Wilderness SURVIVAL

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By Gabriel Esquivel
Executive Director of NORTHLATITUDE (C.A.C.E.N)
Wilderness Survival instructor - Orienteering, Land Navigation and GPS.
Mountaineer and adventurer.
Military (R) of the Argentine Air Force specialized in systems (computing and statistics) and English language.
Chosen by DISCOVERY CHANNEL in Argentina as survival instructor for the Challenge Discover casting Mexico 2015.
This article was written by Gabriel in English language.


GET READY FOR THE UNEXPECTED, a wise saying teaches

On some occasions, it is possible you may have known the word "Survival" and certainly it has been through several information covered by the media which is part of our life in the city, like television, radio, magazines, newspapers, internet, films or others. Besides, it is also possible you may have listened or read about the bad experience lived by the "Survivors of the Andes" that occurred in 1972 on the Cordillera de los Andes (a mountain range located among the countries of Argentine and Chile in South America), situation that had a worldwide impact that still continues to be the reason for its study, even for the scientists from N.A.S.A. (National Aeronautic of Space Administration) or other specialists. Now, closer to our time, other situations related to the survival may be those issued in some important television shows such as the Discovery Channel or others, where usually you can learn about some survival techniques, all of them taught by specialists in the matter, taking place on diverse natural grounds from different parts of the world.

Well, the word "Survival" can basically be understood by different interpretations and concepts which can be attributed from the individual or collective human imagination but mainly, all the interpretations converge towards a same meaning and it means "survive". Personally, I define it in the following way:

Is the action of surviving of the humans beings when they are in adverse circumstances
of being lost in unknown, wild and hostile terrains, far away from the immediate assistance from other
persons who can save their lives, making use of the available means and natural resourses
and also, depending on their physical and psychological factors and with the objective of
coming successfully out from that bad situation.

How to act before the circumstance of being lost in the nature

One recommendation is the prevention and its application is a wise display of the spirit of our human nature which means first of all, be aware that before leaving your home to go into the wilderness covered by a hostile natural environment for a period of time, the circumstances of getting lost may occur and therefore, it is recommendable to take the necessary precaution to prevent unintentionally being involved in a bad moment like that. Then, if it is possible to take a "survival course" oriented for wild natural areas, always with professionals qualified and recognized in the matter, that would be much better for you. The idea is that if you are suddenly involved in a survival situation, you´d better know in advance how to act and defended yourself by means of the practice previously acquired in the aforementioned course. The outdoor activities that take place in natural places where sometimes somebody decides to go voluntarily may unexpectedly originate that you suddenly may be involved in an emergency and this generally happen when someone develop activities of the kind of recreation, sports, competition, exploration or others alike, generally associated with the disciplines of mountaineering, trekking, racing adventure, hiking or similar, in natural land characterized by mountains, jungles, forests, deserts, glaciers, sea or others.

Another situation that may appear unexpectedly and as historically happened many times is that the commercial airline or military aircrafts crewmembers and passengers need to survive in the wilderness located far away from the cities because for example, an aircraft crashed on the ground or splashed down in the water where this shows that this of situation could happen due to circumstances that sometimes go beyond from the human control. In both cases and if it happened, the survivors are subject to the typical dangers and pressure of human in an unknown land where most of the them are not mentally ready to accept that they are involved in a situation of that nature.

The fact of going into the wilderness to carry out any type of activity doesn´t mean you don´t have to be prepared to face that eventuality because, you need to know that we as human beings would never know if sometimes we could unexpectedly be surviving in the middle of the cold weather of a mountain, under the heat and lack of water of a desert, disoriented in a woodland, etc, where in order to survive, we will need to avail ourselves, depending in part, on the luck we may have in the terrain and also, depending on our human survival instinct to successfully come out from that undesirable moment. Now, if a group of people is surviving on a mountain at 4,000 meters height, they should know that in part they would depend on those objective factors such as physical features and climate of the terrain and subjective factors that have to do with the survivors themselves, to look after of some of them who would need care about their health. Among those fundamental decisions that should be held in view of any critical situation for the human life is an evaluation about the current situation and for that purpose, it is advisable first, to calm down in order to be able of thinking and make an acceptable decision-making process which would allow you to design an emergency plan of possibly later evacuation under that unexpected moment under the pressure of that situation to preserve all the possible human life. If you can calm down, then, you could think in a clear way. This is where when under that unforeseen moment the personality of a Leader of the group would come up to psychologically calm dawn and guide to all of them.

