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COLD AND First-Aid


If part of the body is seriously frozen should it be thawed gradually or as quickly as possible? Medical doctors disagree on this, although at this writing opinion is shifting more & more towards speed.

Those favouring rapid thawing, as by soaking a foot in water as hot as ordinary could be borne comfortably, they believe that DANGER from gangrene becomes more of a possibility the longer the circulation is shut off.

They are also of the opinion that the greater length of time the part of the body is allowed to remain gravely frozen, the deeper the freezing may extend.

Those authorities favouring gradual thawing, by heat not much if any greater than normal body temperature opines that there is less hazard of permanent damages to severely frozen tissues if only moderate heat is applied gently, this is the only treatment necessary of course in mild cases.

If frostbite is suspected, don't attempt to keep moving if one of the party is suffering from frostbite.


Very cold air brought too rapidly into the lungs will CHILL your WHOLE BODY! & under extreme conditions may even damage the lung tissue & cause Internal Haemorrhage.

Once you have been thoroughly chilled (without any injury whatever) it takes "several hours" of warmth & rest to return your body to normal, regardless of superficial feelings of comfort.

When recovering from an emergency cold situation, don't venture out into an extreme cold too soon.

NEVER Use either alcohol or tobacco at Any altitude under conditions when the DANGER of frostbite is present or after it has occurred. They both lower body heat, by reducing vein flow.)

If you ever have been frostbitten, great care MUST BE taken to protect the once-injured area from further damage.

If you are frostbitten or otherwise injured in the field, keep calm.


1) Wrinkle face to stop stiff patches forming, pulling muscles in every direction. Exercise hands.

2) Watch yourself and others for patches of waxy reddening or blackened skin, especially faces, ears, hands.

3) AVOID tight clothing which will reduce circulation.

4) Dress inside warmth of sleeping bag if you have one.

5) NEVER go out without adequate clothing, however briefly. AVOID getting clothing wet, through sweat or water. Dry it as soon as possible if this happens.

6) Knock snow off before entering shelter or leave outer clothing at entrance. Snow will melt in warmth giving you more clothing to dry.

7) Wear gloves and keep them dry.

NEVER touch metal bare-hand.

8) AVOID spilling petrol on bare flesh. In sub-zero temperature it will freeze almost at once and does even more damage than water because of its lower melting point.

9) Be especially careful if you have been working hard and are fatigued. If you are sick! Rest!


Panic or fear will result in perspiration, which will in turn evaporate causing further chilling that will intensify the crisis & aggravate the injury itself. (Vicious circle)


Don't try to rewarm frostbite on trail, best to make camp.


Protect the eyes with goggles or a strip of cloth or bark with narrow slits cut for eyes. The intensity of the sun's rays, reflected by snow, can cause snow blindness. Blacken beneath the eyes with charcoal to reduce glare further.


This painful and watery inflammation of the eyes results from overexposure to certain light rays particularly when these are so diffused by water particles frozen or otherwise that they seem to strike the eyeball from every direction. Sand can also cause it.


Consist to AVOID ALL sunlight as possible. Eyes MUST BE bandaged in case of severe irritation, since the closed eyelids don't afford sufficient protection.

This is true even in a tent as those who have collected a sunburn through a canvas could tell. Some find that cold compress of weak tea leaves soothing. This is where the antiseptic, anaesthetic eye ointment suggested for the f-aid kit really becomes appreciated.


In Arctic, the sun can burn your skin just as much by sunny day than when it is cloudy. It is a constant DANGER. To rub yourselves with fat helps to prevent sunburn.

A strong beard protects your face from sun rays. If you suffer from sunburn apply animal fat & stay in the shadow


Under the cold effect, the blood becomes more fluid and coagulates more slowly, so a lost of blood that is too abundant is very DANGEROUS.

One MUST know how to tighten a bandage just enough to stop any haemorrhage & to loosen it when it slows down.

If possible keep the body warm. When the haemorrhage persists elevate the wounded member and with the help of compress apply a direct pressure on the wound. In case of serious haemorrhage of an arm or leg, apply a garrotte.

This MUST BE maintained in place even while risking frostbite & lost of a member. When it's impossible to replace lost blood it is better to loose a limb than loose your life.


In Arctic as any other regions, hygiene stays ESSENTIAL. Try to stay clean. If it is not possible to take a bath, wash at least your hands, under arm's pit, crotch and the feet. Every night before sleeping, remove your shoes, & dry your feet and massage them.

Don't keep wet sock on during the night. Suspend your shoes near the fire & your socks, or fill them with dry moss or dry grass and place them inside your shirt, they will dry up with your body heat

When you go for a shit, don't be afraid to expose your ass at the cold for a short instant, and bury your excrements far from you and away from any water sources.


Frostbite, hypothermia and snow blindness are the main hazards while efforts to keep warm and exclude draughts can lead to lack of oxygen and carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is easy to withdraw from reality, **layered in clothing and with the head wrapped in a hood. Thinking can become sluggish and obvious things are overlooked. Keep "switching on".

Keep active-but AVOID fatigue and conserve energy for USEFUL tasks. Sleep as much as possible- the cold will wake you before you freeze unless you are completely exhausted and cannot regenerate the heat you lose to air.

Don't let the cold demoralize you. Think up ways to improve the shelter, how to make a better pair of gloves, for instance. Exercise fingers & toes to improve circulation.

Don't put off defecation -- constipation is often brought on the way. Do try to time it conveniently before leaving your shelter so that you can take waste out with you.


It is said that the sleeping hours before midnight count for double time. It is absolutely exact. Not because those hours have any magical properties but because those who go to bed late add to the normal fatigue, this is what doctors call over fatigue.


Rubber elastic of different size to attach numerous things & bags, tent, & for wound stopping haemorrhage slow pressure garrotte.


Now that you know that you lose 1/3 of your body heat by the head you MUST also know that you LOOSE 50% of your head heat by the nose. Oooppps!

So cover your nose and you will really feel the difference. Just having anything like a mitten or a piece of paper or cardboard or plastic in front of your nose will cut off the wind and keep your warmth under the most severe cold and conditions. Believe you me I know since I suffer from hypothermia easily.

This also applies to heat, if you cover up your nose you will feel the heat in much less fashion thus less sweating and better survival.


As in any other survival conditions, once one realizes, though only subconsciously that circumstances are such that he cannot afford to have an accident!!!

The probabilities shift markedly against any mishap befalling him and nowhere are this more apparent than under the drastic laws of the wild.



REMEMBER again, in order to AVOID freezing, one MUST cover his head, even cover your forehead.



Weighing ALWAYS the possible loss against the potential gain, and going about life with as wide a safety margin as practical.

Nothing is so much feared as fear but as HD Thoreau adds: A live dog is preferable to a dead lion. A walking stick is your best companion under all climate.

C.O.L.D. The key to keeping WARM!:

Keep it- C- lean- Dirt & grease block air spaces

AVOID- O- ver heating - Ventilate

Wear it- L- oose - Allow air to circulate

Keep it- D- ry - Outside & inside.


Beside wearing a hat that keeps 1/3 of your heat and wearing newspaper sole for your shoes, you might want to consider these other tricks.

Should you have only a shirt or T-shirt and a light or cheap jacket or sweater, by wearing a cheap nylon, plastic, polyester coat under your coat or jacket as a wind breaker and air insulator.

Giving you this way as much as 70- to 90% more heat and wind or cold protection. Wear this in mind!


Wearing 2 woolen socks or 2 sweaters is warmer than only 1 because of the isolation air pocket and electrical magnetic field created by the wool. Ex: 2 light wool sweater of 4 oz would be warmer even "warm-her" than a 12 oz. sweater!.


Finish, no more, just simply put newspaper folded 4 times in your shoes to absorb the humidity that causes cold feet.

Just MAKE SURE you change this new sole once a day, if really in a damp area or in and out of cold and hot place ex: taxi, delivery etc. you should change them twice a day.


Finally after years of searching, since I get cold hands easy, I found the obvious answer, oven mitten. Yes, the big one we usually buy in food store, my reasoning was that if they were that good for hot maybe they would be good too for cold and it was true, now all I have to add into them is a small loose pair of glove.


Most of this can be cut down a lot if the head is covered. WE LOOSE 1/3 OF OUR HEAT THROUGH THE HEAD.

The new Mummy type of full face head cover down filled is the best one around it covers your nose etc. leaving only 2 big holes for the eyes.




It sounds strange but we have to learn to breathe properly.


A breathing control is aimed towards our ways to Exhale and Not about inhaling.






Opera singers, swimmers and runners know this trick. For example if you get into a cold shower, you have the tendency to breathe faster and to tense your muscles that only aggravate your torture.

If on the other hand you try to exhale slowly and regularly you will be much surprised to notice the Little effect that this cold water has upon you.

This is because a Slow Exhalation helps your body to adapt itself to this change of cold water..


An attentive control on your respiration and especially of your timing contributes to your stress control in any moments of tension, stress or #contrainte#. Most of us breathe only half way.

We breathe incorrectly since we do not have much choice but where we make the mistake is we do not exhale properly, meaning that we do not do it deeply enough. Thus we often sigh which is a sign warning us of a Need for a Deep Exhalation.

A sigh is a natural mean used by our body to exhale completely once we have neglected to do so under stress. A sigh is a natural mean used by our body to exhale completely once we have neglected to do so under Stress.

Just REMEMBER in your past when there was a deep stress and after that moment was over you felt the deer need for a full exhalation.

So one MUST learn to sigh methodically. Any blockage brought to your breathing system provokes deep pains! So any amelioration will be beneficial to your body and mind.

The more one exhale air the more one is able to inhale. So the increasing of your capacity is the goal of any respiratory discipline.

To take a conscious hold of your exhalation is the # 1 factor. What we MUST strive for is to make it a habit.




You will thus facilitate the climbing of a long stair. Exercise yourself to breathe in during 2 steps and to exhale during the next 2 steps. 2 IN 2 OUT DEEPLY.


STRESS CONTROL: (harsh & boorringg)

In any Harsh or Boring circumstances where Stress puts a grip on you, Exhale Slowly ; thus you will Recharge your Nervous System. Hummm!


To help you along in this new technique, try reading out loud is a good exercise. Take an article and read on one breath as much as you can without effort.

Do this a dozen time the first day. Count the words and start over the next day, this way you can measure your improvement.

Another exercise is to count. Sit down comfortably, your back straight, inhale slowly and regularly counting to 4, pause for 1 second then exhale till you reach 12, the next time inhale till 5 and exhale till 15.

Keep it up this way and measure your progress. Once you have reached 21 you will notice that the fact of humming a song will help you enormously in limiting the quantity of air you exhale.

These exercises will bring much good to your overall well being and will change many of your regular habits.

A conscious breathing also brings a conscious acting or behaving. You will notice that it is impossible to slump in a coach and still breathe effectively.

All one has to do is to get his shoulder blades as close together as possible to feel your lungs getting to work at their best.

After a while these exercises will become second nature for an overall better well being. It could even help you cutting down on smoking by reducing the stress overhaul! Just REMEMBER: " DEEP 6 "


The triangulation points to Fight cold. A mitten with an inside normal work glove put over your nose and mouth is good protection even through a 35 mph. wind which at 0 is = minus 47.




Drink whenever you are thirsty. No matter the quantity of water you may have, small or big. Rationing will not help.

The great DANGER is that the average man does not drink enough water. His thirst is often slaked before the water budget is balanced again.

This observation was made by American doctors in the last few years at various bases in the Arctic and Antarctic.

The soldiers stationed there had no thirst because of the cold climate and therefore drank little, as a result their bodies suffered from progressive dehydration. The fact was discovered because men often complain of CONTINUAL TIREDNESS.

Since then they have been URGED to drink a certain amount of water every meal, and they soon felt much better.



During regular stops for rest, get in a sheltered spot, pair off and sit back to back on packs with a ground sheet around each pair. This back to back method furnishes a good deal of warmth.


If feet are wet from perspiration or melting snow, socks, insoles MUST BE changed IMMEDIATELY. This can be done even in severe weather if exposure to wind is avoided.

If frostbite is suspected see *f/aid. Don't attempt to keep moving if one of the party is suffering from frostbite.


Severe cold and harsh winds can freeze unprotected flesh in minutes. Protect the whole body, hands and feet.

Wear a hood. It should have a drawstring so that it can partly cover the face. Fur trimming will prevent moisture in the breath freezing on the face and injuring the skin.

Outer garments should be windproof, with a close enough weave to prevent snow compacting, but porous enough to allow water vapours to escape! But NOT WATERPROOF!

They would create condensation inside. Under layers should trap air to provide heat insulation. Skins make ideal outer clothing.

Openings allow heat to escape, movement can drive air out through them. If clothing has no draw strings, tie something around sleeves above cuffs, tuck trousers into socks or boots.

If you begin to sweat loosen some closures (collars, cuffs). If still too warm remove a layer. Do so when doing jobs like chopping wood or shelter building.

Only a plane crash or forced landing is likely to leave someone in a polar region unequipped. Try to improvise suitable clothing before leaving the plane.


It does not absorb water & is warm even when damp. Space between the knit traps body heat. It is best for inner garments.

Cotton acts like a wick, absorbing moisture. When wet it can lose heat 240 times faster than when dry.


