Comments on Stranded

It’s very interesting that just about everyone opted to go up the trail to the cabin. Remember in that scenario I said the trail was fairly steep. Going up a steep trail and even though it is semi packed, with each step you are going to sink into the snow a few inches. This is very demanding and inevitabley you are going to start to sweat. As the temperature drops with nightfall, each time you stop to rest you are going to get chilled. If you don’t make the cabin before you are entirely exhausted, your in big trouble. Except for the very fit I’am sorry to say this would be my last choice.

A lot of this depends on present conditions. If your getting cold and the snow is swirling about, the best thing to do is build a fire, build you a little nest and stay put. This is what is advised by most survival and search and rescue teams. The most important and critical thing to do is stay dry and warm. If you are having trouble getting a fire going, take a few small branches and dip them in the gas tank. In extreme conditions when every thing else fails, torch the entire sled and cover it with branches. So what if it’s a $10,000 new sled, what’s your life worth. If you don’t have any matches just pull the spark plug, sprinkle a little gas around it and pull the starting rope.

In my situation I opted to walk out even though it was fairly cold I was dressed warm, it was downhill and no swirling snow. I didn’t try to hurry and I knew that I could stop and build a fire if the need arose. I also chose this option because nobody knew I was up there and if I had gone to the cabin I might still be there.

There are a lot of variables in these situations but as I said before the most important thing is to keep your cool and stay dry and warm.


  1. I’m weighing in late on this, but for my money, I stay put. I have even more reasons other than those outlined by Al. First of all, as a forester, I can tell you that you don’t go anywhere near a USFS cabin. Due to massive budget cut-backs, it has probably fallen down. Seriously though, one big issue is that rescue crews may not be able to find you. Your snowsled and snowsled tracks will be much easier to find than your footprints. Second, as Al pointed out, the snowmachine is your greatest asset – especially if you’ve got a couple of MRE’s, a candle and a good book tucked in the rear compartment. Even if not, if you’ve got a Randall knife and half a head it becomes your own personal erector set. The windscreen could be used to melt snow or signal. The plastic skids on the skis could be removed for a makeshift snowshoe. The seat cover and padding could be insulating clothing to replace wet socks or headgear. Of course, I know Al was wearing a helmet. If you decided to walk, you might leave it behind due to weight, right? Bad move. Stay put and put that helmet on for warmth.

    And don’t put that helmet away when summer comes either. You might need it if you’re ever in the back of the boat when Buggerman is swinging some maribou up front.

  2. Ok, if we all go snowmobiling and break up into partnered teams, I get first dibbs on Buggerman. I just hope that he doesn’t plan on gutting me so that he can get warm in my hollowed-out carcase, and use my femer as a signaling whistle.

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