This simple piece of survival advice could save your life – Colorado Springs Gazette

Spencer McKee on the Quandary Peak summit (14,265′) on a day that was supposed to be wind-free with blue skies. That ended up not being the case.

Spencer McKee on the Quandary Peak summit (14,265′) on a day that was supposed to be wind-free with blue skies. That ended up not being the case.
As the winter season takes hold, the risk of exploring Colorado’s backcountry increases immensely. Each year, as temperatures drop and snow starts falling, a single line of survival advice from Jason Marsteiner of The Survival University stands out: “In Colorado, it won’t be lack of food or water that kills you; it’ll be the exposure.”
Marsteiner went on to explain that with how extensive Colorado’s search and rescue network is, you’ll most likely be found prior to the three days it takes to die of thirst, making it important to plan ahead so that you don’t succumb to the elements before that.
In general, the number three is a good one to remember when thrust into a survival situation.
Immediate concerns such as blood loss and throat blockage can kill you in three minutes and must be addressed first. Exposure to dangerous winter elements can kill you in three hours. Lack of water can kill you in three days. And, typically, someone can last for around three weeks without food.
When it comes to the three-hour exposure rule, it’s important to remember that harsher conditions might mean even less time. Coupled with the fact that most search and rescue missions take longer than three hours in winter conditions, this makes it crucial to have protection from the exposure that you can trust.
Invest in good layers, triple-check that you pack those layers before every adventure, and practice redundancy in case something gets wet or lost. Always bring multiple pairs of socks and gloves to protect your extremities, and expect weather to worsen throughout the day.
It’s important that you’re prepared to spend the night on the mountain. That might sound silly when you’re planning a day hike, but things can go wrong regardless of skill level.
While exploring Colorado this winter, remember that exposure is probably the deadliest thing you’ll face. Be prepared and take it seriously, even if it means packing extra weight.
Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado’s Director of Content and Operations, often found reporting on outdoor recreation news. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run.
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Spencer McKee on the Quandary Peak summit (14,265′) on a day that was supposed to be wind-free with blue skies. That ended up not being the case. Spencer McKee on the Quandary Peak summit (14,265′) on a day that was supposed to be wind-free with blue skies. That ended up not being the case.As the…

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