Mukluks, boots of waterproof canvas with a rubber sole that comes up to the caulk and with a drawstring to adjust fitting are IDEAL.

Ideally they should have an insulated liner. Insulate feet with 3 pairs of socks, graded in size to fit over each other and not wrinkle.


Mukluk with felt boots inside & 2 pair of wool socks. As sole you can use newspaper if you have them they are excellent to draw moisture that is the main cause for cold feet.

Hay can & was also used as insulant MAKE SURE you change it often, for once it becomes damp then it looses its insulating qualities.

If necessary, improvise foot covering with several layers of fabric. Canvas seat covers can make improvised boots.

Trench-foot can develop when the feet are immersed in water for long periods, as in the boggy tundra during the summer months.


Eskimos have used hay for a long time as a mean to isolate their boots during winter months, and many a white man has had frozen feet for not knowing this simple trick.

Also you MUST REMEMBER to change that hay every day if you want to keep the insulating power.



Using moss in your boots will act as sponge. Also hot sands from your fire camp, but use either a can or gloves to AVOID getting burned.

Once your sand is cooled off then start the process once more the total time needed is about 1 hour.

For the winter, you can use the sand trick again if you have kept some sand in a bag for that purpose or fill your boots with snow and press it down real tight.

Snow will act as sponge, then empty your boots and leave them close to the fire but NEVER too close.

As for wet clothes, throw them on a rope and once it has become stiff you beat the hell out of it to help it dry off.


REMEMBER that 3 light shirts are warmer than one thick one.

And you can also adapt yourself better to change in weather conditions with 3 shirts than with one thick one.

Jeans maybe cool in town but of little use in survival being too tight if anything the woolen pants are far better & far warmer EVEN WET.

The more the cotton is wet the less it isolates against cold. Don't forget to keep warm hand and feet and the overall body that a hat is your best companion since you lose 1/3 heat by the head.


Since cold or heat makes you use a lot of energy, as soon as you feel you are getting chilled or transpire then take off or add some clothing. Don't wait till the situation is intolerable.


The caribou skin and fur are the best survival suit to find far above the modern tech. items, where zippers get jammed. So if you have the chance to find one then go for it but REMEMBER how to keep it in good shape?

Which is to leave in the cold without any moisture or snow on it that would dampen and ruin the suit, so don't bring it into a warm house, keep it cool.


The more perishable furs are under survival conditions best used for warmth when sandwiched within protective coverings.

One way that Northern Indians accomplish this today is by covering a piece of burlap or other material with skins of the varying hare, overlapping them like shingles and sewing them in place. The layer is usually later covered with a second section of fabric to form a blanket.

Another method: also still employed beneath the Northern Lights, is commenced by cutting and swing the skins together in long ribbons.

These strips are sometimes loosely woven as is, while on other occasions they are first given body by being wound flatly around and around a leather thong that the maker may know as #babiche# or shaganappie.

In either event, the final slackly interlaced robe is commonly basted between 2 outer coverings, on the weather side a husky section of water repellent canvas perhaps & on the other a thin woollen blanket.


1) Dress intelligently to maintain general body warmth. In cold icy, windy weather, don't forget to protect your face, head, neck adequately.

Enormous amount of body heat can be loss through these often neglected parts of the body, despite ample protection everywhere else.

You lose in fact 35% of heat through your head if uncovered. This is a well know fact by all Eskimos & scientists who have studied this fact and backed it up. So cover up & keep warm.

2) Eat plenty of the right sort of appetizing food to produce maximum output of body heat.

Diet in cold weather at low altitude should tend heavily toward fat, with carbohydrate next & protein least important. As altitude increase above 10,000 feet, carbohydrates are most important & protein least.

Experiment with fats. If members or the party digest them readily they are excellent but don't count on everyone liking them at high altitude. (With cold, FAT IS BEAUTIFUL!)

3) Don't climb under too extreme weather conditions, particularly at high altitudes on exposed terrain. Don't get too early a start in cold weather. WHY SHOULD YOU!

Use the configuration of the mountain to help you find maximum shelter & maximum warmth from the sun. In short use your head??? Use it more & more as you climb higher.


Particularly on the hands & feet. Socks & boots should fit snugly, with NO points of tightness. In putting on socks & boots carefully eliminate all wrinkles in socks. Don't use old matted insoles.

5) AVOID PERSPIRATION under conditions of extreme cold. Wear clothing that ventilates adequately. If you still perspire, remove some of your clothing or slow down.

Keep hand and feet dry. Even with vapour barrier boots, you MUST NOT permit to get your socks too wet.

All types of boots MUST BE treated with great care "during period of inactivity" after exercise has resulted in damp socks or insoles."

6) Wear mittens instead of gloves in extreme cold except for specialised work such as photography or surveying. In such cases wear a mitten on one hand & a glove temporarily on the other, if possible.

If bare finger is required use silk or rayon gloves or cover with adhesives all metal parts frequently touched.

7) ALWAYS BE CAREFUL while loading cameras, taking pictures or handling stoves & fuel.

REMEMBER that the freezing point of gasoline is -70F & its rapid evaporation as well as its extreme chill makes it Very DANGEROUS.

NEVER touch metal objects with bare hands in extreme cold--or even in moderate cold when your hands are moist.

8) Mitten-shells & gloves to be worn in extreme cold should ALWAYS be made of soft, flexible dry-tanned deer-skin, caribou, moose, elk, or WOOL, not horse-hide that dries out very stiff after wetting. Removable mittens inserts or glove-linings should be made of soft wool.

NEVER use oiled or greased leather gloves or boots or clothing in cold weather operations.

Under many conditions it is VERY WISE to tie your mittens together on a string hanged around your neck or to tie them to the ends of your parka sleeves. = NO LOST!

9) ALWAYS carry Extra socks, mittens & insoles in your pack.

10) Keep socks clean at least those you wear close to the skin. The use of light, clean, smooth socks next to the skin, followed by 1 or 2 heavier outer pairs is a VERY good practice.

11) Keep toenails and fingernails trimmed to reasonable length.

12) Don't wash your hands, face or feet too thoroughly or too frequently when living under rough weather conditions, tough weather beaten face & hands, kept reasonably clean, resist frostbite most effectively.

13) Constant use of wet socks in any type of boots will soften your skin feet & make the skin more tender, greatly lower resistance to cold & simultaneously increase the DANGER of other foot injury such as blistering.

14) Wind & high altitude should ALWAYS be approached with Great Respect. Either of them makes otherwise moderate conditions more DANGEROUS.

You have to take in consideration wind-chill factor. Both together do produce dramatic results when combined with cold Ex: 32F with wind 10 miles = near 5F. The more wind = more DANGER.

15) Don't exercise too strenuously in extreme cold. Particularly at high altitude where exertion result in panting or very deep breathing


Very cold air brought too rapidly into the lungs will CHILL your WHOLE BODY! & under extreme conditions may even damage the lung tissue & cause Internal Haemorrhage.

16) Once you have been thoroughly chilled (without any injury whatever) it takes "several hours" of warmth & rest to return your body to normal, regardless of superficial feelings of comfort.

When recovering from an emergency cold situation, don't venture out into an extreme cold too soon.

17) Don't smoke or use alcohol even in moderation in high altitude.

NEVER Use either alcohol or tobacco at Any altitude under conditions when the DANGER of frostbite is present or After it has occurred --(they both lower body heat, by reducing vein flow).

18) If you ever have been frostbitten, great care MUST BE taken to protect the once-injured area from further damage.

19) Much outdoor work in really cold weather cannot possibly be performed in warmth & comfort. Learn carefully how cold you can get while still working safely. Then NEVER exceed the limit.

20) If you are frostbitten or otherwise injured in the field, Keep Calm.


Panic or fear will result in perspiration, which will in turn evaporate causing further chilling that will intensify the crisis & aggravate the injury itself. (Vicious circle)

21) ALWAYS keep your tetanus boosters up to date. They may give you added protection in the event of frostbite or any other injury in the field.


23) The buddy system of constantly watching the faces of your partners is the best way to check up for frostbite before it's too late. When in doubt check it before it's too late.

24) Don't try to rewarm frostbite on trail, best to make camp.

25) Dress your feet for the temperature where they are, not where your head is.

Because there is often a Very great difference of temperature beneath deep snow & that one on surface. Ex. +3C. on surface & -14C. ONLY 1 foot below the surface.

See your thermometer to check it up. For once use your feet not your head???


Foam used to isolate houses, the hard type, take a chunk hand size to feel comfortable when your hand is closed and stick this hand warmer inside your coat pocket.

They will keep your hand warm as anything on the market, or insert them inside your mittens, they are light and take little space yet surprisingly keeping really your hands REAL WARM.

If you sit on them (2 handfuls) you will break ground point thus you don't feel the cold and it keep your ass REAL WARM, too. Of course a bigger piece would be wiser and more comfy but the hands first have to be warmed up.


A few years ago came out a new hand warmer that is usually found in any good hardware stores in Canada or US and probably in many other countries too. Cheap to buy and most efficient for all the body as well.

This survival hand warmer is kept in velvet casing of an oval shape. Inside this casing is a lining made of asbestos. In it there is a long grey charcoal which one lights up with a match or lighter.

Let the charcoal burn for a minute or two then insert it in the casing and close it. (Bring 2 of them along)

Very soon you will begin to feel the heat. In fact it gets so hot that as a caution you should never leave the casing directly on your body, it will burn you. Those charcoals will last around 7 hours giving you really strong heat..

A pack of those charcoals should be brought along, they are light but easy to break off, so BE CAREFUL and wrap them well or find a plastic container that would house them well.

Should your need of heat be over with, all you have to do is to wet the tip of the charcoal to shut it off. If you need it later just relight it as usual.

One word of advice about the casing, you will notice that each end has a tiny hole through which air circulates, MAKE SURE that these holes are not plugged, otherwise the smouldering charcoal will die off quickly.

All you have to do is to use any metallic object to dig the hole deeper. This usually only happens once with brand new hand warmer.


One tool to have within easy reach during ice travel is a sheath knife, particularly when other safeguards such as a pole is lacking and on particularly DANGEROUS stretches, you too may want to hold this ready in a hand.

Then if you do go through, you'll have the immediate chance to drive the point into solid ice and with its aid to roll yourselves out and away from DANGER.*

Another method in cold weather of then obtaining traction is; as quick as thought to reach out to the fullest extent of your arms and to bring down wet sleeves and gloves against firm ice, where if temperature is low enough, they will almost instantly freeze.

If weather conditions are more temperate, you may have to break away thin ice with your hands so as to reach a surface strong enough to hold your full weight.

It is usually possible in the meantime to support yourself by resting a hand or arm flatly on fragile ice.

Then if there seems to be no better way, get as much as of your arms as you can over the edge, bring your body as nearly horizontal as it is possible with the helps perhaps of a swimming motion with the feet and get a hold over and roll toward safety.


Upon breaking through ice into water & quickly scrambling out again, as occurs not infrequently during travel in the whitened wilderness, it is usually advantageous to roll at once in preferably soft and fluffy snow.

If the clothing is somewhat water repellent, the snow will blot up much of the moisture before it can reach the body. Any remaining dampness will in very cold weather freeze almost IMMEDIATELY.

One advantage of this will be that the resulting sheath of ice will act as a windbreak.

Among the disadvantages will be the weight thus added. Another will be that this ice, depending on its thickness can turn the garments into something not too gently resembling an armour.

Most hazardous will be the clothing's loosing part or most of its ability to keep the body warm.

If a boot becomes immersed in overflow as it is a common error, you often can step into a snow bank quickly enough that sufficient water will be absorbed to prevent any from penetrating to the foot.


We usually proceed on ice as we do when travelling anywhere in the wilderness; with the assumption, in other word that ice may give away beneath us at any moment.

The result is that if we do get wet, this does not usually extend beyond the outer clothing except perhaps where moisture may run down into the footwear.

You MUST then at least change your stockings if you can. Otherwise you squeeze these as dry as possible, pour and wipe away perhaps with dry moss any water that is inside the boots.

Warm the feet if necessary against some other portion of the body dress & continue as normally.

Suppose you become thoroughly drenched? Then roll as quickly as you can in the most absorbent snow close at hand.

But lets suppose that even this action is not sufficient. If extra clothing is available & if the weather is not too cold, you may be able to get the wet garments off before they freeze.

Some of them clothes, especially if you have friend to help, you can squeeze them reasonably dry & put them back on. If alone in extreme cold, then it will be SAFER to build a fire if possible.

Note: This may sound crazy, but if the temperature is minus 10F and lower one can roll naked in the snow as if in hot sands.

This cold weather kills dampness, and one can survive and warm up better than staying in wet clothes. Above minus 10F it is to (warm-cold). Once warmed-up get the fire going fast.

If you are going to build a fire, attend to this IMMEDIATELY before your hands become too numb.

Once the fire is blazing and with plenty of fuel at hand, take your time, dry out thoroughly the quickest and most comfortably way to do this may be with the clothes on. Or if you prefer to rig a wind breaker employing the drying garments themselves.

Both ways were tried, but the most agreeable is if you happen to have a light eiderdown in you pack to put on while getting your other garments dried up.

