unconscious.

Miller immediately stepped up his response, contacting the Midwest Region Ozark Communication Center and asking that they send out an alert for the Buffalo Search and Rescue Team. A mile and a half down trail, Miller found the 17-year-old girl, who was semi-conscious, wrapped in a wet sleeping bag with her mother. She was placed in a heat blanket and a sleeping bag and then onto a litter for transport and was treated for hypothermia and very low blood sugar by an on scene paramedic.

Responders conducted a carryout over a mile and a half of very rough muddy trail and across one high water creek. The mother was treated for mild hypothermia and was able to hike out on her own.

Due to nearly whiteout conditions, the Air Evac helicopter was unable to respond, so the girl was taken by ambulance to North Arkansas Regional Medical Center in Harrison, Arkansas, which is over an hour from the trailhead. At the hospital her core temperature was discovered to be 84 degrees. Miller’s attention and quick response likely saved the lives of two under prepared hikers.

Fifty four responders, most of them volunteers, assisted in the rescue. They came from the following agencies and organizations – Buffalo River Search and Rescue Team, Harrison Fire Department, Tri County SAR Team, Mennonite Search and Rescue Services, Newton County Sheriff’s Department and SAR Team, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, and the Arkansas Forestry Commission. 

The weather was atrocious, but that did not stop the volunteers from coming out to assist. Buffalo National River staff are very appreciative of their valuable assistance.

Trauma from fall –

Zion National Park (UT)
Seriously Injured Canyoneer Rescued From Jolly Gulch

On Tuesday, March 11th, Zion dispatch received a report of an injured canyoneer in Jolly Gulch along the park’s eastern boundary.

Initial responders discovered that the man had fallen approximately 30 feet unrestrained and bounced several times off the rock wall before landing on the canyon bottom. He was not wearing a helmet and suffered significant multi-system trauma.

Due to a lengthy carryout and his deteriorating condition, Grand Canyon helitack was asked to assist with a short-haul operation. In order to get to an appropriate short-haul extraction point, Zion rescuers needed to move the 250-pound man out of a pothole, perform a technical lowering operation, hand carry him down two more vertical drops up to ten feet in height, and navigate a slot canyon layered with snow and ice filled pools – all while in a canyon that was only three feet wide in places.

Gusty, erratic winds hampered the short-haul efforts before the Grand Canyon helitack crew was able to successfully extract the man and a Zion rescuer. To further complicate logistics during the mission, LifeFlight AirMedical (St. George, Utah) was diverted from this mission to another one, but Classic LifeGuard (Page, Arizona) was able to fly the man to a medical care facility.

Near drowning and broken ankle – http://westsidetoday.com/2014/03/21/sheriff-deputies-make-rescues-malibu/

Ankle injury – http://www.chicoer.com/news/ci_25353577/search-and-rescue-training-helps-aid-fallen-hiker

Trauma from snowmobile accident – http://www.westyellowstonenews.com/news/article_d74a828a-ad4d-11e3-9b61-001a4bcf887a.html

The “Reality” of survival…


This past weekend during a Survival 101 class, one of the participants brought up some interesting points. He is of like mind, but pointed out that a lot of internet survival experts tout that you will not have any gear like a shelter kit, a lighter, or a metal match in a survival scenario. Do yourself a favor and check those guys credentials. Do they have operational Search and Rescue experience? Do they work or live in a remote area where they use those skills daily? I all bullshit on those statements on two accounts.

1. One never hears about situations where people are adequately prepared in a survival scenario, because they usually resolve themselves. By it’s definition, a “survival” event is life threatening. If we carry the right gear and have the right skills, then something that could have progressed into a life-threatening event, just became an inconvenience. A “Real” reality survival show would be boring as hell. It would show someone filling out a trip plan, researching the area and expected weather, taking proper gear, and returning safely. No drama, no drinking their own piss, or jumping off cliffs. Like I said, boring.

2. I have yet to read about “survival” scenario where a person entered the wilderness, non-voluntarily, naked. If you know of an account, please message me the details. If you have clothes, then you probably have pockets, and there is no excuse not to carry some light weight lifesavers. A 55 gallon trash bag weighs 4 ounces, a metal match 2 ounces, and a pimped out Bic lighter in a balloon is 1.5 ounces. The most important signalling item weighs nothing, because you leave it a home with your loved ones. http://bigpigoutdoors.net/bpo-trip-plan.html

Making natural shelter, friction fires, and rock boiling water are great skills to have in the toolbox, but to me are a sign someone really screwed up and chose not to properly prepare. I love bushcraft and primitive skills, but I also like to keep them in the proper context. In a prior class, I asked a student what he would have done upon exiting the water, completely soaked and cold. His reply was to start working on a bow drill fire, which he had never attempted, but had seen on multiple TV shows. Now a graduate of Survival 101, he has a better plan and gear that has been executed and used under those exact conditions.

In an earlier post, I described BigPig Outdoors training goals in regards to preparing students.

1. To realize that injury is common theme. Keeping that in mind, we prepare mentally and choose our gear and training accordingly.

2. That realistically, SAR personnel may not reach us until the next operational period and we should train to spend the night out with minimal gear in adverse weather.

3. Rain, sweat, snow or immersion can soak us and our gear, so we choose our mindset, clothing, and gear with that in mind.

By studying and reading about the trials and triumphs of others, we can learn from their experiences. Read below and check back weekly for the “Real” stories of survival.

Injured from fall, 004 “Whiskey” Clay to the rescue – Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (AZ)
Injured Woman Rescued Through Interagency Effort

On the night of February 22nd, rangers responded to a report of visitors hearing screaming in Arch Canyon and began a hasty search along the established visitor trail with assistance from a Border Patrol agent. A Customs and Border Protection helicopter and high-altitude aircraft joined the effort.

About 45 minutes later, two people were spotted from the aircraft, separated by a significant elevation gap. Rangers reached the first person, who was uninjured, and escorted her down to the visitor trail while the agent attempted to find and reach the second person, who was suffering from injuries sustained in a fall of from 20 to 30 feet. She was found a short time later.

Other rangers responded with a litter, medical equipment and SAR equipment. Due to darkness, terrain and the number of personnel engaged, rangers decided to keep the woman comfortable and stay with her throughout the night.

At first light, more rangers arrived on scene along with US Border Patrol agents from the Ajo Station and the Border Patrol Search, Trauma & Rescue (BORSTAR) Team. The joint team began a high-angle rescue operation, lowering the injured woman from a cliff into a more open area. 

The rescuers were joined by an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter, which short-hauled the woman out of the canyon on a 150-foot line. She was then flown via medical helicopter to a Tucson hospital, where she was treated for two fractured legs, a fractured clavicle and multiple abrasions and lacerations.

This incident was executed using assets from the NPS, Border Patrol, Arizona Department of Public Safety and Native Air Ambulance Service.

[Submitted by Marshall Anderson, Supervisory Park Ranger]

Missing skier attempts snow shelter: http://www.fox21news.com/news/story.aspx?id=1013837#.Uxz2cvldX58

Hikers trapped by flood waters:  http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/02/us/california-mudslides/

Unprepared hiker has anxiety attack and leads to hypothermia: http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S3346071.shtml?cat=504#.Uxz4zPldX58

Lost “trampers” (New Zealand word for hikers): http://www.voxy.co.nz/national/missing-trampers-located/5/183285