Let's Play WFF Survivor!!

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by chadk, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    Good point on using the tools as they were intended. That's what the candle and tinder are for. Not sure the match had enough fire to light the candle though. Wicks are generally covered in some wax that needs to be melted off before the 'string' can catch fire.

    I was thinking that he might have used some tippet material or a bandaid to tie\tape the remaining matches together. Perhaps all of the smaller sparks and flames added together could have worked... You'd think if it was struck within an inch of the tinder and the tinder was quickly put over the flame, it should ignite.

    One of the lessons here is: keep your 'emergency\survival kit' updated. Throw out \ replace questionable parts. Test the stuff each trip or just before the trip if its been a while. This will keep you current on what your inventory status is and help you be confident in the quality\reliability of what you have.

    When I was a kid, we'd go camping in some horrible weather conditions (not generally planned that way), but my dad would put me in charge of making the fire. He'd give me some basic guidance, then just let me learn the hard way - watching the fire die out quickly try after try until finally I did the work ahead of time to ensure I would have enough small stuff to fuel it into a full blown fire. I remember how proud I was at about the age of 8 when I was able to get a fire going despite the nasty down pour. My older brother had given up, but I was determined. Anyway, I'm looking forward to playing these types of 'survival games' with my boys.
     
  2. Bestbuilder

    Bestbuilder Member

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    This is a great tread for everyone-
    One problem with the emergency blanket- if it is as old as the matches, it is worthless. It will unfold into a bunch of tiny little rectangles because the seams would have broken down over time (this happen to a hiking acquaintance of mine when he needed to use it). He said it was a very cold night with the 80 little blanket squares laid over him.
    The blankets just don’t last very long. Don’t try to unfold one to check if they're any good- you won’t get it back small enough to use. I tried this after hearing the above and wanted to see if the ones I had were ok, it was marginal, but I couldn’t fold it back up anywhere near the same size, so I threw them out. I went out and bought some new ones (there inexpensive!).

    I’d like to know what Fred was wearing. This will make a difference for him also.

    I’ve had the same problem with the matches while hiking- no stove or fire; we ate peanut butter sandwiches made from flat bread for 2 meals- lucky for us it was just an overnighter. So we hiked out and went to the local café for lunch.

    I’m going to use this scenario with my scout troop for the next couple of weeks to see how they compare with you guys.
     
  3. hikepat

    hikepat Patrick

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    I feel the story also points out a need to practice once in a while building a fire from just a small spark. Was the match held upwind from what was trying to be burned? This is a common mistake when building fire from a small spark. Was there duct tape around? Duct tape can be a great fire starter. Why did he not use the candle wax? Seems like his fire making skills were quite rusty. Also it shows why to carry a lighter instead of matches because even with out fuel in the lighter you can still get a fire going with the steel and flint in the lighter.
    Also why would the two lost people get out of site of one another, seems like a very bad move to me and against every thing I learned back in survival training class in high school. Either they should have both walked down river a little ways to see what else they could recover and to get the blood moving a little bit or they should have stayed put and built shelters the best they could. Either way they should start building shelter before they start to lose light and should not head to far Down River that night. Priority one is always shelter.
     
  4. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    I agree. Practice is critical. On normal camping trip, where you have great resources and tools to get a fire qoing quickly, force yourself to rely on the bare minimum. Can you start it with just one match? What if it's raining out? Snow on the ground? Heavy winds? What if you don't have a match? What other options are there? In back country travel, I try to have a minimum of 3 different types of fire starters (such as matches, lighter, artifical flint striker, etc). The candle helps you save matches ("one match, one fire!") and should have been the first thing Fred tried to light. But in this case, those matches were just hosed. Possibly they got wet at one time and he never realized it.

    Fred was in no condition to scramble down river. This is not easy terrain to walk through. George had a tough choice. Personally I think he was dead meat no matter how fast he could have made a shelter. If you can't get dry in freezing weather, you die. He had no way to get dry. As cold as the river probably was and with the temps rapidly approaching freezing - early hypothermia systems had to showing already. The thought of a fire available on the other side of the river would probably drive most of us to find a way back accross. Fred had to stay put, not only for the injuries, but also to get the fire and shelter going. Not only did he need it, but if George makes it accross, he's going to be in bad shape and will need that fire to survive.
     
  5. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

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    I NEVER wear cotton on the river, no matter how hot it is during the day. Wet cotton is a killer.

    Another of their (multiple) mistakes was to bunch their pontoons on the river, thereby ensuring that they both hit the submerged log. When me and my buddy do remote rivers in our pontoons (a couple times per year), we keep about 1/8 mile between us. We used to use visual cues, or blasts on a whistle, to communicate potential problems, but now we carry small FRS radios on our vests. If the lead dumps the boat and takes a swim, the second can avoid the problem, and be in a position to help.
     
