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#197120 - 03/04/10 01:38 AM Attempted "Survivorman" found dead
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2856
Found this link on another forum:


Man went into the wilderness with very little gear and dies.

#197135 - 03/04/10 03:23 AM Re: Attempted "Survivorman" found dead [Re: Eugene]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7449
Loc: southern Cal
Some years ago in southern Arizona, a late season storm, with wind, snow, and rain, blew through on an Easter weekend, catching many parties unawares. SAR was busier (in my kindly first sergeant's words) than a one-legged man in an a$$ kicking contest. After a few days, everyone was found, assisted, and we congratulated ourselves on roughly a dozen operations, with no fatalities.

Or so we thought until a few months later, when someone stumbled into a remote camp in the Baboquivari Mountains, complete with tent, sleeping bag, other paraphernalia, and a well dessicated corpse. Investigation revealed that this person had died during the stormy Easter previous.

Among his accouterments was a slender book entitled "Survival Made Simple" - evidently too simple.

Some things cannot be learned competently from books or TV shows.
Geezer in Chief

#197137 - 03/04/10 03:34 AM Re: Attempted "Survivorman" found dead [Re: hikermor]
Mac Offline

Registered: 02/24/10
Posts: 77
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: hikermor
Some things cannot be learned competently from books or TV shows.

Or internet forms, despite what some people seem to think...
I'm here to enquire about your spoons - Salad fingers

#197138 - 03/04/10 03:36 AM Re: Attempted "Survivorman" found dead [Re: hikermor]
raven397 Offline

Registered: 03/31/07
Posts: 16
kind of a puzzling story. I looked up the weather for Muskoka, Ontario, and on March 1 the high was 30 F, low 25 F. hard to believe that the cold could kill a guy at that level, unless he got soaked. even then, in the woods he should have been able to get a fire going...

#197142 - 03/04/10 03:51 AM Re: Attempted "Survivorman" found dead [Re: raven397]
Teslinhiker Offline

Registered: 12/14/09
Posts: 1413
Loc: Cranbrook BC (Finally)
Originally Posted By: raven397
kind of a puzzling story. I looked up the weather for Muskoka, Ontario, and on March 1 the high was 30 F, low 25 F. hard to believe that the cold could kill a guy at that level, unless he got soaked. even then, in the woods he should have been able to get a fire going...

30 F is 2 degrees below freezing and a person can subcumb to the cold and hypothermia at this temperature very easily. On the other end of the scale, people have died from hypothermia when the temperature is in the high 60's to low 70's. If you ever watched any long distance adventure racing, you will see people who are tired, hungry and cold being pulled off the course due them being hypothermic at temperatures you and I could easily tolerate with only t-shirts and shorts.

The article does not state what the man died of so I will wait before making any judgement, for as all we know, he could of died of a preexisting and unknown medical condition.

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.

John Lubbock

#197147 - 03/04/10 04:10 AM Re: Attempted "Survivorman" found dead [Re: Eugene]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
It happens.

On the scale of gear vs skill, he chose poorly, but he had gone out in warm weather. So it wasn't like he loaded up with new toys and took off without ever having used them. Most of us would have taken more, with the plan of leaving it in the pack unless we needed it, though, or trained closer to home. *sighs*

With the right mentor, he might still be alive. Or maybe he slipped and popped out his knee or broke his ankle or knocked himself out by finding a rock with his head. All of those greatly increase your odds of losing to hypothermia. And having a buddy with you a great thing for that reason, I don't care how much time you have in the woods.

I would rather have seen colder temps than this stuff- we've been having the same kind of winter here in Vermont and I'm not going out in it. This is lousy weather, warm enough that you sweat easily and think you can go lighter than you really can, cold enough to kill dead right there. I did one solo last summer where I was planning on going no-fire, so I hadn't even gathered fuel. A little after midnight I had to grab the little stuff and badly load my pack, then get out to a shelter that was heated becuase I was shivering badly enough I almost could get my headlamp turned on. And that was in the high 40s.

