Survival challenge in the Sierra with Bear Grylls. July found us in the Sierra Nevada's mountains of California near Yosemite National Park. I had just been introduced to the production team for a new episode of " Man vs. Wild" with presenter, Bear Grylls. Some tips for surviving a mountain river.
Survival Challenge in the Sierra
The team also included two rock climbing consultants from Utah who had consulted for the season 1, Moab episode. Great guys. Their expertise included keeping Bear Grylls safe when climbing on the sheer granite rock.
Chris Zissler, retired combat medic British Army, was on hand to help with security and medical emergencies. Consultant Celeste Cole, Simon Reay on camera, Pete Lee, on sound, and Emanuella MacClean(Manu), my boss and assistant producer. And of course the executive producer Wayne Derrick.
Did Bear use a knife?
Did you follow this show and if so did you watch the Sierra Nevada episode? Do you recall the knife Bear was using? If you do remember then leave the type and name of the knife in the comment section of this post.
What part of the episode did you enjoy the most?
I enjoyed the float down the Merced River the best. Bear was demonstrating how to protect the body from rocks if swept away downstream in a river. I can verify these tips work because I have used them myself, more than once.
Survival tip. How to float in a swift moving river and survive.
- As soon as you can put your feet out in front of you
- Have feet apart to help with flotation
- Adjust your torso and feet as you float to keep from spinning.
- Use your arms to row like an oar to help direct your route downstream.
- move to the shore as fast as possible
During Bears challenge of floating in a hard current downstream. He suddenly encountered underwater boulders and rocks. Rocks are difficult to see when the water is high and current strong.
That's why it's important to position your body correctly if caught in a strong river current.
Bear was swept quickly downstream and struck several of the unseen rocks hard. In spring and early summer the Sierra rivers are ice cold with snow melt. A quick dunk in that freezing water will take the very breath from you.
Thrown into a fast moving river
Having been thrown from a raft into the Tuolumne River, a class 5 river by the way, at high water was no joke. This happened to me a couple of times. One time, the raft I was in flipped on a rock throwing us all out into the fast moving water.
It took a moment to orient myself as I was instantly caught in the current. Then briefly choking on a mouthful of water, I kicked my feet out in front of me and let the river carry me swiftly downstream. After several minutes I was able to swim to an eddy of slack water near the shore unhurt.
Makeshift flotation device
Life jackets are required gear when floating a river and from personal experience I appreciated the extra flotation they provide. In this episode Grylls swam across a slow part of the Merced River using his pants as a flotation device. He tied off the sleeve ends, zipped up the jacket, captured air, and swam across. It worked well.
Survival Challenge of the Sierra
Much of the season 1 episode 6 took place in the area of the ancient homeland of the Western Sierra Mono peoples. I would like to thank Derrick Hitchcock, representative of the tribe. And especially my friend and author Galen D. Lee. Galen is a descendant of the Pomona family, traditional leaders of the Nim's Eagle Clan. Galen's support and knowledge helped to make this production a great success.
We are happy to be home again after three weeks of consulting in the beautiful Sierra's. To rejuvenate we took few days off and spent the late summer days walking on the beach and the dunes of home.
Then back to the adventure of wilderness survival. Teaching people just like you how to make it in the wild, and back out alive.