Author Topic: AAR of the Tactical Response Winter Survival Class January 17-18 in Indiana  (Read 3145 times)

James Yeager

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This was written by my Wilderness Survival Instructor Russ Kolkman AKA "WETSU"

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Well, we just walked out of the snowy Indiana woods a couple hours ago. It was a small class, but the students were total studs for having stepped up and taken this class. Both have solid outdoors experience, ranging from wilderness EMT, boating, camping, and SAR to hunting. Good dudes.

The rules were a bit different than the regular Wilderness Survival Class, in that the students could bring s small BoB. Nobody totally cheated and brought a -20 Snukpak. Mostly 55 gallon contractor bags, space blankets, 550 cord, panchos, and small bits of survival gear, maybe a Clif bar.

I brought a loaded large ALICE with a bunch of survival gear for the students to try out and test as well as a gortex bivy, a jungle bag and a few Clif bars, in case anyone got in trouble. I also brought some sections of parachute nylon or tarp to assist in hasty shelter constuction.

We started out Saturday morning at 0900. It was in the single digits. We set about laying out some sort of group shelter area, to make our own micro climate, hoping for maybe a 10 degree temp diff. We accomplished that. The pieces of tarp helped a lot. There were 15-25 mph winds all day.



Here is the start of our home for the next 24 hours.


Sailor loading up his bag with dry grass to insulate his shelter floor.


Making progress. Time spent here will pay dividends later-hopefully.


Sailor walking off a tib/fib fracture. Winter Wilderness 1st aid lab.


Riverdog, who is a certified Wilderness EMT, showing us the difficulty in applying a splint and sling to yourself.


While we rendered a lot of snow into water throughout the day and night, we also got some from a hole chopped in the ice. We used the Steripen and also a Katadyn tablet. We used our only cooking can to refill a one gallon ziplock bag with water and keep in our camp. The wind and temp out on the ice was fierce compared to up in the woods, by our shelters. Hands became numb flippers in minutes.


Squirrel, it whats for dinner. Thanks to Sailor who brought along a recent kill to share. That and pine needle tea was an outstanding meal.


Practicing setting up snares.


Mmm Mmmm, enjoying a lukewarm can of ash water early Sunday morning. It was a long cold night. While it got up to 25 during the day, a windy cold front moved in during the night, dropping 10 degrees and dumping another inch and a half of snow on us. All during the night off and on, we heard THIS going on. They were maybe 200-300 yards away in an open field. Very cool.


A little project during down time. The snow was really powdery, so the decking would need fleshed out with pine branches, or other strapping. It was a good start.

This was a great class. The sun came out enough today to practice a bit with signal mirrors. We also did a bit more on land nav, plotted UTM coordinates, and did some drills on bearings etc. But like anything, the students will need to make payments. We ended with selecting two more shelter sites and making fires again.