  6. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    Part 3: Two Parts Luck

    Fred is panicking. His fleece pants are still wet inside his waders. His cotton t-shirt and cotton flannel shirt cling tightly to his shivering skin. His wool socks are also water logged. His body heat managed to warm the water around his feet, and the neoprene booties and wading boots kept them insulated from the dropping temps and snow that was starting to accumulate. Even still, his toes are aching, his fingers are getting numb, and his shivering is getting uncontrollable. His mind is racing as he struggles to remember all those things his dad tried to teach him as a kid…

    “Should I move around? Exercise? Jump up and down? What about the bad ankle? Should I curl in a ball and stay still? I’m pretty sure I should leave the boot nice and tight on the ankle to prevent swelling and give it support, right?”

    “Should I take off these wet clothes? Should I see if George is OK? Will we see anyone on the river tomorrow? Can we make it 3 or more days until help is sent? Do we stay put or head out? What way should we go? …. Just one night… I can make it... where’s George??”


    George bobs up out of the water gasping for air and getting his bearings. He’s moving pretty fast, but not far from shore. His feet can almost touch the bottom, but it’s too fast to stand in neck deep water anyway. He spots small eddy behind a large boulder and is able to swim into it. He pulls himself up onto shore in disbelief of all that has happened in such a short amount of time.

    Then, he remembers the boat he had spotted earlier and the whole reason he risked the ledge to begin with. He scrambles up the bank to get a better look around. There, only 30 feet away, is his boat! He forgets about the cold and the shivering, and fear that has been building is quickly replaced with anticipation and hope. He is able to get to the boat quickly. It looks to be in fine shape – despite being upside down. The pontoons are, surprisingly, fully inflated. No sign of damage. He is able to flip it with some effort, knowing most of his gear will still be firmly strapped down. Sure enough, it is just as he hoped. The 2 big dry bags are still secured. His favorite rod is long gone, but who cares at this point?

    He scans the river and realizes it is too dark to negotiate – even with the boat. He’ll have to meet up with Fred first thing in the morning. He knows Fred will be worried, but at least the fire should dry him out and keep him warm…

    George opens each bag and finds his camp stove and fuel. It’s a little wet inside, but all his clothes and sleeping bag are double wrapped in plastic trash bags. He lights the stove and soon has it fully cranking as he warms up his hands. As the feeling comes back to his fingers, he quickly removes the clothes bag and finds a dry shirt and his warm camp jacket.

    20 minutes later George is dry and warming up in his tent. He’s made some hot cocoa and eaten some food. He can’t wait to surprise Fred with hot breakfast in the morning!


    The shaking is uncontrollable. Fred’s mind is no longer spinning in circles with questions. He can hardly think at all. A few times he begins to crawl out of the shelter thinking he hears George calling. He’s confused and can hardly control his mind or his body. It hurts all over and his muscles are fatiguing as his body battles hypothermia.

    +++++++++++++++++++++

    Final episode tomorrow :thumb:
     
  7. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    Two excellent points. No cotton in the back country - especially in cold conditions. And leaving space between boats is a good idea. If the rapids are questionable, scout it out. But either way, have one guy go down first, then when he's safe, the second guy goes.
     
  8. otter

    otter Banned or Parked

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    Alright.

    George is now in pretty good shape, and has options. Fred has run out of options, and is going into second stage hypothermia. And nobody knows, yet, the fix they are in. Its too bad Fred didn't stop at the beginning and try to wring out his clothes a little; it would have given him just a very small edge.

    Oars.

    If George didn't set up leashes for his oars, then he and his raft are SOL. Without oars, trying to cross the river will risk getting dumped again or ending up way the hell down river, maybe on the one side, maybe on the other.

    Right now George knows where he is, and he's got a pretty good idea of where Fred was when he saw him last. The distance between them is a quarter mile or less.

    George knows that S&R won't happen for at least another day. Depending on the shape of the river, there may be DB's or rafts coming down that he can signal for help. If that doesn't happen, then he has to figure out a way to signal helos or search planes, and needs to stay by the river in case of boats coming down. Too bad he didn't include a flaregun kit in his ready bag.

    If George has oars, he can attempt to cross the river, assuming the water isn't totally blown and he risks losing/dumping raft again. Then he can work up the riverbank to try to find Fred, while staying in visual contact with the river in case of boats. This is another judgement call.

    If he doesn't have oars, then he stays put on his side of river, staying in visual contact with river in case of boats. And worrying about Fred.


    otter
     
  9. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Fred made a major mistake in not taking off his waders and clothes shortly after making landfall. Ringing out those clothes, putting them back on along with his waders would keep him a whole lot warmer during the night. Now he will waste valuable body heat trying to keep the extra water that's in his clothes warm.

    I took an unintended swim on an overnight canoe river trip 10 years ago. I wore cotten jeans, which was a mistake. However, I immediately stripped and wrung out all my clothes and put them back on. I was wearing neoprene waders, and was reasonably warm in no time, but this was a summer trip. Still pretty cool in a river canyon after sundown, though.
     
