This simple survival tip could save your life
The winter season is upon us and with it the risk of exploring the Colorado backcountry increases dramatically. Each year as the temperatures drop and the snow begins to fall, I remember a single line of survival advice shared with me by Jason Marsteiner of Survival University while researching an OutThere story. Colorado which I wrote years ago.
“In Colorado, it won’t be the lack of food or water that is killing you, it will be the exposure,” Marsteiner said.
Marsteiner continued, explaining that with the extent of Colorado’s search and rescue network, you’ll most likely be found before the three days it takes to die of thirst, so it’s important to plan ahead so not to succumb to the elements before that.
In general, the number three is good to remember when suddenly plunged into a survival situation.
Immediate problems, such as blood loss or a blocked throat, can kill you in three minutes and should be treated first. Exposure can kill you in three hours. Lack of water can kill you in three days. And generally, a person can go about 3 weeks without food.
As temperatures begin to drop and wintry weather sets in, it’s important to remember this three-hour exposure rule. In more difficult conditions, this time could be even shorter. Coupled with the fact that most search and rescue missions take over three hours in winter conditions, so having exposure protection you can trust is crucial.
Author’s Note: This article is about winter, but the exposure rule also applies in summer. Be prepared whatever the season.
Invest in good diapers, triple check that you have those diapers in your bag before each adventure, and practice redundancy in case something gets wet or lost.
Always bring several pairs of socks and gloves to protect your extremities and be prepared for the weather to worsen throughout the day, even if that is not what the forecast predicts.
It is important that you are prepared to spend the night on the mountain. It might sound silly when planning a day hike, but things can go wrong no matter what your skill level is.
As you explore Colorado this winter, remember that exposure is possibly the deadliest thing you will ever encounter. Be prepared and take it seriously, even if it means packing a little extra weight.
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