Cold Weather Survival - Trevor Paetkau
By: Fatima Abdul-Kader
The article, “Cold Weather Survival” is about finding shelter/warmth, route finding, creating visibility, hydration and nutrition in a cold landscape and/or area. It is concise, short and has an acronym which caught my eye the first time I read through it. The article starts off with a short story and then further explains in detail about the five essentials needed to survive in winter.
The article regards a man by the name of Alex Theissen, who hikes six hours away from the trailhead only to become stuck in an area where many storms begin to approach. Anyone else would be panicking for the possibilities of losing their lives, but unlike others Theissen applies the S.T.O.P. method to his actions! Theissen sat, thought, observed and planned before realizing he needs to get below the timberline, create a shelter to insulate himself for warmth and protection against the elements. Theissen finds a root cavity and seals it off with snow while using evergreen boughs to insulate himself. Theissen stays put in his makeshift shelter until morning where he would walk towards the trailhead since he wasn't lost. If he happens to get lost, he would have had to position at ridgelines or open riverbanks at the treeline, and show visibility of his whereabouts by creating smudge fires, markers, and signals. You can find hydration in the snow because in the season of winter. Water can be found in the swamps, ponds and under the packs of snow of river bends and creeks. The storms die down at 3 a.m. that morning, and Theissen climbs out of his makeshift shelter to find the trailhead and makes it back to civilization alas, but hungry and tired!
In this article, the man named Theissen survives an exposure to the nature’s elements in winter! This article takes great affect towards me because of the amount of significant knowledge I obtained about a survival story, which may help me in the future if I was to ever hike or camp in the wilderness during the winter. This article made myself think that, if I were to ever be stuck in a similar situation, I would be freaking out and not have done the S.T.O.P. method. In fact, I might have tried escaping the storm by running for dear life. I have now learned that the S.T.O.P. method is of valuable information to use in this situation. S to sit, T to think, O to observe and P to plan. I would use this information to scan the surrounding area, see what could be used as a makeshift shelter, where it would be best to shelter myself, and in which direction the storm is headed so it won’t impact me as hard. I also learned that decisions may lead to risks, but also lead to even greater discoveries and experiences! I encourage you to read this if you have an interest in reading about issues in real life scenarios in the wilderness!
Paetkau, Trevor.“Cold Weather Survival.” sportandme. Copyright of Moraine Adventure, 2005.http://sportandme.com/docs/sports/outdoor_adventure/guide/cold_weather_survival.html