It is a slow and prolonged job for one alone to dry an outfit by an open campfire when temperatures are much below zero.

The DANGER to BEWARE is to damage necessary gear by attempting to complete the chore too rapidly.

If you ever fall in icy water you MUST remedy to it in all possible means, you dispose of 30 minutes before total cooling of your body organism, it is lethal.

Clothes that wet by water or perspiration provoke enormous lost of heat, so when you sweat, loosen your clothes to allow the sweat to come off.

If your clothes become wet and harden under the cold beat them with a stick.

REMEMBER to protect all extremities of your body, hand, feet, head, ears and nose lets escape 1/3 of your heat.


You will be well advised during EXTREMELY severe weather to get into a shelter or a sort & to lie down beside a good fire. If you have a blanket or warm sleeping bag it will be prudent to do the same even if you have no means to do a fire.

Individual travelling in motor vehicle should do the same but if the motor is still able to run to warm you up.

Don't forget to ventilate the car otherwise you risk monoxide carbon POISONING which tasteless, colourless, odourless.

Don't leave your shelter or car because of starvation fear, after all a day or 2 without food will not kill any of us. Note: The most common cause of accidental death in the North is not freezing but FIRE!

Anyone not sure of the best procedure in any emergency will probably do better to let common sense be his determinant rather than follow blindly some unreasonable procedure about which he may have heard.


That anyone caught in a snow slide has a good chance to walk away from it is certain, especially if he can keep on top of the swirling & billowing avalanche.

One way to do this is by a swimming motion. The backstroke is particularly efficacious if it can be managed, has saved numerous lives in such emergencies.

As the snow starts to cover you up, place your hands above your head, this way you will be able to manoeuvre and swim.


Snow slides are most frequent in early Spring, when snow thaws or after a heavy snow storm.

When travelling in a region that is likely to have them, don't stay in the valley. Stay away from the foot of the slope but if you MUST cross that flank, do it at the highest possible point. Upon climbing a slope; do it vertically.

All slopes with an angle of 20 degree and more present a snow slide DANGER. So after a snowstorm AVOID ALL #versant# that are steeped.


Snow pushed by wind will form projection ledge that topples the mountain peak or crests adding to the DANGERS of mountain regions. Those projections will not carry your weight & can cause snow slide.

It is possible to detect them while against the wind but not otherwise, so follow the ridge but walk as far or as low as possible from that cornice.


Small streams fed by thawing water sometimes form muddy sand bank, so before adventuring upon wet sand, probe it.

One occasionally finds DANGEROUS quagmires where mud decaying with vegetation or both are mixed with water in proportions not solid enough to support our weight.

The gravity is assisted by anywise struggling, If you try to pull one of two imprisoned legs loose while taking all the resulting pressure on the other legs loose, the action will of course force this leg deeper.

At the worst when you get very far into the mire your body will probably be lighter than the semisolid it displaces, & you will stop sinking.

You will not go deeper, that is unless your worm and twist & shout your way down, trying ineffectually to get away.

The thing to do, therefore is to present as much body area to the surface of the mire as may be necessary and to do this with the utmost promptness.

A horse is caught quickly for example because of the smallness of its feet, where a moose of similar weight will walk across the same quagmire without difficulty because the way its hoofs are spread apart to present a larger surface.

The human foot is also a comparatively small area pressed downward by a correspondingly heavy weight. If when you feel the instability you can get to solid land by running, that will be the end of the matter.

If you can not do this, fall to your knees, for you will generally be able to make it that way.

If you are still sinking, look around quickly to see if there is not some branches or bush you can grab. Or you may have a pack or a coat to help support your weight.

If not, flatten out on your stomach with your limbs as far apart as possible & crawl. You may have to do this anyway.

One finds quagmires in all sorts of country. Areas where water remains on the surface and particularly where water has so lain may be treacherous.

We should watch out for tides, flats, swamps, marshes, old water holes that tremble beneath a topping of dried mud, & certainly for muskegs.


Similar to quagmire, being sand that is suspended in water. It may drop you a whole lot more quickly but methods of extracting are the same.

However you don't have much time, and you are in more potential DANGER unless you keep your head.???

Unless there is help nearby or there is some support to grasp you may be able to throw yourselves IMMEDIATELY full length or either crawl or swim free.

You may have to duck under water to free your feet, digging around with the hands & perhaps quickly sacrificing footwear.

You will want to AVOID as much as possible any sudden and abrupt motions that would only shove you deeper.

Rest but do not ever give up, for quicksand & quagmires do occupy a hole no larger around than a sofa or a large chair.

Another inch or two of progress may very well bring your fingers either to solidness or to where you can loop over a bush a belt or perhaps a rope made of clothing

If you can reach where vegetation is growing, you will almost certainly find support to allow you to get loose from this weird sinking sofa.


In the Arctic the summer temperature can exceed 18C except on iceberg and frozen seas. In winter it can reach -55C and Max. 0C. The subarctic zone is much more difficult than the Arctic.

Summers are very short up to 32C but the winters are colder than all northern atmosphere from -50 to -60C. in North America & colder in Siberia. (Vodka is used as antifreeze!) (You should see my wipers work hic!)

When the temperature is less cold but with great winds, the body organism cools much faster than at lower temp with no wind.

In those extreme temperature zones the chances of survival are still much better than anyone believes.

A proper attitude and some elementary precautions are necessary survival factors.

The natives who are supposed to be less civilized than us have still survived for thousands of years.

Learn to work in concert with nature rather than against it. To protect against the cold ALWAYS stays a constant and immediate problem thus one MUST make fire and built shelter.**


Before you leave your shack MAKE SURE that you prepare a new fire ready to go. Preparing carefully a perfect pile of burning material so that only one match would be needed to light the fire.

This is a good thing when you come back but one day this precaution may save your life depending on one match and a fire ready to be kindle.



It's found in the dead pitch-filled evergreen branches.


The temptation to stay in good country as long as it last is inevitable and in the Northwest woods where white birch trees are plentiful, a birch bark torch will often bring you safe and sound back to camp.

Strip a piece of birch bark a foot wide and about 3 feet long from the tree. Fold this in 3 folds lengthwise making a three-fold strip about 4 inches by 3 feet.

Split one end of a 3 foot pole for carrying. The split of the pole engaging the bark strip about 8 inches from one end and keeping it from unfolding. Light the short 8 inches end.

If you want more light turn the lighted end downward and the fire will burn up on the bark.

If it burns too fast turn the burning end upward. As the bark is consumed pull more of it through the split in the stick handle.

Such a strip will last 15 to 20 minutes and will light all the ground, trees and bushes within about 20 feet. When the bark is about half consumed look for another tree to start over again.


Keep points & edges of such tools strapped whenever feasible within sufficiently heavy sheath that are adequately secured as by copper rivets.

Don't take chances. Also loads of accidents come from tools that are not sharpen properly or enough, an axe can deflect on wood & still cut you badly.


You may be lucky to have dogs that you will use to drag your toboggan etc. Just MAKE SURE that they know You are the boss. These dogs are not house pets.

Hit them with your boots and yell at them so that they know that you are the master and the meanest son of a bitch around. If you don't intervene when they fight one another, they will kill one another.

After a long time without a good run and you are now ready to go, let them run crazy since they will not obey otherwise any crazy idea like let stop for a rest.

Their firsts go is like a mad run then they settle into a powerful run. Don't push your chance by trying to make them stop not before a good while.


During regular stops for rest, get in a sheltered spot, pair off and sit back to back on packs with a ground sheet around each pair. This back to back method furnishes a good deal of warmth.


Look for natural shelter you can improve on, but AVOID the Lee* side of cliffs where snow could drift and bury your shelter, or sites where avalanche or rock fall is likely.

AVOID snow laden trees the weight could bring down frozen branches-unless the lower boughs are supported on the snow. Then there may be a space beneath the branch that will provide a ready made shelter.


Don't block every hole to keep out draughts. You MUST HAVE ventilation especially if burning a fire inside your shelter. Otherwise you may asphyxiate.


If you are in the wild North and a storm hits you and that you have a tent but you also happen to be near a snow bank, forget your tent since the nylon is not as good to isolate you from the cold as the snow.

Better to use your tent over the hole of your snow dug out MAKING SURE that you fix it in the snow as well.

In the snow bank that often accumulates up to 9 feet deep you will first remove the top snow layer where you want to dig your hole using either a shovel or your snow shoes to do this.

Then you will dig a tunnel going toward the deepest part of the bank about 3 feet deep at which end you make it about 3 feet wide and 3 feet high and 6 to 7 feet long.

You will reinforce the entrance using block of snow and don't forget to make a ventilation hole otherwise you will suffocate. To do this hole use any branch.

Once the hole is dug out and the opening has been secured and cover over by your tent then you can crawl in and go to sleep.

The storm may rage easily for 2 to 3 days. To get a better idea about this emergency igloo see file igloo**


A pile of snow shovelled with snow shoes about 5 X 12 feet that you stamp on it and let it sit for 1/2 hour at least.

Then you can gently start digging in your igloo, using a small stick at times to know you don't dig up to much & make it collapse.

This tunnel is done on both sides then once you meet you can enlarge it to the right or left then block one end. It will be quite warm for 5 persons with one candle up to + 5 Celsius when outside is - 12.


You learn how to build a shelter from soft deep snow, by tramping the snow evenly with snowshoes & allow it to freeze overnight before cutting into blocks.

I have seen another method, using your snow shoes as a shovel, you make a snow bank about 4 feet high, then you dig under a tunnel and form an igloo, by removing the excess of snow.*



1) Choose a nice place with a lot of burning wood nearby. Use evergreen to put at the bottom under your tent and to cut wind around it.

MAKE SURE you are sheltered from the wind. If you have to carry a heavy load then use a toboggan to help along.

2) Once you have chosen the spot tramp down a wide surface by going around in circle with your snowshoes at least 6 times and 4 more times around where you will pitch your tent. The area you will tramp should be about 4 times the tent size.

3) Built your fire near your tent but MAKE SURE that the smoke goes away from it.

To build a fire in the snow, first built a bottom using some big pieces of logs. Some rotten wood that brakes easily when you hit it makes a good underlay.

Make it about 2 to 3 feet in diameter using 5 to 6 pieces about 2 to 3 feet long should do nicely.

Now built your fire upon this layer and make it big enough right away since a small fire is not practical in winter.

Going down by melting its surrounding & requiring constant refuelling and gives little heat unless you are very close.

4) As for the bottom layer of evergreen under your tent make it at least 4 to 6 inches thick and a little wider than your tent area.

And MAKE SURE you have an evergreen kind of floor mat in front of your tent door so as to be able to wipe out the snow excess from entering the tent when you walk in.

5) Your pickets will be replaced by branches 2 to 3 feet long & well *dogged in the snow to prevent trouble if a storm shows up.

6) Inside your tent a good evergreen mattress will isolate you MAKE SURE it is thick enough at least 4 inches.


They are deadly DANGEROUS for Winter use since they keep the condensation in the bag and the 3 or 4th day they become ice block, MAKE SURE you don't use them for winter unless in house.


A damp sleeping bag can be dried in winter without a fire. Let it freeze stiff outside the tent, then knock off the frost and ice crystals with a stick.


From Eskimos we learn much although they don't have universities and books what follows comes from long time experiences.


If you have captured some seals then use their skins cut in long wide strips that you will use to enrol around salmons that has been laid in lengthwise inside your skins.

Note that the skins strips have been water soaked before rolling the salmons into them.

Next you put these bundles outside and wait till the cold freezes them solid. Now using straps of some kind to assemble the skins in a sleigh form to carry yourself and luggage and it will last as long as the cold temperature stays down.

Now don't forget the dog food if you intend to use them to drag your sleigh.

At the end of your trip, just dismantle the sleigh, give the used skins to the dog and eat the salmons. A sleigh is about 12 to 18 feet long.

Should you be so lucky to find an Eskimo sleigh with its steel skates which are about 6 to 8 inches high you will notice that the steel does not slide on the snow since it sticks to the steel in patches.

As a remedy the Eskimo takes the mud that he has gathered from the bottom of summer lakes and makes it boil over an oil lamp.

He then spreads it all boiling hot on the skates # en une couche uniforme# that freezes IMMEDIATELY. Then he fills his mouth with water that he vaporizes on a square piece of bear fur.

The water freezes IMMEDIATELY but without waiting he passes over the sleigh skates as a quick polish of a kind.

He repeats this last procedure a few times and once it's done, you can move the sleigh by just pushing it with your fingers.


One of the most USEFUL item found in winter camping is the Swedish saw which will do twice the work with 1/2 of the effort. Saving energy is ESSENTIAL in survival. It will cut readily regardless of the frost in the wood.


Here is the true story of 2 boys and how they made friend with the cold winter. An old Indian had given them the challenge saying that they had treated the cold wind as an enemy instead of a friend

He told them to undress then gave them each a pair of shorts cut above the knees and allowed them to keep their shoes but no shirt and to stay bare chest.

He opened the cabin door and told them to go home following the snow trail as usual, a 15km stretch long.

They left the warm cabin for the snow trail. At first the beauty of the scenery kept them literally warm but soon the cold wind caught up to them when they least expected it.

Then they started to shiver and there was still a long way to go while the snow was getting thicker and covering the deer trails that they were used to follow.

