Suicide mission

Discussion in 'Survival Stories' started by Locktime, Jan 25, 2016.

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  1. Locktime

    Locktime Well-Known Member
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    I grew up in the Western United States in the 1970's. From the age of 4, I was turned loose in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. I spent all of my formative years in the Desolation Wilderness that surrounded the home that my Father built. My Sister and I were latch key kids. The area were we lived was sparsely populated. We learned to be independent. The subject of survival was by the very nature of where we lived, intertwined with our lives. Though we didn't live off the grid, we lived in a rugged and harsh place. Snow in Winter, at times unrelenting, 6 or more feet. Cold. We learned to live in the cold in Winter, to build fires, even as preteens. We had the understanding of self reliance just based on necessity. My Father with all of his failings, gave me the greatest gift in having me grow up in this place. I became part of it. In the Summer, the area was mine. Fishing the clear lakes and streams, shooting birds with wrist rockets, bows, and BB guns. Hiking and exploring. Solitude. Clean air and fresh water.
    All of these years later, I spend most of my time working just 2 miles from my childhood home. I live 30 miles away and commute in.
    Survival. My commute, from my home to work and back again is 60 miles through the heart of the Sierra. Over a 7740ft elevation peak, navigating steep, snowy, icy roads with temperatures that dip to more than 20 below zero. In Winter, the wind and white outs of blowing snow are so bad, that you have no idea where along your way that you are. A steep cliff to one side, jagged rocks to the other. Often no guard rails to save you. 20 miles of the worst of this commute is a cellular "dead zone". Unforgiving.
    With the unwillingness to sleep at work, many times I have ventured home in white out conditions in what I referred to as a "suicide mission". Brave or stupid sometimes.
    Even in more favorable conditions, with the cold and ice, ANY minor issue of vehicle breakdown can be a life of death situation. A flat tire, a broken fan belt, or sliding off the road can put you in a bad spot. Too many people come to this area unprepared. I have been doing this commute for 15 years. I carry with me the gear to help me stay alive. Not your simple 3 day bug out bag for Florida. The key to survival here is fighting off the misery of the conditions so you can function. Cold makes you miserable. Misery kills the will. I carry a bag with cold weather gear, both Summer and Winter. Military grade ECWCS gore tex clothing, headgear, gloves, goggles, boots. I carry a Winter bag with tarps, wool blankets, sleeping system, rain gear etc. Multiple ways to make fire, signaling equiptment, stove, fuel, water, food. HAM radio, compass, Ect. The vehicle is 4x4. Shovel, come along, chains, tire chains, jumpers, wedge blocks, snow shoes, ski poles, etc.

    I also try out my gear, to see what is realistic or where I may be fooling myself. In really terrible wind snow conditions, even with the snow shoes, it's better to hunker down and keep warm as possible, and ride out the storm.
    In the last month, I drove into a bad storm to test out some gear. I was alone, and the conditions were horrific. Even with a compass I was honestly too scared to venture out. It was white out conditions at the highest elevation. I decided to go down 300 feet where conditions were not as bad, and suit up with gear and snow shoes. While travel was doable, unless a complete emergency, it would have been wiser to make camp and ride it out. The conditions of winds and snow would have cut my survivability to a 50/50 level, even at this lower elevation. If you can stay with your car, that is the best option. Everyday is an adventure.
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    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016
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