In the event of GETTING LOST, what you should apply on the ground depending on the situation, are the following techniques that basically are procedures to be made as follow, ever according to the present situation:

Cursos de Supervivencia, Orientación, Navegación Terrestre y GPS de NORTHLATITUDE www.northlatitude.com.ar

Art and design: Gabriel F. Esquivel.

Survival and its origin over the time

It can be said that survival has acquired a remote origin if we are mentally located in the timeline of humanity and precisely. it would have their roots from the presence of the prehistoric man on earth, who lived in true wild natural environments who lived in natural SHELTERS such as caves or others alike, needed to find WATER from rivers or other sources of water, hunted to get FOOD and eat, made FIRE for cooking, for light at night and fend off from wild animals, etc, built TOOLS to defend for example and carried out some HUNTING activities using primitive weapons and lived in GROUPS, among others. Now, if we return closer to our present time, the survival has been acquiring a gradual and fundamental importance from the survival experiences lived by crewmembers from aircrafts and marines from the navy who participated in the I and II World War and those situations generated that at the end of those wars, the military commanders become aware and decided they needed to educate to its military staff on survival skills in view of those experiences lived during both conflicts because, many of them had to survive on wild and remote lands, sometimes located about hundreds or thousands of kilometers away of their hometowns, away from the civilization and families. For example, it was true that some aircrafts crashed on the ground or splashed down in the water or some shipwreck occurred where as well the crewmembers or the marine, sailors had to approach with luck to some nearby islands to survive as it happened on the Pacific ocean, being that they needed to be adapted to those natural environments.

With all of these I briefly try to explain you is that a person or a group of them can unexpectedly be involved in what it would be the beginning of a survival situation which usually could happen at an unexpected time and place. Being prepared and trained in the matter is a key and wise factor that count on your behalf and, it would be the result of how to defend yourself if you get lost but, I think that many, even myself, we wouldn´t know how to act until the moment we really get lost because in this way, if we get lost in the nature, that will be a proof for our survival. Anyway, who have more knowledge and experience about survival skills, will have too many possibilities to survive although, the human survival instinct and the luck are determinant key factors to go ahead to succeed.

The reasons of the Survival origin may be different, for example:

• A commercial airline that is declared in emergency in flight and must land (on the ground) or splash down (in the water).

• An adventurer, a hiker or a nature lover who is about to walk alone in an unexplored forest and get lost.

• A group of mountaineers who get disoriented in the middle of an expedition who besides, don´t have a magnetic compass and that situation might be the reason they get lost in that environment in the presence of the third dimension (altitude) or simply a bad weather may take them by surprise.

• A family travelling in a 4 x 4 wheels vehicle who after having mechanical problems, they have no way to fix it who also, they haven´t taken precaution to carry a communications equipment with them or if they did it, they didn´t also carry no spare batteries to communicate with their family, friends or park rangers, police or gendarmerie staff for further assistance.



Photo from the survival course I taught in natural areas close to the city of Villa Regina – Province of Rio Negro-, where we set an “land-air” signals area, using the figure of the S.O.S. built with woods and other diurnal and nocturnal methods as a parachute, aluminum blankets and a fire that produced a dense smokeThis SAR (Search and Rescue) exercise was performed so that an aircraft which had taken off from the province of Neuquen can locate our position from the height as it successfully happened where the pilot of the aircraft took us this photo. This course was carried out in the island 62

