Survival Myths and Misconceptions

By Peter Kummerfeldt

Much of the information available to people who want to learn more about survival and surviving is based on material that is outdated. Unfortunately, early outdoor writers created a problem for those of us interested in learning how to survive a wilderness emergency. Many of their techniques and procedures that were once state-of-the-art are no longer valid, yet they are still commonly published in books and magazine articles. 

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Making Water Safe to Drink

By Peter Kummerfeldt

I often hear two statements made regarding drinking water from outdoor sources. Some claim “I never treat the water I drink in the outdoors” while others say “I never drink the water because it’s got bugs in it.” In the first instance not treating water increases the risk of gastrointestinal illness and in the second instance not knowing how to make the water safe to drink dramatically increases the risk of dehydration and the many other problems associated with becoming dehydrated in the field. 

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Cold Challenges

By Peter Kummerfeldt

The challenges of functioning effectively – and safely, in a cold environment are directly related to your ability to protect yourself from the ambient temperature, precipitation and wind. While accurate numbers are difficult to come by, it is estimated that about 600 people die each year from accidental hypothermia – many of these, about 50%, are elderly. As with heat challenges, the emphasis needs to be an awareness of the environmental threats, on early recognition of what is happening, minimizing the risk and then on effective treatment of hypothermia should it occur.

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Factoring in the Impact of Altitude for Coming to Estes Park

By Peter Kummerfeldt

A number of you have expressed concerns regarding the impact of the altitude when you travel to Estes Park later this year. The town sits at 7500 feet above sea level and should you wish to explore Rocky Mountain National Park you could find yourself on Trail Ridge Road crossing the Rocky Mountain divide at over 12,000 feet. The air gets a lot “thinner” up there! Not to worry – you can still attend the conference and have an enjoyable time if you attend to a couple of suggestions from those of us that live here.

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Wilderness Survival Tips

By Peter Kummerfeldt

Surviving a wilderness emergency begins with a recognition that somewhere, sometime you might have to spend an unplanned (not unexpected) night or two out in the backcountry. Unfortunately, the majority of people believe that it will always be someone else who is thrown from a horse; someone else who becomes the lone survivor of an aircraft accident; someone else whose car slides off of the road and they end up having to survive in the car until rescued; someone else who gets lost after taking the wrong turn in the trail when returning from an evening photo shoot. That “someone else” is in fact each one of us! Survival experiences can occur anywhere and often occur when we least expect to find ourselves in trouble – when we are least prepared to cope! 

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