Before half of the trip, they were freezing, shivering against their will and their resistance to cold seemed to lower at each step.

It seemed like ice water was flowing into their veins and their teeth start to clatter like a Morse code session.

Yet there was still 13 km before they could reach the Indian's home. The cold wind was forever telling them to lay down and rest a while.

They thought of talking to one another but found that no sounds were coming out of their mouth. It seemed impossible to keep on walking.

Their shoes kept in sinking in the snow giving them the impression that each step was turning itself into an ice block from which only the next step was getting them free.

If they had panicked they would surely had died. But they kept on thinking what the old man had told them!

The nature can not harm you if you compose, blend, integrate yourself to it & to stop fighting against the cold

As soon as they stop fighting against the cold the result was immediate and it was like hearing the wind laugh instead of biting them. They suddenly felt a marvellous heat overpowering them.

They pressed on even faster eager to tell this marvel to the old Indian and as they were getting close to his home they were running and picking up huge handful of snow that they were throwing to one another.

Once inside the house the heat of it* seemed too much, the old Indian gave them their clothes back & since then they NEVER felt the cold wind. *P320 From Tom Brown in Wannamassa in New Jersey, he is a survival specialist.


Like most wilderness travellers we carry a map and remain conscious of your location. We view the land around as an area, for the moment as our area. An Inuk travels differently. He naturally adopts a linear approach, rather than an aerial one.

To him it is a linear world. Dr. Robert Rundstrom a geographer who has studied Inuit spatial concepts, ventured an explanation.

"Given the nature of the Barren Grounds terrain, linear conceptualization of the terrain may be the easiest way to bring a sense of order to an otherwise chaotic landscape, an order which allows human beings to think and act as successful part of that landscape."

The Inuit are right, of course. If you could rise up above the Barrens and look down, you would see a landscape full of lines-rivers, eskers, and caribou paths-all running with some regularity in a pattern across the tundra.

To get this linear view, aerial thinkers have to detach themselves from the landscape. Inuit instinctively adopt this perspective at ground level with themselves in it. It is a key to their survival.

It follows that a hunter would not seek his prey by going back and forth over an area, but rather by travelling along a line, searching for another line-tracks-that will lead him to his object.

Similarly if lost the linear thinker would logically travel in a straight line until he intersects evidence of another, more familiar line.

In a linear world it is inevitable that the will in time be rewarded. V. Stefansson the renown arctic explorer describes the arctic sky as the Inuit life had showed him to see it.

When clouds of a uniform colour hang low there is reflected in them a map of the earth below them. Snow-free land and open water are shown in black on the clouds; the pure white sea ice appears in white.

And land covered with now soiled by blown sand and tiny pieces of plant matter are reflected darker than the sea but lighter than snowless land. This sky map is of a great use to sledge travellers ALWAYS.

As for the wind, it blows nearly all the time. As the prevailing wind sweeps across the frozen, flat expanse of sea or tundra, it carves out a pattern in the ice-crusted snow

The sastrugi, small ridges of hard snow running parallel to the prevailing wind, are more reliable than a compass needle for the traveller seeking direction.

In severe weather, maintaining the relative alignment of the sastrugi to the line of travel is one of the few resources left to a hunter unable to see more than a few metres in front of him. No landmarks off the route ever are apparently of any consequence.

The Inuit maps are route oriented, drawn to illustrate our trail rather than all his geographical knowledge of an area.

This is not to suggest inaccuracy. Mapping in the Inuit way serves its purpose effectively in so far as it provides information USEFUL for navigation & many early explorers accounts attest to that. Their scale variations may also stem from the inconsistent nature of the terrain.

Some areas take longer to traverse than others, and this greater time and energy may be reflected in a larger representation of space on a map image.

Traditionally for Inuit, travel was not measured in miles or kilometres. A journey was described as so many sleeps & it hasn't changed a great deal.

To the Inuit traveller, time is a fundamental dimension of distance; for example, what is two days travel in winter may take a week in summer.

Distance is also an amalgam of many other variables; weather, snow conditions, hunting success, terrain, etc.

This complexity is depicted in the maps and might be mistaken for inconsistency. In fact it is reality.

Reality in mapping one learns from Inuit is more than a geometric interpretation of the land, that reality in their world, embraces both space and time.


They can be used for many things; fire tinder, wood shaving picker, cleaner, liner, float, light to carry, as a lure for fish tongue depressor.

Scrape dirt away wound etc., sterile, as finger or toe splint, small in size to carry in pocket. And in S/KIT* to use as chop stick, spreading lips of wound, skin tweezers, to empty fish. Etc.


Polar regions are regarded as those at latitudes higher than 60 degrees, 30 minutes North and South but cold skills maybe needed at very high altitudes everywhere.

Near the Equator in the Andes for example, the snow line is not reached until an altitude of about 5,000 meters (18,000 ft) but the nearer the poles the lower the snow line will be.

At the southern tip of South America there is permanent snow at only a few hundred metres (1,000ft). Arctic conditions penetrate deep into the northern territories of Alaska Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia & Russia.


South of the Polar Cap, the ground remains permanently frozen & vegetation is stunted. Snow melts in summer but roots cannot penetrate the hard earth. High altitudes give same conditions.


Between the arctic tundra and the main temperate lands is a forest zone up to 1300 km. deep. In Russia where it is know as Taiga, the forest penetrates up to 1650km. North of the Arctic Circle along some Siberian rivers.

But in Hudson Bay area of Canada the tree line moves and equal distance south of the Circle. Winters are long and severe, the ground frozen much of the time, summers short.

For only 3-5 months of the year is the ground thawed sufficiently for water to reach the roots of the trees & plants that especially flourish along the great rivers, that flow to the Arctic Ocean.

There is a wealth of game; elk, bear lynx, sable, squirrel, as well as smaller creatures and many birds.

In summer where the snow melt cannot drain, it creates swamp. Fallen trees and dense growths of sphagnum moss make the going difficult. Mosquitoes can be a nuisance but they don't carry malaria. (Vinegar is known to repel mosquitoes.)

Movement is easier in winter, if you have warm clothing. Travel along the rivers, where fishing is good, making a raft from the abundant deadfalls.


The temperate zone of the Northern hemisphere, and the similar climates of the Southern hemisphere, probably offers the most equitable circumstances for survival without special skills or knowledge.

They will be the areas best known to many readers of this book. These territories are also those most heavily urbanized and the survival ordeal is not likely to be very extended.

A fit and healthy person equipped with basic skills, would not be so cut off that they would not reach help within a few day's treks. Heavy winter conditions may call for polar skills.


Antarctica is covered with a sheet of ice. In the arctic the Pole is capped by deep ice floating on the sea and all the land north of the timber line is frozen.

There are only 2 seasons- along winter a short summer- the day varying from complete darkness in midwinter to 24 hours daylight at midsummer.

Arctic summer temperature can rise to 18C (65F) except on glaciers and frozen seas, but fall in winter to as low as -56C (-81F) & are NEVER above freezing point.

In the northern forests summer temperatures can reach 37C (100F) but altitude pushes winter temperatures even lower than in the Arctic.

In Eastern Siberia -69C (-94F) has been recorded at Verkhotansk! Temperatures in the Antarctic are even lower than in Arctic.

Antarctic winds of 177km (110mph) have been recorded and in the Arctic autumn, winter winds reach hurricane force and can whip snow 30m (100ft) into the air giving the impression of blizzard even when it is not snowing.

Accompanied by low temperatures, winds have a marked chilling effect- much greater than the thermometer indicates.


For instance a 32km per hour (20mph) wind will bring a temperature of -14C (5F) down to -34C (-30F) and one at 64kmph (40mph) would make it -42C or (-34F) with even greater drops at lower temperatures. Speeds over 64kmph (40mph) don't appear to make a greater difference


Mosquito, black fly deer-fly and midges can all be a nuisance in the arctic summer, so mud your face and hands. Their larvae live in water. AVOID making shelter near it.


Keep sleeves down collar up wear a net over the head and burn green wood and leaves on your fire-smoke keeps them at bay, cedar leaves rubbed on you too. When it turns colder, these nuisances are least active and they disappear at night.

In Alaska, North-western and North-eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Novaya Zemlya, Sptizbergen and on other islands there are mountains where ice cliffs, glaciers, crevasses and avalanches are hazards. Near the Arctic coastline frequent fog from May to August, sometimes carried far inland.




The constellations are better direction finders and nights light enough to travel by. By day use the shadow tip method. See reading the signs* **later on?

Travelling on sea ice do NOT use icebergs or distant landmarks to fix direction. Floes are constantly moving. Relative position may and often will change.

Watch for ice breaking up and if forced to cross from floe to floe, leap from and to a spot at least 60cm (2ft) from the edge.

Survivors have been rescued from floes drifting south but sooner or later ice floating into warmer oceans will melt, though that chance maybe worth be taking.


They have most of their mass below the water. As this melts they can turn over without warning particularly with your added weight.


Glaciers may "calve" huge mass of ice, often thousands of tons that break off into the sea Without Warning. Quite beautiful but DANGEROUS as hell!

Bird observations can aid navigation. Immigrating wildfowl fly to land in the thaw. Most seabirds fly out to sea during the day and return at night.


ESSENTIAL for polar survival. Fuel oil from wreckage can provide heat.

Drain oil from sump and reservoir on to the ground as soon as possible - as it cools it will congeal and become impossible to drain. High octane fuel does not freeze so quickly-leave it in the tanks.

In the Antarctic on the Arctic, seal and bird fat are the only other fuel sources. On coasts drift wood can sometimes can be collected- Greenlanders used to build homes from timbers that drifted across the Arctic from Siberian rivers.

In the Tundra low, spreading, Willow can be found. Birch scrub and Juniper also grow beyond the forest.

Birch bark makes excellent kindling the wood is oily. Feather a branch & it will burn even when wet.

Casiope * is another low, spreading heather like plant that Eskimos use for fuel.

Evergreen with tiny leaves and white bell shaped flowers and only 10-30cm (4-12in.) high. It contains so much resin that it too burns when wet.


When very cold, car can become ice box. A tree or snow shelter is better then car.


Low temperatures not only make driving conditions difficult. They can make starting and maintenance difficult & hazardous.


ALWAYS try to park on a gradient so that you can use a bump start to back up the starter.

Once you get the engine going keep it running-but check that the hand-brake is firmly on and NEVER leave children or animals in an unattended vehicle with the engine running


Don't try to drive looking through a small clear patch on a misty screen. Onion or raw potato rubbed on the inside of the screen will stop it misting up.* Would this also work for your eyeglass? To check it up*.

Cover the outside of windscreen and windows with newspaper to prevent frost building up on them. If damp, however paper will stick.


Wrapping a blanket around the engine may help to stop it from freezing up- but REMEMBER to remove it before you start the engine.

Cover lower part of the radiator with cardboard or wood so that it does not freeze as you go along. If very cold leave covered. Otherwise remove to prevent overheating.


Don't touch any metal with bare hands. Your fingers could freeze to it and tear off skin. Where handling metal components with gloves is awkward, wrap fingers with adhesive tape. Treat radiator cap and dip stick in this way to ease your daily checks.


Diesel contains water and freezes solid at low temperatures. ALWAYS COVER front of engine but check for overheating.

ALWAYS wrap engine at night or when left standing. Some lorry drivers light small fires under frozen tanks. Only you can judge if the risk is worth taking.


If you are trap in a blizzard STAY IN CAR. If you are on a regular traffic route you will probably soon be rescued. Going for help could be too risky. Run the engine for heat if you have fuel.

Cover the engine so that as little heat as possible is lost directly but MAKE SURE that the exhaust is clear.

Take no risk of exhaust coming into the car. If you feel drowsy stop the engine and open a window.


Switch off the heater as soon as you have taken the chill off the interior. Start it again when the temperature drops. If there is no fuel to run the engine wrap up in any spare clothing, rugs, etc. and keep moving inside the car.


Eat plenty of the right sort of appetizing food to produce maximum output of body heat.

Diet in cold weather at low altitude should tend heavily toward fat, with carbohydrate next & protein least important. As altitude increase above 10,000 feet, carbohydrates are most important & protein least.

Experiment with fats. If members or the party digests them readily they are excellent but don't count on everyone liking them at high altitude.

Don't leave your shelter or car because of starvation fear, after all a day or 2 without food will not kill any of us. Note: The most common cause of accidental death in the North is not freezing but FIRE!


Although the water is cold and almost ALWAYS covered with ice, it has enough lobsters fish, seals, walruses, whales, & even some species of sharks.

On the coasts there are many water birds, reindeer, musk oxen and Polar bears and in the Arctic summer, even up to 80C. North Latitude you can find bees and wasps, flies, butterflies, grasshoppers, insects living in trees and several species of worms.

It is amazing that very few servicemen marooned in the Arctic during the war had the idea of going hunting looking out for animals or setting traps for them.

There are many other examples of people starving to death in the Arctic because they didn't do any of the sensible things that might have led to their being rescued.

Scarcely any of them thought of even producing distress signals such as a smoking fire etc.

Some died near their plane having waited for nothing, not even tried to reach safety, NEVER venturing more than 150 yards from their plane.


