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8 January, 1997

Survival Strategies

The survival school was wonderfully sucessful. My group finished our setup by about 5:30 in the evening. Were we able to sit and watch the sun set? Why?

The meal was a trail dinner much like you would take on a backpacking trip. We also had hot chocolate, soup and trail mix with lots of nuts and raisins. The Scott tent has no floor in it. We tie a rope to the top, raise it and sink deadman stakes on all sides. The tent side flaps are then burried in snow. A dead man stake means that you dig a trench about 100 centimeters into the snow perpendicular to the tie down, then undercut it the size of the metal piece, then slip a knot from the tie down rope onto the 30 cm cylinder metal piece and wedge it into the undercut part of the trench making sure the rope is straight and tight. If you do this for all the tiedowns your tent will be secure in the strongest of winds. Can you draw what this would look like?

Once up, the Scott tent has a tarp placed in on the snow to serve as a floor. This makes for a realy nice tent. In mid-afternoon the wind came up and it began to snow lightly. We were warm. The other group was having some difficulties so we offered hot water and protection from the wind by sitting by the wind wall.

As we got ready for bed there was much discussion about having to get up during the night. Do we need a flashlight? Do you snore? "Certainly not" said the loudest one."Oh, I never have to go during the night" said one person while the other said "Let me apologize right now for waking you 3 or 4 times as I scramble out of the tent during the night." What is it about the Scott tent that makes it such a scramble? I simply slept through the night without waking up at all. Do you beleive me? ; ) What tricks did we use to stay warm?

The next day after breakfast we broke camp and went to a hut nearby to discuss the experience. This was followed by a simulated resue of a lost person in a white out situation, something that occures frequently here. What would you do if suddenly the fog closed in on you and all you could see was as far as your boots - and it is blowing 40mph and about -20degrees? Or, if you discovered that you were missing someone in your party, what would you do to rescue them? Think about that and let me know. I will tell you later just what my group did and how we found the missing person. My reward for the school is learning a lot of valuable information, being much more aware of how important safety and survival knowledge is and receiving a colorful patch from survival school.

The Nathaniel B. Palmer research vessel is coming in to the harbor tonight and I plan on beihng there to watch. More later.

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