  10. I just love this sh1t! Awesome!
    Here is what I think Fred should have done, earlier. He should have looked up/down stream for a place to cross but didn't. oh well. That said, I think he should strip down in the dark, systematically wring his clothes out. It will take 20 minutes with no light. Otherwise it will be a long night. Maybe his last.
    George doesn't have a problem anymore, as I see it. Chances are, if he has hot beverages and food, shelter and heat. He can wait this out for a day or two.
    The question in my mind now is what to do about Fred, George will have to stick his neck out and cross that river again, possibly putting them back in a bad situation. But he will have to help his friend at first light.

    I have noticed that when I am yelling to a friend on the river, if I am up-stream yelling down, people can hear you better, am I wrong? On the contrary, I find that even the shortest distance yell up stream is hard to hear.
    I should test this theory.
    Frank.
     
  11. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

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    My wife says they are gonna have to bite the bullet and cuddle.. She hasnt read a thing though but it made me laugh just now.
     
  12. What's that movie where the guys are gay cowboys, well this is how it started.:rofl:
    f.
     
  13. otter

    otter Banned or Parked

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    Just a note from the old days. 1961, I think. We were going way the hell up the road on the Colorado/Wyoming border. I was 11 years old. This gets complicated, but I was with an American Museum of Natural History expedition, hunting fossils, and we were going on a picnic with a local rancher and his wife and his sister. Anyway, the weather instantaneously turned to shit. Sleeting and shitting snow, blowing hard.

    And we were way up a mountain.

    So, he leads us under the umbrella of branches of a large spruce? Probably twenty foot spread. Dry and nice. Completely calm organises collection of firewood, and then pulls a hip flask out of his pocket, and in the other hand a match case, for kitchen matches. Paraffin dipped. Hip flask is full of gasoline, not whisky. Throws a dollop of gas on the collection and fires it up. We had a great lunch.

    You don't need to be complicated.

    otter
     
  14. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

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    I got a whole case full of the vietnam era napalm fire starters.. Just pull the leash and you have flames enough to dry out just about anything small.

    They are a cold mans best friend.

    Another good trick is ammonia and gasoline... Makes the prettiest fire you have ever seen. I keep a film canister of ammonia in my 72 hour kit just in case I really need to start a fire bad. Learned that trick back in the BSA order of the arrow days..
     
  15. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    Making a fire and being found go hand in hand. The reason for carrying a candle is fire building, not praying to St Jude.

    FUEL: For tinder, collect fine branches from the inside of small trees. Next to the trunk on conifers, the material is the dryest you'll find, and contains some pitch. Next look for a dead fir stump, the kind that are so rotten, you can kick them apart. Often you will find pockets of pure,volatile pitch that make for quick, sure heat. Collect as much good fuel as possible, the 4x rule from above is excellent.

    BUILD the fire: Scoop a shelter for the candle to rest in on a flat rock or piece of wood. You want a circle around 6" in diameter, ringed by rock or wood, just create a chimney effect with an opening for air to enter and fuel the combustion. The candle goes in the center, then build a loose teepee of tinder sized twigs. Hunker down under the space blanket or coat so to minimize any breeze rain, etc. that will interfere with lighting the candle. Once lit, the candle will fuel the fire by both drying and igniting the tinder. Add the pitch if you got lucky, it will ignite larger fuels. Keep feeding the flames so the fire grows gradually.

    SMOKE: The fire you build will be very smoky, due to the damp fuel, but rejoice! During daylight hours, that smoke will save your life., just as the heat does at night. Even if your buddy doesn't see the flames, he'll notice the smoke at first light, and smell it in the dark.

    WAIT: That's it. Stay by the fire, keeping the smokiest, nastiest smudge you can manage going. It will be seen by rescuers, planes, truckers, forest rangers, loggers etc. A smoky fire is not natural in the winter. Some one is going to connect the dots, and at least come check it out.
     
  16. Zane Wyll

    Zane Wyll Member

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    Chad write a book and I am buying it. Can we get the next episode now please. Nice writing good job get us all to think about how we prepare ourselfs you saved a few lives for sure keep it up!

    zane
     
  17. tythetier

    tythetier Fish Slayer

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    ONE OF THE MANY THINGS I REMEMBER FROM OUTDOOR SCHOOL WAS TO USE PITCH AND PICTH COVERED WOOD TO TRY TO GET A FIRE GOING.

    ATLEAST NOW THEY HAVE SOME FOOD...
    TY
     
  18. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    :beer2: Good contribution, thanks!
     
  19. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    Hopefully i'll get the chance to crank something out tonight. Otherwise it will definately be tomorrow.

    Any guesses on how Fred is doing come morning?
     
  20. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

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    bawling: bawling: bawling: What a waste of a flask!!

    But seriously, I've never had success using rapidly burned volatiles (like white gas, regular gas, etc.) to start wet fires, because it burns out too fast to dry the wood. If the wood is dry enough to light with gas, it's usually dry enough to 'coax' into a fire with patience. A better choice for tinder is cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly, or wood chips and paraffin balls. Most outdoor stores have easily packable 'tinder sticks/balls' for sale, but they're easy to make yourself.

    I didn't realize ammonia could burn, except when it gets in your eyes.:eek:
     

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