Most polar plants are COMESTIBLEs but the *#cigue aquatic*# is the only known toxic plant.

Also good to AVOID mushrooms and #bouton dor# * The *#cigue aquatic# is one of the most venomous plant known.

It ALWAYS grows in damp soil and recognises by the following characteristics; a #un bulbe creux et cloisonner*# by and empty stalk, its roots are #fuseller# & odour that is strong & unpleasant.

Most abundant in swamps near the Southern beach and around muddy, swampy lakes inside the valleys, however this plants NEVER grows on hills slope nor on dry land. Except for the # St Christopher herb# that is also venomous.



The majority of Arctic plants ARE EDIBLE but AVOID Water Hemlock* the most POISONOUS.

AVOID the fruit of the Baneberry*. AVOID small Arctic Buttercups*.

Other temperate POISONOUS species found far north include: Lupin, Monkshood, Larkspur, Vetch or Locoweed, False Hellebore & Death Camas.**

Best AVOID Fungi too. MAKE SURE you can distinguish lichens from them.

There are NO Arctic plants that are known to produce contact POISONING.


REMEMBER: That It Takes 50% More Heat To Melt Snow Than To Melt Ice.

Even though in principle you can eat snow without DANGER but AVOID heavy polluted areas of towns if possible.


1) Let the snow thaw sufficiently to form a ball or a long stick.

Don't eat snow in its natural state, it would dehydrate you more than it would quench your thirst.

2) Don't swallow crushed ice, it could wound your lips and tongue.

3) If you are hot or cold or tired, eating snow has the effect of cooling your organism.

4) During summer, we usually find numerous lakes, swamps or rivers and streams in Arctic.

5) On iceberg and bays there is ALWAYS depressions filled with fresh water.

Boil all water no matter where you find it, or treat it chemically.


It Only puts them to sleep ready to go back with heat into activity with warmth!


It can injure your mouth & lips and also cause further dehydration. Thaw snow sufficiently to mould into a ball before attempting to suck it.


If already cold and tired eating snow will further chill your body.


Even in the cold you need over a litre (2pt) daily to replace losses. In summer water is plentiful in Tundra lakes and streams.

Pond water my look brown & taste brackish but vegetation growing in it keeps it fresh. If in doubt boil for 10 minutes. In winter melt ice & snow.


All surface capable of absorbing sun rays is good enough to melt ice or snow, a flat stone, a tarp, a signal panel.


Food in Arctic is more or less rare according to place and seasons. On littoral, the ices leave little place to animals or plants to survive.

But fishing and hunting can be done, enough to make you survive. However NEVER roast your meat because this cooking method eliminate the fat that is essential for survival in those climates.


In Arctic there is few toxic fish. The #sculpin#* gives toxic eggs. The *#moule noire# gives a POISON as deadly as strychnine.


Salmon is delicious and abundant in rivers and streams but as it moves further from the sea water its flesh becomes less nutritious.

Farther north, at the limit of the Arctic sea and on the littoral the Atlantic and Pacific ocean are full of sea fruits.

*#L'Omble, trout, white fish and la Lingue*# are most abundant in lakes and #etangs# as well as the littoral of North America and Asia. Many great rivers contain salmon and sturgeons.*

The #*escargots des rivers et "Y", "V" bires? *# abound in lakes and water ways of Northern pine forest. All the waters of the littoral are full and filled with marine life. To fish you can use a harpoon, a net or hook or hit them with a stone or stick.

The Cod is lured with just a piece of cloth, a bone or s metallic shiny piece, the cod is also fished through ice when you dig a hole.

It is easier to fish them with a net or to hit them with a stick when you snare them at the mouth of a stream.


Frozen fish, raw gives an internal heat of longer lasting time than cooked fish and it is very delicious. Eskimos fish & clean them, then lay them on ice to freeze over, then once frozen they eat them as such.


Lichens and mosses growing on dark heat absorbing rocks on some northern coasts, are the only plants. Seas are rich in plankton and krill that supports fishes, whales, seals and many seabirds.

Most birds emigrate in autumn, but flightless Penguins stay. They make Good eating. Most of the year they take to the water at the first sign of DANGER but, when incubating eggs sit tight on their burrows or scrapes.


Ice provides no habitat for plants or ground animals, even polar bears are likely only where they can find prey and they are difficult and DANGEROUS to hunt. Seabirds, fishes and seals where there is water are the potential foods.


The Arctic fox turns white in winter - sometimes follow bears on to sea ice to scavenge their kills. Northern wildlife is migratory and availability depends on season.


Plants and animals can be found in winter and summer and the northern forests offer even more wildlife. Tundra plant species are the same in Russia and Alaska.

All are small compared to warmer climate plants; ground spreading Willow, Birch and Berry plants with high vitamin content. Lichens and mosses, found widely form a valuable food source especially Reindeer moss.


Bark and greenery stripped from trees is evidence of feeding animals. Caribou (Reindeer) are common from Alaska to west Greenland and found across northern Scandinavia and Siberia.

Shaggy-musk-ox roam in northern Greenland and in the islands of the Canadian archipelago, Elk (Moose) are found-where there is a mixture of forest and open ground.

Wolves are common in northern Canada, Alaska, Siberia but rare and protected in most European countries.

Foxes, living in the tundra in summer and open woodland in winter are an indication of other smaller prey- mountain hares, squirrels & other small rodents that burrow beneath the snow to find seeds.

Lemmings make runaways beneath the snow. Beaver, mink, wolverines and weasels can all be found in the Arctic.

Bears roam the barren lands of the North as well as the forests. They can be DANGEROUS. Give them a wide berth.

The best chances for survival are along coasts where the sea provides a dependable source of food. Seals are found on costs pack ice and in the open water.


May look cumbersome but are also very DANGEROUS. Leave them alone unless you are armed.


Tracks are clear in snow and easy to follow-but leave a trail of fluttering flags of bright material from wreckage to find your way back to your shelter.

Make them high enough not to be covered by a fresh snowfall. Caribou can be very curious and may sometimes be lured by waving a cloth & moving on all fours. Imitating a four-legged animal may also bring wolves closer, thinking you might be a prey.

Ground squirrels and marmots may run into you if you are between them & their holes. Some prey animals can be attracted by the sound made by kissing the back of your hand.

It is like the noise made by a wounded mouse or bird. Make it from a concealed position and downwind. Be patient and keep trying.

Stalking animals is difficult in the exposed Arctic. If you have a projectile weapon, gun, bow, catapult-which can be fired from ground level, lie in ambush behind a screen of snow.

To be more mobile make a screen of cloth that can stand in front of you and slowly move forward.

In winter, Owls, Ravens & Ptarmigans-the birds available in the North-are usually "tame" and can be approached slowly without sudden movements.

Many polar birds have a 2-3 weeks summer moult that makes them flightless- they can be run down.



A main source of food on polar ice, some seals remain there right through the winter.

The Antarctic Weddel seal, most southerly of mammals can dive for 15 minutes before coming up to breathe from pockets of air beneath the ice or at small holes that it keeps open by nibbling around the edges. Most seals MUST breathe more frequently.

Few are so formidable as the Elephant seal, which can rear up to twice a man's height in attack or defence.

Seals are most vulnerable on the ice floes with their young pups produced between March and June in the Arctic according to species.

Newborn seals cannot swim and are easy to catch, thousands are massacred by hunters and in culls each year by simply walking among them on the ice and clubbing them.

Out of the breeding season, breathing holes in the ice are the best place to catch seals; recognise them by their cone shape, narrower on the upper surface.

In thicker ice they will be surrounded by flipper and tooth marks where the seal has been keeping the hole open.

You have to be patient and yet ever ready for the visits to the holes are brief. Club the animal then enlarge the hole to recover the carcass.

Seals provide food, clothing, moccasins and blubber for fires. Adult males have a strong odour early in the year, but it does not affect their meat.

Eat all except the liver, which at some times of the year has DANGEROUS concentrations of Vitamin A. Cook seal meat to AVOID Trichinosis.


Confined to high Arctic -- in Europe only residents on Spitzbergen-they have a keen sense of smell and tireless hunters on sea ice and in the sea.

Feeding mainly on seals with some fish they swim well and can stay submerged for 2 minutes. Rarely found on land- though in summer they may feed on berries and lemmings.

Like many cold climates animals they are larger than their warmer climate relatives. Most are curious and will come to you-but treat these powerful animals with respect & caution.


ALWAYS cook meat. Muscles ALWAYS carry Trichinosis worm. NEVER eat Polar Bear liver that can have lethal concentrations of vitamin A.


Bleed, gut, and skin while the carcass is still warm. Roll hides before they freeze. Cut meat into usable portions and allow to freeze.

Do not keep reheating meat. Once cooked eat leftovers cold. (That's why you cut it up) Leave fat on all animals except seals.

FAT IS ESSENTIAL IN COLD AREAS, but if you eat a lot MAKE SURE you take plenty fluids.

Except in extreme cold when it will freeze remove seal fat and render it down before it can turn rancid and spoil meat. It can also be USEFUL for your fire.

When food is scarce animals will steal it. So cache it carefully. If there are signs of would be thieves look out for them. They could be your next meal.

Rodents especially squirrels and rabbits and hares, can carry Tularaemia, which can be caught from ticks or handling infected animals. Wear gloves when skinning. Boiled flesh is safe.



One of the best secret that we can give you is to cut down a small green birch and to wait for the next day.

You will then notice how the rabbits came at night to eat the head & the small branches of the birch, this is now the best place to tend your snares easily catching 20 rabbits out of 30 snares.


To AVOID freezing your butts off while waiting long hours for the game to show up either ducks or deer etc. Here are 2 tricks.

First is to get yourself one of those isolation foams that can be found in all cities construction sites & just sit on it, you will notice how warm it keeps you & small piece under your feet will also cut the dampness off.

Second method is to take a small tin or wood barrel into which you have drilled a dozen of where you are going to sit and place a lighted oil lamp under the barrel, keeps you nice, comfy and warms buns.


The Eskimos use this trick often to capture small birds. After having enlarged the air draft hole in the igloo's top, they lay a few pieces of meat around the edge of that hole then they wait.

When the noises from the birds wing warn them about the incoming bird they quickly pull their arm through the hole and grab the bird by the legs.



REMEMBER to leave your gun outside your house in the entrance where it will stay cold, for to bring it in the house with its frequent switching of cold and hot will provoke condensation thus ice which will in turn form ice capable to block the mechanism of your gun.


Many a hunter has a second shack for hunting which extends their hunting ground quite a bit. This shack about 9 miles from the first one also has an important function that is to relieve the cabin fever.

This is an important factor since this fever or mood not only makes you feel your loneliness but worst is that you can even bear yourself.

This is why the second shack becomes USEFUL when the first shack becomes filthy and in disorder it is an alarm signal that time has come to move one to the next shack.


Once you have killed your game for instance a bear MAKE SURE you go around first to examine the tracks of your bear just to MAKE SURE that it was alone.

You don't want to get caught by the second one coming along. Usually at the beginning of the night they are alone but then again why take chances.

Then you can come back to your game and circle it at about 10 feet distance to MAKE SURE that it is really dead.

Then the final but needed precaution is to touch the eye of the bear with your gun barrel, should he move then you just pull the trigger to finish the job. Bingo!

DON'T touch the bear first before you do it with your gun barrel in case it is only wounded.

Use your gun barrel as precaution MAKING SURE you are ready to shoot again. This precaution may save your life.


Before travelling or not do this test.


When one is excited by the challenge of covering ground, exhaustion often creeps on unrecognized.

This can be so much more serious a problem in severe weather that particularly when it is cold and stormy.

One will be generally well advised in strange country under survival conditions to pick up a camping spot early enough to be able to prepare for as comfy a night as possible.

For what interest it may hold, here is the way some trappers gauge their strength:

The trapper reaches one of his cabins on his line. He is not conscious of feeling particularly tired. Can he proceed to the next cabin???

He stands and looks up at the heavens. If the shy seems to keep receding before his eyes, he takes it as a sure sign that he is too near the limit of his strength to risk going farther. So he turns in where he is.


"Ask Gulliver or Gilligan?"

It is understandable of course, that people marooned in the Arctic rarely go far from their camp that is usually their plane.

Not having learned the best way to survive in the Arctic, they feel SAFEST there, but it does not do them much good, unless before their landing they have managed to send out distress signal, giving their approximate position.

The prospect of being found by chance in the thinly populated Arctic areas is small indeed, except with the passengers of an airliner who can count on a big search operation starting IMMEDIATELY the plane is missed.

The people with most chance of survival are those who try to get back to civilization under their own steam or at least explore the immediate surroundings where they have crashed. (Gilligan?)

It is interesting to learn that according to the survival experts at Stead that Winter is a good deal EASIER than Summer for making headway in the Arctic.

Apparently the ice covering of frozen lakes and rivers and the ground being hard as stone, enable you to get on faster without big detours.

Whereas one party for instance after a crash landing in North Canada during the summer, took all of 6 hours to cross a piece of marshland 1/2 mile wide and 5 days to circumvent a bog.


(How to cross a swamp without getting lost)

Had some known the Swiss stick method they would have saved themselves a lot of time & efforts. Here it is.

