Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Shouldn't Be Alive Series Review

Last night we watched two episodes of this thought provoking series.
The first involved a man who decided to take a really decent inflatable raft down the Colorado River, into the Grand Canyon. He equipped his boat with all the essentials, wore a wet suit and life vest. He put in at Lee's ferry, and told his friend to call for help if he didn't make the destination by the appointed date.
He went solo, which is not an issue if you're experienced and take the river seriously.
He did so well, that after passing Lava Flow without incident, he took off the wet suit and relaxed. Little did he know, his adventure had just begun.
One thing led to another and he finds himself on the bank, drenched, without any gear (flipped and lost it to the river ).
Its winter. As the reenactment continues, we see the big white man fire, no signage for helicopters to sight, and growing depression.
This would be a good time for the two fire survival technique, and creating a huge S.O.S out of rocks. He stayed next to the river, a smart, important decision.
After a week, he is found. His raft ended up 20 miles down stream, alerting rangers of someone in need of rescue.
The second episode dealt with two mountain climbers who fall into a crevasse while descending Mt. Rainier. Seems they did everything right. I was impressed by the strength and ingenuity of the less experienced mountaineer who survived. Sadly, his best friend did not, but his body was recovered.
While our survivor climbs out of a 80 foot crevasse, he admits his inexperience, yet continously makes safe, cautious decisions. He feels his dead friend is coaching him all the way. I learned a lot about mountaineering watching this reinactment, among them the value of the ice anchoring systems, or ice screws, the value of ropes and various slings, of partnering and chosing north facing slopes when possible for descents.
Not that I am going winter mountain climbing any time soon!
I don't criticize or judge any "mistakes" adventurers make in these true stories. Instead, learning and filing away these lessons, I think of alternative actions which might come in handy.

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