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Success And Survival Tips From Alaska – Do Not Surprise The Teddy Bears
Survival expert Bear Grylls recently starred in an amazing series of survival TV shows full of survival and success tips. He introduced this episode as follows:
“I’m Bear Grylls. I’ve survived some of the harshest environments in the world. Now I’m in Alaska, one of the last great wildernesses on earth and one mistake here can be fatal. My mission – to show you the skills you need to survive here.”
Alaska’s landscape consists of endless coastline, deep forest and huge glaciers. Seventeen of the highest mountains in the USA are located in Alaska.
Hikers, skiers and hikers visit it every year to enjoy the wilderness, but with the thrills comes danger. More than 20 people die every year.
Bear is placed by helicopter on top of the mountain in the role of a lost skier. All he had was a knife, a flask, skis, flint, a fearless camera crew and a woolen hat! He will have to find his own way back to safety.
He described what happened next:
“I’m 9,000 feet up and there’s nothing but snow and rock for miles and miles. My best chance of survival is to head down.
“The biggest threat to skiers is avalanches. They kill about forty people every year in North America. One wrong turn and the whole mountain could come crashing down on you. You have to know how to avoid them.
“The key with avalanches is reading the snow and you can use a ski pole in front of you just to test the snow to see if it’s packed or if it’s layered.
“What you want is when you push it in, it’s nice and consistent, but if you push it down and it suddenly drops a little bit, that’s a sign that it’s layered and that’s a dangerous thing.
“Avalanches are often triggered by inexperienced skiers and snowboarders who come to enjoy the forty meters of pristine snow that often falls here.”
In early 2006, a snowboarder from Anchorage triggered a 200-foot-wide avalanche on a slope just like the one Bear was on. His body was finally found three months later. He fell 1,600 feet.
“Where there is danger of an avalanche, always carry a headlamp. They send out a signal that the rescue service can follow.
“Now I’ve descended at least 5,000 feet and I’m finally leaving the high snow surfaces behind. There are so many rocks it’s becoming impossible to ski any further. All these skis will do is slow me down. I’m better off without them.”
The bear threw away the skis, but kept one stick.
“Beneath me is a glacier, literally a river of ice, and like a river this glacier flows downhill. If I can reach it, it should take me out of the mountains.
“To get to the glacier, I have to follow this ridge and it’s not easy, and the temperature drops quickly. Temperatures here in Alaska can reach minus 60 degrees, and frostbite is always a danger in the mountains.
“The parts you have to watch out for are your extremities – your hands, your feet and your face. Signs you’re getting frostbite are your skin turning waxy red and eventually turning black. Frostbite is a really horrible and painful thing.
“This ridge led me to a north facing slope. There is less sunlight here so it is still covered in snow. The weather does not look so good. Bad weather can be fatal.
“I have to descend quickly, but the slope below me is almost 300 feet. I’m going to use a technique called a ‘glissade.’
To perform a glide, you must bury your ax to control the speed of your descent. If you don’t drive the ax hard enough, you’ll go too fast. If you bury it too deep, it can be ripped out of your hand.
Bear used half a ski pole because he didn’t have an ax and descended at about 50 miles per hour desperately holding on to the pole. He continued his story:
“I came to the glaciers. There are more than 100,000 of them in Alaska. They form the largest reservoir of fresh water on earth, but they are full of crevasses often covered by layers of snow. You have to be roped to a partner to cross them safely.
“I’m lucky. There’s solid ground running along the glacier. But at the bottom of the glacier is a forty-foot waterfall.
“There is an ice tunnel in the glacier that could take me out. Make sure the ice is solid before you go in. There could be over 200 feet of ice above me and it could collapse at any moment. Only go through such a tunnel as a last resort . The further you go in, the harder it is to come back.”
I’m not sure what the camera crew had to say about this little adventure!
Then the Bear saw daylight in front of him. It showed him the way out:
“I’ve never been so relieved. I’m finally off the glacier!”
He took off his ski boots but kept his indoor shoes on. He drank some water that looked dirty, but the brown color was glacial silt or crushed rock. The bear commented, “This water should be good to drink.”
He continued to descend, “Now that I have come down from the mountain, I must continue to descend to find food and shelter.”
He was dived by seagulls protecting their eggs full of protein, vitamins and minerals, but he had no luck and only found stones that looked like eggs. However, he was far from discouraged:
“The landscape starts to open up and I can see the tree line ahead and I’m almost in the forest. I see thick forest and a deep gorge and at the bottom of that there might be a river. Most of the villages in Alaska are along the river.”
Now he was in bear country.
Brown bears can grow up to nine feet, weigh up to 1,100 pounds, and can tear a man apart. When the rangers found the remains of the hiker, who had recently been killed, there were two empty shell casings on the ground, but the bullets were not enough to stop the bear.
Large groups are rarely attacked because they make a lot of noise. Hunters are more likely to be attacked because they quietly sneak around alone.
Bears are most dangerous when they are surprised so they make a lot of noise shouting things. The bear started yelling, “YO BEAR! YO BEAR!”
