Montana’s majestic outdoors attracts recreationalists year round. But, during the winter, severe storms can put even the most prepared enthusiast in jeopardy.
Kila’s Mark Brust knows that all too well. In January of 2012, Mark and his wife took a day ski trip into Glacier’s back country to Bowman Lake.
But the problems started almost immediately. Bad weather rolled in. The trail turned tough. Mark made a mistake in navigation. Then, with seven miles to go, his wife’s bindgins froze after they crossed a creek. That was the last straw.
A year later, he remembers it from the comfort of his Flathead Valley home. “We found ourselves stranded some place we didn’t want to be, but it wasn’t really safe to go home.”
Mark looked for shelter and broke open his pack. What he had in there had to last two people overnight.
“It was cold, and actually, it was really cold,” Mark said. “But we had a fire that I'm surprised you couldn't see from Kalispell. I carried a saw and that saved the day because it allowed me to cut basically 8-inch lodge pole into eight foot sections.”
But he had more in there: an emergency blanket, wool clothes an emergency locator beacon that tells rescuers your exact location.
The one thing Mark wished for? A tin can, or cup. Something to use to melt snow. After all, survival rules are simple. Most people will die in three days without water.
Experts recommend you take care of your hands first. After all, if your fingers are numb, you can’t build a fire or cut branches to line a shelter.
Survivalists break it down into four easy concepts that spell out the word COLD: keep clothing clean, avoid overheating, wear clothes loose and in layers and keep clothing dry.