Things didn’t look good for 66-year-old Yong Kim…
What started out as a bright, cheery day of leading his 16-member hiking group onto the trails of Washington’s Mt. Rainier National Park turned into a fight for his life as he led them back down Paradise Mountain when an unexpected winter storm moved into the area.
In the near whiteout conditions, Kim suddenly lost his footing and slide 150 ft down an icy embankment, separating him from the rest of his team.
Fortunately uninjured, Kim radioed his group and told them to keep pushing on and he’d meet them further up the trail.
However, momentarily dazed from the fall, Kim began traveling in the wrong direction.
It soon sank in that he was completely lost, alone, his radio broken from a second fall, and he had only packed enough supplies for a simple day-hike.
For 2 Days, Kim Wandered In Circles In The Wilderness, Desperately Seeking His Way Back Home…
Exhausted, out of options and fearing the worst, Kim dug a small snow cave, but the tiny shelter wasn’t enough to keep him warm in the freezing conditions.
Surrounded by wood too wet from the storm to ignite with his pocket lighter, he fished around in his pockets for something – ANYTHING – that could burn long enough to become a fire.
Suddenly his cold, stiff fingers rested on the one thing he’d brought with him that he thought was worthless in his situation – but turned out to be the break he needed to save his life…
… a one dollar bill!
Kim was surprised at how well the money burned… and used the small flame to ignite the NEXT dollar bill.
Six dollars later, there was enough of a flame to continue to burn anything he could find to keep the fire going – his extra socks, some bandages from his first aid kit, a Nylon scarf, and even a toothbrush.
It bought him the time he needed as the wintery conditions let up and he was found by the dozens of park rangers, rescue dogs, volunteers and searchers from several rescue organizations as they scoured the snowy mountain terrain searching for him.
Kim’s “survival advice”…
…“Money made for the best fire. Nylon socks… not so great!”
If You, Your Spouse, Children, Or Grand-Children Ever Find Yourselves “Lost And Alone”, Here Are 3 Critical Survival Lessons From Kim’s Crisis You Need To Know…
You may never lead a snowshoeing expedition up the side of a mountain in the middle of winter – but doesn’t prevent you from sharing Kim’s fight to stay alive.
It could be a day hike with the family… kids who wandered too far from a campsite… you track a wounded deer on a hunting trip when you suddenly look up and realize you don’t recognize your surroundings… or your family vehicle breaks down in the middle of nowhere or is stopped for days by a winter storm.
Here are 3 critical lessons from Kim’s crisis that will get you or a loved one home alive…
1. Don’t Try To “Find” Your Way Out
Sure, it seems like the only logical thing to do…
I mean, you were right there… on the trail… “it has to be here somewhere!”, right?
The #1 piece of advice from Search & Rescue teams is to stay put as soon as you realize you’re lost.
The fact is, more people die from exposure after becoming lost because they wander aimlessly, desperately believing that safety is just over the hill or around the bend.
Rescue teams will begin their search at your last known location so the further you walk, the further away you are from their start point… the more team members it will take to cover a wider area… and the lower your chances of making it out alive.
Wait to be “found” instead of trying to “find” your way back.
2. Don’t Expose Yourself
While waiting for help to arrive, you must find a way to protect yourself from the elements.
Even in the summer – especially at higher elevations, at night, or in rainy, windy conditions – temperatures can drop drastically, and you can die from hypothermia at temperatures even in just the low 60’s!
You don’t need to be a wilderness survival expert to build a shelter – a simple lean-to “fort” near the trunk of a thick tree or under a rock overhang can provide quite a bit of protection from the wind and rain.
This is another reason why I have several Tact Bivvy mylar survival bags – all dispersed in areas like my truck’s glove box… my day pack… and of course my bugout bag.
These mylar “survival bags” are super tiny to store anywhere and can be used to waterproof a shelter or keep you warm in even just a t-shirt down to 40-below.
I have both the green ones and the orange ones because the orange ones work great to act as a signal for being seen in any weather or terrain by air and ground search teams.
3. Mmm! Fire, Good!
After creating a shelter, your next priority is likely to build a fire.
This can act as a signal for rescue as well as to keep you dry, warm, and your spirits high.
But let me warn you…
If you think rubbing two sticks together is going to build you a bonfire… then you’ve obviously never tried rubbing two sticks together!
A small Bic lighter is cheap and can slip into your pocket or any day pack.
Unfortunately, they’re “cheap” for a reason and for survival purposes, I’m not a huge fan because they run out of fuel relatively quickly and can break pretty easily if you fall or step on them by accident.
A better option is something like the old school Zippo lighters because they’re metal so they’re better protected and they stay lit until you flip the top back onto them.
The only drawbacks are that they’re kinda big and bulky and expensive because they’re “collector items”.
There are a lot of different “survival lighters” on the market now – from weatherproof wooden matches to electric lighters – but the one I’ve found to be the most useful is the tiny metal “survival capsule”.
This thing is so tiny, it fits into my trusty “fire kit” (go Altoids!)… it’s super durable… cheap… and can be literally be lit over 1,000 times – in any weather conditions – so you don’t have to worry about using last week’s paycheck as a fire-starter!
When you need to get a blaze going fast – especially when it’s you vs. Mother Nature and she’s winning with a right hook of freezing rain, high winds, or wet wood – you can’t play around.
Get a fire started fast… keep it going… and wait for help to come.