But he felt uneasy no matter how much noise he made!
He found some berry seeds in the bear shit. Good news – there are edible berries nearby. Bad news – bears are around!
I was once chased by a mountain bear in Tehran. I ran much faster than usual (I was eight at the time) and ran away. I wouldn’t like to race a full-grown bear.
Bear went down a large 200 foot waterfall, “Let your legs take the pressure. They’re a lot stronger than your arms.”
In such situations, taking your time is key – you can only make one mistake.
Then he found the Eskimo potato, which is full of starch and carbohydrates and is said to be the most valuable food source in Alaska.
He built a bed of branches to keep his body above the cold ground, then found alder saplings to build a half-domed shelter. For waterproofing, you add layers of spruce from the bottom up.
He lit a fire that would drive away the bears. In this part of Alaska, black bears are more dangerous than grizzlies.
Grizzlies are territorial, so if you encounter them, be submissive and step back. However, if you encounter a black bear, it will likely be after you. They kill fewer people than Grizzlies, but in 90% of their attacks they stalk people.
If you are cornered by a black bear, you will have to fight for your life. Most locals carry a rifle, but if you don’t have one, grab a stick and stick it in the bear’s eyes.
In the night Bear heard something moving around. Maybe it was a moose or a bear:
“I hope that, whatever happens, they leave this ‘bear’ alone!”
Woke up at 5am exhausted on day two in Alaska:
“I’m a little freaked out, but that’s okay. When you’ve been wet all night, it’s okay to be a little freaked out.”
He followed the stream to the river and then down to the seashore where most of the people would be. But he can still go 500 miles in each direction and find no one:
“My best chance of salvation is to be spotted by one of the many small fishing boats that hunt this area.”
He saw some bald eagles hunting salmon. The river is full of king and pink salmon. The bear had no fishing line, but, out of breath, he made a fishing spear. He always looks for an alternative instead of giving up.
The bear scared the salmon into about six inches of water by yelling and striking the water with his spear. In the end, he tried a big salmon and immediately tucked in:
“They are full of protein and you can eat the flakes, and they are small. I’ve always loved sushi!
“I may be out of the woods, but I’m still surrounded by bears that come here to fish.”
Now he sought shelter. Caves are ready-made shelters, but they are often occupied by wild animals, including bears. He found a shallow cave with high walls where nothing could sneak up behind him.
Then he found mussels. Shellfish should always be properly cooked first. He surrounded the mussels with two layers of seaweed that would steam them in ten minutes. I’m surprised Bear did
we do not suggest that you also eat seaweed:
“When you collect mussels, tap them. If they don’t close, they’re already dead, so leave them.”
He lit a signal fire with white smoke contrasting with the dark trees behind him, but he saw no ships so he had to keep moving.
Suddenly Medo saw some wooden buildings, but they were abandoned. Alaska has a history of ups and downs.
He saw some glaciers that are often tourist hotspots. He would have a better chance of contacting other people there, but it would be a long walk.
Medo decided to use an old boat he found near the buildings. He used a shovel as an oar. One of the fundamental lessons of survival is to be open to every opportunity. It’s the same with success.
An old boat in a sea full of ice is a risk, but it was his best option. He was slowly going around the coast. As he continued, he encountered a bay full of sea ice. As he entered the bay, the ice grew thicker and ice blocks were all around him.
He moved among the small icebergs. They can suddenly capsize as the water melts the ice beneath them. Icy water began to seep into the boat. He quickly packed his heavier clothes into his backpack to avoid the burden.
His boat sank, and he was in icy water. The danger was that he could suck in a big gulp of water and air, but he managed to reach land.
When he reached the shore, he quickly removed the rest of his clothes. Survive longer naked than in wet clothes. He was doing push-ups to get the blood flowing.
His jacket remained dry in his backpack. This would help. He stayed put for a while and then continued, but:
“Just when I’m losing hope, I hear the distant sound of an engine.”
He waved his hands and backpack in the air:
“They saw me! I’m on my way home! Alaska is a place where you can really get close to nature and that’s the magic for me.”
What lessons about success can be learned?
You need to know how to avoid life’s disasters, whether it’s avalanches, personal relationships, finances, health, or life itself. Learn the skills and knowledge you need or hire an expert.
Don’t hang around. Moving quickly on any project will keep your enthusiasm up. It will keep you warm enough to survive the descent from the mountain.
Get rid of everything that slows you down, whether it’s ski or heavy body armor or bad habits.
Don’t wait for the light at the end of the tunnel, step down and light the ***** thing yourself! (Quote from Sarah Henderson)
Go slowly and take your time when facing dangerous obstacles where every step counts – sign all contracts carefully!
It’s okay to feel depressed now and then. If you spend the night wet, it’s perfectly fine to feel ‘tired’, but at least appreciate being able to sleep in a warm, dry bed most nights!
Seize every opportunity that comes your way.
Find out which foods and drinks are the most valuable.
If you go down into the forest today, don’t surprise the bears or you will become their picnic spot!
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