You cut, break or pick up a long pole or small tree with branches off about 20 to 25 feet long, use it as a horizontal guide to cross the bog. (We assume you have no compass!)

By pulling and pushing you will cross it in a straight way with may be 20 to 50 feet off your original target.*


There are many stories of men in a whiteout in Alaska or Greenland who have seen their companions jump down a "small slope" that was really an abyss several hundred feet deep. Their rashness cost them their lives.

Several Survival Schools recommended to WAIT calmly for the end of a whiteout and ONLY MOVE on when things around them have resumed their shape & structure. In a whiteout you lose all senses of below, above and distances.


Visibility is sometimes so deceptively restricted in DANGEROUS terrain that it is foolhardy to keep going, if to continue IS NECESSARY without taking special precautions.

A low hanging cloud sudden sleet & the way snow and dust occasionally smoke up in stinging particles before an eye-watering that can make travel almost blind.

Depending on where you are, you can break off evergreen tips & keep one or 2 thrown ALWAYS well ahead of you to mark an apparently safe passage.

This procedure we may well increase by cutting a long dry stick light enough to wield easily and by poking about on all sides to minimize the possibility of stepping off into undetected emptiness.


One of the first decision of a downed air crew and passengers that has to be made is whether to remain near the downed craft.

Or to travel as far as necessary to find a good safe dry location for a camp, to find a location where you are apt to be spotted or to find a settlement.

A study of survival incidents both in the RCAF & USAF indicate that travel is not recommended & if you travel you MUST HAVE strength to do so.


If any of the 5 basic requirements can not be fulfilled to your specific situations then: DON'T TRAVEL.

1) Know where you are & where you are going, if you don't know where you are, you can rarely plan a route to safety. STAY PUT.

2) Have a means of setting and maintaining direction. If you have a hand compass and know how to use it, you should be able to maintain a planned course.

Yet we know that in the North the compass goes crazy very often. If you are unable to maintain such a course; REMAIN WHERE YOU ARE.

3) Most people are inclined to over- estimate their physical abilities.

Be very careful when trying to estimate your physical strength and if in doubt, STAY PUT!

4) Clothes make the man. This is particularly true in survival when the proper clothing can mean the difference between life & death.

MAKE CERTAIN you are adequately clothed to give protection from the elements & insects. Adequate shoes & Heavy socks are MOST ESSENTIAL. (Wool is top best)

Unless your clothing is sufficient to protect you against conditions to face, STAY PUT!

5) Food, fuel, shelter and signals MUST BE considered in relation to the type of the country and the season.

If these are available in the area in which you are and you are unable to carry these with you, its BETTER to STAY PUT and WAIT.

6) I will add this, even if you MUST stay put, try to check your area in a 3 miles radius but BE CAREFUL not to loose yourself. Use the method explain in Signal and orientation file*.


Relatively easy in summer if the following rules are done.

1) Before beginning any trip, climb a high hill or a large tree to orient yourselves with the surrounding area and possibly discover human habitation.

2) Game trails provide an easy path through bush country. These trails follow the ridges & rivers flats & are connected by a network of trails.

The DANGER of following these trails extensively may cause you to wander from your intended way.

3) Streams may be followed to large rivers or lakes along the shores of whichyou are most likely to find habitation.

Generally it's better to follow the drainage pattern rather than to cross it. Unless the waterways in the area are well known to survivors, raft building is not recommended.

4) Ridges offer drier more insect free travel that bottom land. There will be usually less underbrush and as a result it will be easier to see and to be seen.

5) Large river crossing should only be attempted when absolutely necessary.

If the water is deep, remove all clothing and place it in a bundle. Replace your boots without socks. Boots give a much better footing and prevent injury to your feet during the crossing.

If forced to swim in fast flowing rivers, start up-stream from your proposed landing place and let the currant drift you down to it.

When finding a fast shallow stream use a pole to help you maintain a footing.

6) Decide whether to cross or to go around each lake, if it is decided to cross, use a raft or floatation gear. Swimming in cold waters can be deadly. **

7) Deadfalls can prove DANGEROUS because of the ever present DANGER of slipping, resulting injury.*


8) Swamps sap the strength of a person because of difficult walking conditions, go around such area.

9) Mountain areas have their own particular problems. Watch for overhead threats such as shale and rolling boulders.

In early Spring, cross mountains streams in Early Morning to AVOID the greatest volume of water that occurs when the sun starts melting the snows.


In winter game trails especially if heavily used, will save walking through deep snow, but you MUST AVOID being led off your general direction

Streams and rivers will provide your best method of travel being the highway of the Canadian North.

There are however DANGERs in winter river travel that MUST BE CAREFULly watched for and AVOIDed. In certain places along the river, weak ice will be found & it's best to know in advance where to look for it.

1) Stay away from rocks and other protuberances, since ice is slower to form in those localities and will have been retarded by eddies.

2) Walk on inside of curves, since on the outside of curves the current has an eroding effect on the underside of the ice face.

3) Take to the bank or walk on the opposite side of the river at the junction of 2 rivers. The current from both rivers holds up the formation of ice through turbulence.

4) Stay on clear ice when possible since a deep layer of snow will insulate /retard freezing.

5) Carry a pole for testing ice and for uses in supporting your weight if you break through thin ice.

6) Be ready to get rid of your pack should you fall through ice.

7) Before walking on ice, MAKE SURE you have well attach on you a waterproof kit to start a quick fire.

8) It can happen that water seeps under the snow and if your feet get wet they can freeze very quickly.


AVOID dark coloured ice, dark = DANGER, Soft thin ice: walk on white ice = SAFEST and strongest.


1) Don't travel during blizzard.

2) Be prudent on thin ice, in order to equally distribute your weight, crawl rather than walk.

3) Cross a waterway when the water level is at its lowest. Under the thawing effect the depth of a river can vary from 2 to 2 1/2 meters in 24 hours.

This can happen at any time during the day, according to the distance that separates you from the glacier, or the weather or the terrain.

The water level variation MUST BE taken in consideration upon choosing your camp along a river.

4) In Arctic it is difficult to correctly estimate distances. Because of very clear atmosphere, those ones often seem to be shorter than they are in reality.

5) Don't travel in white out because the lack of contrast will prevent you from judging the terrain's nature properly.

6) ALWAYS cross a snow bridge at right angle from the object it crosses. Probe well the strongest point with your pole or ice axe. Distribute your weight by wearing snowshoes or skis or by crawling.

7) Stop while its still daylight in order to give you enough time to construct a shelter and make camp.

8) Use frozen or not rivers as highways. One easily travels on frozen rivers that are free of soft snow.


They may give easier walking conditions as they do not usually have the same amount of snow as the valleys.

Mountain areas in winter can be particularly treacherous with the possibilities of snow slides, uncertain footing and sudden storms.

Snow slides will occur from natural causes, but care should be taken to AVOID causing them through carelessness.

Deadfall is even more DANGEROUS in winter than in summer, since a lot of them will be covered with snow, making walking conditions Very Treacherous.


Snow shoes and skis are not essential on hard snow in barren land travel. On the Arctic Islands and barren east of the 142nd meridian walking conditions are normally good in winter.

In some localities frequent gales are encountered. There is little protection except that provided by scattered high banks and willow thickets around lakes and along stream beds.

Game is very scarce and fires can not be maintained for long on the fuel obtainable in the winter.

The survivors can not afford to follow the streams which because of their winding nature double and quadruple the distance to be covered.

The COMPASS is NOT RELIABLE & land marks are few and far between.

One man will have difficulty steering a straight course by himself. Two can do a little better but 3 are required to navigate when visibility is low.

It is recommended that any extended travel over barren land or sea ice be done by a party of at least 3 persons.

The spring break-up, summer & the fall freeze present far greater travel difficulties than does the winter season. Equipment MUST BE carried on the back. The masses of soggy vegetation on the tundra cause the traveller to slip and slide.

Lake system MUST BE either crossed or circumnavigated. Care MUST BE taken in crossing sandbars and mud flats formed at the mouth & junction of rivers & lakes.

Quicksand or bottomless muck may trap you. If a life raft is available it is preferable to float down the river rather than attempt to travel across country. The months of July & August are about the best months to cross country travel.

Because of the prevalence of fish in all streams or lakes, a fish net is one of the best pieces of equipment the traveller can carry. A rifle may provide game for a number of meals.


Food in the form of seal, fox & polar bear is more readily obtained on winter sea ice than on barren land.

The problem of navigation is identical with those of the barren land with one very great exception.

The polar ice pack is in constant motion due to the currants and winds. Therefore determination of direction may be difficult. Also one rarely travels in a straight line in order to AVOID the rough ice.

Landmarks in the form of high pressure ridges and hummocks are usable only for a short distance, since they may be located on other floes & are constantly changing location.

Add to this the fact that the magnetic compass is very unreliable in high latitudes and the necessity for constant direction checks on the sun and stars becomes obvious.

The ice in the very high latitudes is comparatively solid in winter. As the sun returns the ice recedes and there is open water along the entire Arctic coast.

Along the North coast, ice lies off shore & is often driven ashore by strong north or west winds.

Riding one of these flows is definitely a last & DANGEROUS procedure, since there is no guarantee that the wind will continue until the flow reaches ground.

The summer ice is covered with lakes and water soaked snow, which gradually drains off through holes and cracks in the ice mass.

There is practically no dry surface anywhere. Fog abounds and misting rain fells frequently. Survivors should leave the ice and get to land if at all possible.


All icebergs frozen in ice are likely to have open water in their vicinity. Icebergs driven by the wind and currants have been known to crash through ice several feet in thickness.

Towering icebergs in open water are ALWAYS DANGEROUS as the area below the surface melts faster than that above causing it to topple over and the adjoining area is no place for man nor beast.

The resulting tidal waves throw the surrounding small ice pieces in all directions. Seek only low toppled icebergs for shelter at sea.





1) Take your time, save your strength, if tired, rest & make camp.

2) Bring the necessary equipment, but only the necessary (no VCR)?. Don't overburden yourself.

Keep equipment in good condition, take well care not to loose it, and put your food safely from wild animals ALWAYS on the prowl.

3) Be ALWAYS on the ready to make signals to passing planes

4) If you can AVOID it don't travel alone, & when possible mark along your trail and leave messages.

5) Unless there is a member gravely wounded, the group MUST NOT divide itself. All survivors MUST stick together. United we stand! Divided we strand!

6) To walk in straight line, choose 2 points easily recognizable in line with your direction, walk while keeping those 2 points in line.

From time to time look back and thus will be able to correct your path from you starting point.

7) Trace your path on a map if any is available.

8) To help in your moving, make improvised snowshoes, rafts, sleighs.

9) Keep a log book about your travelling.

10) Take care of your feet.

10b) Use your walking stick.

11) Each day plan your course and travel according to your plan take frequent rest, don't make too long a stretch and MAKE SURE that you have ample time to make a good and comfy camp each night. It is a necessity to sleep well & to rest often to survive. SAVE ENERGY!


The principal obstacles to walk on foot are the dense vegetation, the rough terrain, insects, soft soil, swamps, quagmires, lakes & great rivers

To AVOID water flood problems you MUST cross waterways early in morning before the sun rise and the melting gets on.

The best method consists in following the ridges and game trails and to check constantly the direction you are taking.


The principal DANGERs for travelling are soft and deep snow, frozen rivers, bad weather and rarity of natural food.

Don't move when blizzard is on, nor when EXTREMELY cold. Dig a hole lay down and rest to save strength.

Upon walking on frozen rivers check for thin ice, air pockets use a cold chisel or a pole to verify the thickness of the ice.

If you are many to walk on DANGEROUS ice, walk in file and tie yourselves together, about 10 feet apart. Check for frostbite on you & your partners VERY OFTEN.


You MUST choose a road that brings you to:

1) A less DANGEROUS place, a more sheltered region or area.

2) Toward sea coast

3) Toward a great river.

4) Habituated area.

While following a trail, coming down a river or following the coast one usually ends up finding a food cache, shack or village.

In the Alaska and Canada the big rivers are the main ways of communication in summer as winter.

Follow the natural slopes of the land rather than crossing them especially in summer.

AVOID as much as possible to climb, go around it takes a lot less energy to go around a hill or mountain then to climb it. Be lazy in survival is best, yet extra careful. Take the SAFEST road not necessarily the shortest.

MESSAGES:* see signal also

You MUST leave a message at the crash site and every resting or camping site thereafter and where you change or alter your route the note written with a pen or charcoal MUST give the following:

1) Date you left the starting point.

2) Your destination and the road you intend to follow.

3) Evaluation of travelling time.

4) The number of persons.

5) Their physical condition.

6) Other information via food or other needs. MAKE SURE the messages are easy to see and reach. Use markers.


In order to AVOID scrapes, scratches and cuts etc. & in order to keep your direction and for better overall feeling, use your eyes carefully, don't worry about nearby shrubs or trees; but be on the look out for the immediate surrounding.

Don't just look but penetrate the forest with your eyes. Stop and bend down from time to time to get and under view of the forest.

Be attentive & vigilant, move slowly and constantly in dense forest but stop frequently & locate yourself.

NOISE: Travel Very far in forest but you can lower that noise by cutting the shrubs etc. in up & down movement.

In order to protect yourselves from snakes or ants have a walking stick to help you moving around & scattering vegetation hindering your walk.