It can get any of us. He looked to be in good shape, and he had more experience than most people.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#197148 - 03/04/10 04:13 AM Re: Attempted "Survivorman" found dead [Re: raven397]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2966
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I think it's a bit puzzling also, given it was only four days. But this guy's fate may have been tipped by bad weather.

I seem to recall they got a massive dump of snow around that time. The news story indicates that search personnel couldn't get into the area on foot (meaning this guy couldn't get out either).

Wet, driving snow can soak you through in no time, and then you can enter hypothermia with surprisingly speed. It also soaks the easy-to-access firewood as well. Seriously, those around-freezing temperatures are the worst; it's much easier to stay dry and make fire when it's -10C.

I hope the weak-minded in the media won't beat up Stroud just to get cheap headlines. I think he's always been honest about how tough these trips are, and how much knowledge and preparation is needed.

EDIT: I see you guys beat me to it. I should have refreshed the thread before posting.

Edited by dougwalkabout (03/04/10 04:15 AM)

#197152 - 03/04/10 06:05 AM Re: Attempted "Survivorman" found dead [Re: dougwalkabout]
fasteer Offline

Registered: 09/01/09
Posts: 63
Loc: away
Richard Code was on a weekend survival trip near Huntsville, Ont.; brother says police told him he died of hypothermia

not much new info, but media are dragging Stroud into it...

#197162 - 03/04/10 12:15 PM Re: Attempted "Survivorman" found dead [Re: fasteer]
JBMat Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 745
Loc: NC
I see people do all sorts of odd and strange stuff on TV, yet I don't feel compelled to go out and do the same stuff.

A man has got to know his limits. Perhaps he should have started off in the spring/summer and gotten a feel for his skills and gear (or lack thereof) and progressed from there. There are very few people who can do something at the expert level first try. The old "crawl, walk, run" method of teaching works for me.

As to Stroud being dragged into this, total crap.

#197168 - 03/04/10 12:46 PM Re: Attempted "Survivorman" found dead [Re: fasteer]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
I'm rehashing and thinking aloud based on this information from the media:

“He'd have his emergency metal blanket, he'd have his special utility knife set – it's a $100 fancy knife. And he would go with an axe,” Mr. Watt said. “He would go with stuff to light a fire, magnesium stick, basic stuff you'd need to get a fire going, to get a camp going. Some fishing stuff.”

A space blanket has close to zero insulation. A space blanket around you is warmer than just your clothes - but not anywhere warm enough for a prolonged period of time. You need to augment that with extra insulation (your sleeping bag, vegetation, ... ) and a heat source. Without a heat source (i.e. fire) you will get wet (condensation), and it is highly unlikely that your clothes and sleeping bag will be warm enough when wet.

Equipped like that you put all your eggs into one basket. You rely exclusively on TWO components:
1) Your ability to make fire.

2)The ability to make a camp site that works in REALLY though conditions. (Wet snow/sleet is absolutely the worst and toughest conditions. Dry cold is much easier). Your shelter must be dry, and positioned in a way so the fire can be effective to keep you warm.

If either of those fails - particular the fire part - your trip has just turned into your worst nightmare. And that is assuming all your other clothing actually WORKS for those conditions.

I won't speculate about his abilities or if he knew what risks he exposed himself to. But if he just went out there with a space blanket, cutlery and fire implements there is no doubt that he would die if the fire failed him.

Could be wet, soaked wood. Or it could be an injury that left him unable to make a camp site. Or it could be plain, old hypothermia leaving him unable to make camp - that can be a really sneaky killer if you don't watch out. Or a combination. In my view, he probably died because he put too much reliance on his ability to lit a fire no matter what. A little more humility and forethought would perhaps mean he would bring some emergency backup (sleeping bag, emergency beacon - or even a cell phone), or make a trip into an area where he could self extract more easily. Without a safety net and relying solely on one factor (fire) in brutal conditions - that factor fails, you die. Simple and brutal.

On the plus side, he died doing something he really loved. He did not expose others to foolish risks. His death is sad and most likely totally unnecessary, but he died taking a risk doing something he loved. I can sympathize with that.

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