Is this from that moment in which you are involved in a survival situation and you must realize and accept the truth that you are in a very delicate situation where you must take the necessary extra measures according to what is going on for the conservation of your life with the aim to save yourself and come out alive. It is important to know that the survivors will always be subject to their mind because under this undesirable experience from which no one would wish to be part of and at the same time it would be a turning point for the human life where, it will result that as the time passes on, the situation would possibly become more difficult due to different circumstances because you can´t find drinking water and edible food, both necessary for the preservation of the health and the life itself. This is when one would be found at the edge of their psychological and physical limits and in order to dominte you, it requires a very large mental and spiritual effort despite of all of it. Despite of this unwanted moment, this is the psychological side of the survivor which may succumb because as much as the days, weeks or month pass and besides, there are no signs they would be rescued, this is when the desperation begins and possibly they would possibly ask themselves why they didn´t take the necessary precautions to avoid this situation,  why they didn´t tell to their families or authorities where they would in the nature and how long, why didn´t take a survival course to at least, be prepared to face a situation like that.

In view of a "limit situation" that the survivors should know in advance that their life depends on his mind and also, in part from the luck they may have where they would be. It is essential to accept and dominate oneself despite of the involuntary circumstance of being lost. In the event that there would be a group of survivors, it is recommended to choose a leader of the group because a group without withough managemente, can´t go too far.

And, in reference of the mind and spiritual effort to be made by the survivors in the loneliness of a natural environment located far away from the civilization, this is where they apply the following acronym that knowing how to use it in a dynamic way with their mind, it can give optimal results and I know it because there were a case where one of our students from ours Survival course who took it on January, 2012 in a woodland area located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he told me that him and his female friend got lost in a mountainous area of Canada where being that it had become night, his friend began to despair and scream but his friend calmed her down in a psychological  way telling her the they needed to calm  to be able of taking decisions and come out from that place where both controlled their minds applying positively the P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude) acronym but as I sometimes think, the luck was on their sides to come out with success from that situation.

P.M.A. (Positive Mental Attitude).

If you want to be educated in Survival, we teach courses of "wilderness SURVIVAL with basic knowledge of first Aid, Orientation and Land Navigation" that we give through NORTHLATITUDE (C.A.C.E.N), aimed to educate you in wild natural geographical environments like jungle, mountain, forest and mountain through the "basic", "advanced" and "superior" levels, aimed to all those ones who wish to be trained in the matter, without distinction of sex, age, religion or other.

Cursos de Supervivencia, Orientacion y GPS Northlatitude

Information about the author of this article

Gabriel F. Esquivel is the Founder, Director and Survival and Orientation Instructor at NORTHLATITUDE (C.A.C.E.N.) –Education and Training Argentine Center Northlatitude-, being the first Center of Argentine that offers and varied education on courses related with air, land and sea, unique in the country where the Survival and Orienteering, Land Navigation and GPS courses Gabriel offers to give them in English language. For over ten (10) years, Northlatitude has been training in an uninterrupted way to many participants from Argentine (Buenos Aires and other provinces) and from other countries of South America, Central America, North America and Europe and also, Gabriel was chosen by DISCOVERY CHANNEL as instructor for the survival tests for the Desafío Challenge cable TV programme. In diverse opportunities he and his staff were called to explain and show a lot about some of the techniques they teach in the courses, for television programmes as Channel 13, America and Channel 7 and besides, to write some articles in some local newspapers and magazines. Back in the year 2013, he participated in a argentine film about Survival, produced by some Austrian filmmakers.

Besides, he is the mentor and organizer of the "First National and International Competition of Survival and Orienteering of Argentina" (event postponed until new date), mountaineer and military retired from the Argentine Air Force who through his education acquired for over 21 years on active duty of being specialized in System and Computing skills, Radar, English language, Managment of Staff, Survival, Orienteering and other courses, that situation allowed him to give his knowledge to all his students in courses he has been teaching.

On January 5, 2015, along with other instructors from his staff of professionals, they turn ten (10) years teaching courses, seminars and other activities in diverse natural lands of Argentine, mostly.

Curso Supervivencia, Orientacion y GPS Northlatitude