When climbing a hill or mountain slope, don't grab the shrubs or climbing plants with bare hands, there could be cutting thorns.

Most animals will follow the hunting trails that are mostly used by others, those trails intercut themselves but they often will bring you to water or bush clearings.

By checking your direction you will see if those trails lead you to your wanted daily goal.

Should you happen to find an electrical or phone line follow it because it leads to safety. But BE CAREFUL when you approach a relay station since guards usually keep it. (Boom! Gotcha Rambo!)


This walking requires a lot of energy as much as possible AVOID that kind of road or travelling. In mountain regions follow the valleys and elevations.

In order to save strength and time, walk while keeping your body weight directly above your feet and keep your heels well flat on the ground, this comes easily when your steps are short and you walk slowly. *


That temperatures in the mountains can sink abruptly by 36 Fahrenheit, so be prudent.


When you are descending a cut bank or any down-grade a Basic safety principle all recognise but often overlook in the exhilaration of a descent is to control our centre of gravity so that if we fall it will be backwards in a sliding position.

Such a precaution we come more and more to realize is of the utmost importance during solitary travel over new paths, where loose shale has not before been by man disturbed & where decomposing logs have not been tried.

The identical principle holds even when we are travelling among obstructions on a flat, for it is a sometimes too costly convenience to let the body drop or swing forward so as to rest a hand momentarily on a projection and vault ahead.

The untested support to which we will then be committed may roll, slide or give away entirely.

Even though this may happen only one time in 10,000 the odds are still to far out of proportions to warrant taking such a gamble.


A reasonably precautionary attitude back of beyond is to expect to fall at any moment, for so realizing the possibility we will more likely to be prepared for it:

1) By avoidance of an area.

2) By extreme care when to bypass is not practical.

3) And most commonly by continually gauging beforehand where and in what manner, if we do fall, we will be able to let ourselves go most safely.


They project a special hazard and one that is greatly multiplied when the ground is at all wet.

Dew can make a fallen log so slippery that the feet will fly out from beneath one so unexpectedly that any control is at once gone. Frost imposes grave DANGER. Especially tricky is dead bark that all of sudden turns on the trunk itself.

It would be pointless to indicate that all such perils may be AVOIDed by keeping off fallen timber.

For we often find that a down tree is by far the most reasonable way over a ravine or flooded creek. We occasionally come upon vast stretches of old burn where the only across is on top of a maze of deadfall.

What we may logically choose to do, therefore is to test such a footing as carefully as possible and to proceed with maximum caution.

Taking secure hand holds whenever they are offered, while limiting & when possible excluding any tightrope walking and leaping.


At time you MUST climb or go down a steep slope or cliff. So before you start, study carefully your path to assure yourself as to where you will grab or lay our feet.

Check carefully each time you grab or step onto something that it will be solid enough to take your weight, do the following recommendations;

1) Unless you are obliged, don't lean on shaky or moving rocks.

2) Use your legs to push and your hand to keep balance, Try to maintain a 3 points contact. Move only one foot or hand at a time.

3) At all times, do in such a way that you can move in one direction or the other without DANGER.

4) Go down the slope facing it down as long as possible thus you can see better your path and discover the best holds.

5) In steep cliff, use only the # descente en rappel# when you have no other choice.*

6) Upon walking in those mountainous regions or upon ice or snow try to find or improvise a solid cable as well as a piolet ice axe without those it will be difficult if not impossible succeed climbing down or up. As ice axe use a solid metallic rod and test the ground ahead.


The faster way to go down a snow slope is to slide down feet first while using an ice axe or a solid stick about 5 feet long which will hold you or slow your coming down.

The ice axe or stick will also serve to test the foreground so as to AVOID the deadly and treacherous #crevice (rifts.)#

The #crevices# generally cross a glacier at right angle from the direction of its flowing, it is usually possible to go around them, since they rarely spread all along the width of glacier.

If snow covers over its surface, you MUST BE Extra Careful and each member of the party MUST BE tied together by a cable, should anyone happen to fall into a #crevice (rifts#).

As much as possible AVOID those regions, go around if you can. It is easier to cross a slope when digging in your heels while crossing in diagonal.

BEWARE also of snow slides especially during spring thaw or after a heavy snow storm. (See above snow slide) * Check your centre of gravity & stick to your walking stick.



Falling into icy water knocks the breath out of you. The body curls up with loss of muscular control and violent shivering.

Exposed parts freeze in about 4 minutes. Consciousness clouds in 7 minutes and death follows in 15-20 minutes.

RESIST! Take violent action hitting the water. Move fast for land. Then roll in snow to absorb water. Get to shelter and into dry kit IMMEDIATELY.


The following studies come from the Victoria University which goals were to study the effects on human bodies immersed in cold water in maritime regions as one would find after being ship wrecked in those regions.

Any prolongation even if minimal will sometimes make the difference between life and death for the survivor.

All boat lovers & persons exposed to accidental immersion in cold water MUST BE aware of those factors that will influence the speed of the body cooling off and its eventual death due to hypothermia.

This knowledge will hopefully lead to AVOID accidents and better your survival chances.


Hypothermia is a pronounced lowering or drop of the internal body temperature.

In cold water the skin and its external tissues get cold very quickly but it takes from 10 to 15 minutes for the internal organs such as the heart, the brain and others to start getting cold.

The body first starts to react by intense chills in an effort to counteract the lowering of the temperature and to help warm up the victim.

The victim can loose consciousness when his internal temperature fall from his normal 37.5 (99F) to about 32C. (89.6F). Death usually follows by heart failure when this temperature goes below 30C or 86F.


The following chart gives you an idea for the survival time of an average adult who is immersed in cold water under different temperatures.

The following data come from experiments done on men and women immersed in cold sea water, without movements and wearing light clothing and an ordinary life-jacket.

The curve indicates for instance the predictable survival duration time being around 2 1/2 to 3 hours in water at 10C or 50F.

This duration is longer in the case of persons being fat and shorter for the thinner or frail persons.

Even if women generally have a little more fat than men, they however have a more delicate body thus tend to cool off a bit more quickly than men.

This is also for the same reason that we find children loosing body heat more rapidly than adults.


NO! Even if the body creates around 3 times more heat while swimming slowly and constantly as in the case of side strokes in cold water than while being immobile.

All this heat and more are lost because of the more intense blood circulation towards the extremities of the body.

Results have revealed that an average person swimming with a life-jacket looses 35% more heat than by staying immobile.


It may happen however that land being close by, would justify the attempt.

Experiments done on average persons wearing light clothing and a life-jacket in sea water at 10C (50F) have indicated that they can swim up to 0.85 mile before being paralysed by hypothermia.

However it is hard to estimate distances especially in survival condition in cold and choppy water but the land MUST BE within a mile for you to take the risk of swimming to its relative safety.

The distance reached will vary accordingly to the swimmer's ability, its type of clothing & water temperature.



Continuous movements of the legs and arms will permit the victim to hold its head off the water.

Experiments indicate however that a person found in this type of situation cools off faster by a ratio of 34% compared to another person who is wearing a life-jacket and staying immobile.


In this method a person maintains himself afloat while relaxing or trying to do so and with his lungs filled with air. Every 10 or 15 seconds he will stop to lift his head off the water to breathe.

In moderate temperature even non-swimmers can AVOID drowning for many hours by using this method.

In many Canadian provinces the average temperature in lakes goes down between 17 & 20C (62.5-68F) on surface during summer months.

At this relatively moderate temperature the *#surescon# remains a worthwhile technic.

Unfortunately experiments in cold sea water at 10C (50F) reveal that the body heat lost is 82% faster than if the body is immobile with a life-jacket.

This is partly & especially due to the fact that the head is immersed for long period. The head being the body part that loose its heat the fastest.

According to those experiments the *#surescon# in cold water seem to bring death by hypothermia more quickly than if someone had a life-jacket.


For those victims standing immobile in water, beside the head experiments with infra-red photos have shown that the lateral parts of the thorax that have little fat are the principal points by which one looses its body heat.

The groin region is also subjected to great heat lost because of the big blood vessel situated in that region. Thus in any attempt to preserve heat lost, these specific regions MUST HAVE priority.


Here are 2 technic to help you along saving some body heat.


This technic consists in holding one's arms closely to its chest side thus covering his warm upper region. The thighs are also squeeze together and brought upward the groin.

This position has shown itself really efficient by increasing nearly to 1/2 the projected average survival time.


It is natural that many persons tightly squeeze together have more chance of preserving common heat.

Experiments have shown that in such a case while squeeze together and protecting the sides of the chest their survival time was lengthen by half compared to the Foetus position.


1) Mediocre thermal protection: The life-jacket filled with Kapok as well as those filled with unicellular foam offer very little protection against cold water.

2) Satisfactory protection: 50 to 75% longer survival time if the life-jackets have foam padding that can be adjusted tightly to your chest or the type of vest that has a layer of light insulated foam between 2 other thickness inside and outside of the tissues.

3) Good thermal protection: There is 2 types that have been made to offer maximum protection offering up to 400% or 4 time the usual expected survival time. One of this model is a "sweatsuit" where the legs are covered with foam.

The other model is called UVIC Thermofloat which one can modify in such a way as to retain water inside the isolating foam covering the main body parts which are most prone to heat lost. It is very much like a wet suit for divers principle.


Taking alcohol tend to reduce the shaking and to stimulate the blood circulation of the body surface.

(One has the impression that he is hotter while in fact the heat lost is accelerated.) Studies concerning alcohol effects and the survival time in cold water are not conclusive.

However at a time where it is more important than ever to have all your faculties it seems preferable to AVOID anything that may hinder or weaken them.

In any case one MUST AVOID at all cost to try helping someone from suffering hypothermia by giving him alcohol.


Immersion in cold water (especially if sudden) instantly modifies the body functions and there are isolated reports of death because of it but it is rarely the case.

The reason for those deaths is uncertain due to many causes. One of them would be a kind of heart attack due to this sudden immersion.

This cause is however rarely the case with people who have a heart in good condition. Another cause could be the hyperventilation causing the victim to swallow huge quantity of water thus a kind of drowning would follow.

If hyperventilation keeps on, IT can easily lead to lost of consciousness and bring death by drowning.

Since any state of panic can only make it worst one MUST try to keep his cool and to act rationally.

If possible the entry in cold water should be done progressively to allow the body to adapt and one should force himself to control his respiration.*

The more one is clothed the more the shock of entering cold water will be reduced and the better your chances of survival.


Being smaller and generally with less fat than adults are therefore particularly vulnerable.

If a whole family falls into water the parents MUST try to take them out of the water even if only partially.

By placing them on any kind of floating objects or to hold them tightly close to them as done in the caucus method so as to spread heat as much as possible.


1) In any kind of weather, the less a body is immersed the less it gets cold quickly.

2) If the immersion is inevitable, the less the body surface is in direct contact with water the better it will be for you.


First get the victim out of the water and remove his wet clothes. The method of warming up will depend of the apparent degree of hypothermia.

If the victim is conscious, express himself clearly and his shivering most of time he will only have to be brought to a dry and warm place. And to make him drink hot drinks and to warm him unless he gives signs of aggravation.

If the victim is rigid, unconscious or nearly so or hallucinating then the warm up has to be done more strongly.

Once the shivering has ended, it is of no use to wrap the victim in blankets if there are not other heat sources, since this will not warm him up. One MUST find other means & as quickly as possible.

Here are some methods to help bring them back.


This has been the Most Efficient method of warming up victims found by the Victoria university.

It permits the heat to reach the deep body parts while reducing to a minimum the temperature drop which ALWAYS follow the initial warming up stage.

This method however requires appropriate machines to heat up and moisten and spread the gas and although relatively simple and of a little cost, they would be hard to find in survival conditions.


If possible you will keep the arms and legs out of the water so as to first heat up the body's trunk.

The temperature of the bath will be of 21C or 70F and you will bring it up for the next 10 minutes up to 43.3C (110F) .



Put them on the body's part most subjected to heat lost.


If no external heat sources are available, the rescuer will undress and will lay on top of the victim and will cover both bodies with blankets or clothing while ensuring the closest body contact possible with its victim.

6) WARNING! We insist on this:

Do Not give alcohol to any victim!

NOTE: Survival time duration in each individual will vary depending of one's physical condition, its clothing, the sea condition itself and its temperature etc.

The following data is only an average indication for an average adult in cold sea at 10C or 50F wearing a cotton shirt, pants, socks & sneakers.

1) Without life-jacket *

#Surescon method#: 1.5 hours

Dog paddling method: 2.0 hours

2) With life-jacket:

Swimming: 2.0 hours

Immobile: 2.7 hours

Foetus Position: 4.0 hours

Caucus Position: 4.0 hours

UVIC thermofloat: 9.5 hours


At first you MUST check the water temperature since a water that is too cold can bring a state of shock that would bring a sort of momentarily paralysis.

If the water is too cold you can cut or bring a tree to fall over the stream as improvised bridge or you can built a raft.****

Before attempting to ford a river climb any elevation or small hill and examine the river for the followings:

1) Check for the water level change, right where the river divides itself in many channels.

2) Spot on the other bank the possible obstacles which would hinder your moving and spot the SAFEST place to move easily.

3) Discover any rocky banks crossing the river which indicates the presence of rapids or canyons.

4) See if there are any tall shrubs indicating deeper water.

5) Except in still water the most shallow part is generally where the current is the widest.

6) Better to get wet feet deliberately than to attempt a hazardous passage across slippery logs or uncertain stepping stone. Caution is SAFER ALWAYS.


REMEMBER that one can read the character of a strange stream to a certain extent, from the formation of its banks and thus keep whenever reasonable to shallows.

Sheer banks are apt to continue their steepness beneath water as we all know, making for comparatively deep conditions nearby.

A gradual bank, on the either hand presupposes the likelihood of shoals although there are numerous exceptions that vary according to local geology. Once having found the gateway passage do this:

Test the water temperature. Remove your socks and put your shoes back on so as not to hurt your feet on slippery or cutting rocks.

Use a strong leaning pole that you place upstream so as to break the current and to offer you a better leaning point advantage. Also the pole will help to detect the holes in the river.

1) If possible choose a trajectory which would bring you to a 45 degree angle ahead of your crossing.

2) NEVER try to cross a river directly above a rapid, a fall or a deep water hole.

3) ALWAYS cross in a place permitting to end at a shallow bank in case you should fall.

4) AVOID any rocky banks because a fall in such a place could seriously wound you.

However an isolated rock will help you by slowing down the current and offering a leaning point.

5) Any packs will be held loosely enough to be swiftly disengaged if necessary.


If you are a swimmer, the pack can be wrapped in a ground-sheet that has its corners and loose-folds tied together.

This will support you who hold the pack in your hands and by kicking with your legs you can cross safely with your pack.

It is advisable to tie a short length of rope to the wrist so that if the pack slips from the hands it can be recovered.

It is inadvisable to try to swim a river while wearing walking boots. These should be taken off and placed with the pack in the ground-sheet.

If a party of 4 or more are crossing, tie 2 or 3 packs together after each has been put in its ground-sheet. One party stands by on the bank while the other party crosses.

ALWAYS place a layer of fern or grass or small brush beneath your pack before folding the ground-sheet on it.

If your ground-sheet leaks slightly, this precaution will give your pack an inch or two clearance and keep it dry.

With a frame rucksack, lay you frame uppermost-with a swag, place your swag roll and dilly bag side by side before folding the ground-sheet.

Swim hand over hand, on your back or on the side, it is less tiring and will permit you to carry a small pack by letting float on the river. Before swimming walk in the water to chest level.

In very deep water, enter slowly so as to AVOID any hidden underwater obstacles. In a deep and fast raging river; swim with the current in diagonal "/", of its direction.

It is not as complicated as it looks to swim down a rapid. In a rapid with high bottom turn on your back with your feet downstream, keep your body horizontal and your hands along your hips.

Agitate your hands as seals do. In a deep water rapid swim on your stomach in a diagonal direction.

AVOID convergent currants you could be sucked under water and kept there where they meet till doomsday. (1 hour later in Newfoundland!)



Having no life jacket you improvise one those 2 ways. If you are already in the water, remove your pants and tie a knot in each legs, zip up.

Grab a side of the belt and bring the pants vigorously forward over your head over the water. The air will remain captive inside the legs & you float.

If still on the banks, do the same, tie them with a string or just knot them, zip them up, throw yourselves in the water in doing the same over the head movement. MAKE SURE that it is deep enough so as not to hurt yourself.

The crutch is put across the chest and the 2 legs under the arms. By this mean any non swimmer can be taken across a river with safety.

The experienced swimmer who may have to travel for some distance along a river will find his trousers or long-sleeved shirt a veritable life-saver if used in this matter.

He can thread water while inflating the legs and they will remain buoyant from 10 minutes to a couple hour depending of the material that they are made.

One air crew man who bailed out into the sea kept himself afloat for more than 38 hours by this means.


This floater pants method should even go to raft since it is in a way a cousin relation.

Bring together sailing and raft. Either sea, river, jungle or lakes its all the same***


Ice travel can NEVER be considered safe, inasmuch as even when temperatures drop 100 degree below freezing some parts of Northern not only ALWAYS remains open but other portions are sheathed with ice so thin that it will scarcely support its own weight.

Overflow creates other hazardous conditions. So does the dropping of water levels, leaving great sheets of ice suspended. As for cracks of various widths and depths they are ever characteristic.

Other DANGERS build up when an insulating rug of snow shields ice from the hardening effects of cold, while running water beneath is eroding it.

When ice is bare, its quality of magnification -which makes possible the use of lens of ice to start a campfire-can under the glare of sunlight create temperature DANGEROUSLY above thawing.

Safety cannot ALWAYS consist in keeping off ice, for if we are making our way through a northern wilderness in winter, particularly under emergency conditions.

Ice travel may very likely open the most practical routes. The solution MUST lie instead in taking all reasonable safety precautions while on ice.


At Spring: Ice along the shore thaws making the immediate problem one of reaching the still solid mass father out.

The procedure usually is to follow the shore until a jam or some other approach such as a series of rock is located.

DANGERS of ice travel multiply rapidly at this time of the year, when the sinking swish of snow enlivens the land, and not the least of the hazards then arising is that imposed by candle ice.

Ice will still seem solid to the inexperienced eyes when, in fact, it has disintegrated to candle ice so treacherous that anyone not knowing any better may step on an apparently stable area and sink through is as if it was slush.

The unexpectedness with which this can happen may be better appreciated when we realise that ice several feet thick often decomposes into long vertical needles, and that among these the testing pole can be driven all the way through in a single jab.

Candle ice, which has caused the drowning of numerous sourdoughs & natives, is best shunned entirely particularly because of the difficulty of regarding safety after you get into troubles.


An elementary safeguard to take whenever you can during ice travel or at all times for that matter is to carry a long light pole.

Upon ice you carry it horizontally which if you plunge unexpectedly below the general level as it is possible anywhere at any moment.

It can serve automatically as a bridge both to check the descent and to an afford a ready means of extraction.

The practice of bearing a slender length of dry wood becomes less a nuisance than second nature.

With it you can jab at suspicious portions ahead such as those hidden beneath snow or under a frozen skim of overflow.


The possibility to travel without problems on snowy ground directly depends of the following factors:

1) Your ability to use and to make needed equipment such as skis, snowshoes. Whatever the snow conditions, skis are the faster mode of travelling.

No experience is needed to move using snowshoes, but if you have experience you will move farther with less effort and with more speed.

2) In soft or deep snow, skiing becomes exhausting, then it is better to use snowshoes. A slight crust covering the snow favours skis, and a very hard crust facilitates feet walking.

3) To walk in soft of deep snow, make up snowshoes using willow or any other evergreen tree, a #fendoir#, thongs, steel wire, rope, etc.

If you are near a crashed plane, seats bottoms, & other metallic parts can be used.


You will do the best you can and in a pinch this action may hinge on the fact that one can often get along much better than otherwise by the very simple expediency of attaching broad light evergreen boughs to the feet.

You may be able to travel without even these aids by sticking where snow is the thinnest, along the edges of streams scoured by wind.

On top of northern rims and benches where the melting sun has made its influence felt, and in heavy evergreen groves where storms have not fallen so deeply.

Windy Chinook winds that some Indians call snow-eaters are so pleasantly prevalent in many northern areas that there one seldom has to take to webs.

If you ever do have to improvise snowshoes, you will get a rough idea of how to proceed from the picture.

Where obstructions are not too thick, the circular bear-paw type will be the simplest to build and use. A narrower and longer shoe will be ESSENTIAL if you have to follow a tighter trail.

Frames can be made by bending live wood into the desired shape green saplings being thawed first of course in sunlight or near the fire if sap is frozen. Strips of rawhide will make satisfactory emergency webbing.

Animals on the party are sometimes killed to furnish these items as when a pack outfit is trapped in the mountains by early autumn blizzard.

You can use the green strips. These should be heavier where the foot is directly supported.

A slick going, portions of hide attached beneath the snowshoes with the hair facing back may help to decrease slipping in upgrades.

Rope is also employed for webbing, although it is a nuisance in frigid going because of the manner in which it continues to stretch as cold deepens.

It may have to be loosened in slushy travel, on the other hand, lest it pulls and brakes the frames.

Rawhide also happens to be an annoyance under these later conditions, sagging and stretching as it does when wet.

One pair of emergency webs that got their wearer out of the bush was strung with snare wire, around each strand of which moose hide strips had been twisted. It worked quite well.

The size of snowshoes will be govern by conditions. They will be preferably as small and as light as will support one on the snow over which he has to travel.

If this forest covering is deep and soft, the shoes may have to be 6 feet long and one foot wide. The webbing, too should then be closer together.

Many northern trappers prefer to attach webs to their feet with a simple harness made of some fabric, lamp wicking being the favourite.

You may also use a single broad strap, lacing it to the snowshoes so as to provide a loop into which the instep can be trusted.

In any event you will want the front of the snowshoes to swing up out of the way by its own weight when the foot is lifted.

There is no intricate technique to snowshoeing. Just put them on and start walking. Various improvisations will suggest themselves according to particular circumstances.

When the going gets tough some old timers help themselves along simply by knotting a line to the tip of each snowshoe so that they can assist by hand the swinging of the web up & ahead each step.

Sustaining the assertion that 1/2 the confusion of the world comes from not realizing how little we need. The other half is by how to pay for it before it goes out of style or wears out.

An improvised bow drill may be used for drilling snowshoes frames. The point may be made from a nail or wire.


All polar travel is strenuous and should be attempted on by a fit person if possible.

On snow with a hard crust ski are the best means of travel though difficult to improvise. Skiing in deep loose snow takes great effort and in soft snow, snow shoes are best.


To walk in snow shoes lift each foot without angling it. Unlike a normal stride keeping shoe as flat to the ground as possible.

Bend a long green sapling back on itself to form a loop and secure ends firmly. Add crosspieces and twine- the more the better.

But do not make the shoes too heavy. You will not be able to walk far without getting very tired. Allow a firmer central section to attach to your foot.


Although the winter fiction closes the northern wilderness, the winter of reality opens up such country.

Frozen streams provide highways through regions otherwise difficult to penetrate. Along the edges of rivers, a smooth icy side walk is often repaved week after week by congealing overflow.

For those on snowshoes the deepening whiteness becomes a level carpet over jackpots of brush and tangled deadfall.

Because of both ices & snow therefore one is often able to save hours & even days of travel by proceeding on a straight line that otherwise would be impossible to do on foot.


There are other reasons why anyone who finds himself stranded in White N. America is that winter will in some respects have a better chance of getting out than in any other seasons.

2 of these reasons arise from the fact that the colder it becomes the farther it is possible to see & to hear.


When temperature falls 80 to 90 below freezing point, the ring of axes 5 miles downstream resound distinctively at one's camp.

On still days when the temperature rises close to the melting point one can not hear more than 1/3 to 1/2 half of that distance away.

It is often difficult especially for someone stranger to primitive regions to determine from what direction a sound is coming. This ability we can develop with practice.

But in the mean time, one way to get a bearing when the noise is prolonged enough is to turn the head until the noise seems the loudest.

Holding a hand over one ear may help make this more perceptible. Closing the eyes also reduces distractions for some individuals.

If you have an opportunity of course you will stand in an open place as far as possible from any broad reflecting surface such as a cliff.



Experience shows the best policy is to stay near an aircraft or disabled vehicle. If the spot is hazardous reestablish a safe shelter as close by as possible.

A decision to walk out will be based on nearness to civilisation & probability of rescue. Decide early what to do-while you can still think clearly. Cold dulls the mind.


Navigation is difficult on featureless ice and tundra. Ice movement pushes up ridges that make the going treacherous. Summer melt water making the tundra boggy and even sea ice slushy underfoot.


Clouds over open water timber or snow free ground appears black below. Over sea ice and snowfield = white. New ice produces greyish reflections mottled ones indicate pack ice or drifted snow.


Travel downstream by raft in summer on the ice in winter except in northern Siberia where rivers flow North. (Assbackward!)

On frozen rivers keep to smoother ice at edges and to outer curve on bends. Where 2 rivers join follow outside edge or take to outer bank. If river has many bends leave ice and travel by higher ridges.


Mountains peaks are exposed to high winds and often covered in snow. They provide neither food nor shelter.

Climbing rock and negotiating ice and snowfield calls for special skills that are best learned first hand in mountaineering schools and practised under supervision.

No inexperienced person should think of trying to tackle real mountaineering territory, except as a learner with a properly organised party.

But disaster may leave you on a mountainside or force you to cross a mountain range to get to safety. If no rescue is likely, the first aim in daylight should be to get down into the valleys where food and shelter are available.

At night and in bad visibility this is too DANGEROUS. Some kind of shelter MUST BE found until visibility improves. Dig into snow if there is no shelter among rocks and no wreckage to provide cover.

If below the snow line you MUST cover yourself to prevent exposure. A plastic bag will make an improvised sleeping bag, if you have no survival kit.

Salvage blankets or covering from a crashed plane or use any clothing to cover yourself as much as possible. But do not pull clothes too tightly around you; the air within the clothes will provide insulation.

On a slope, sleep with your head uphill, on rough and stony ground sleep on your stomach for greater comfort.