The Weekly Stoke: Winter camping tips, 26 marathons in 26 days, extreme destinations and a petition on behalf of the Badwater 135

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I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and hopefully you all have done better than me in terms of avoiding the holiday bloat. Yikes! Anyway, I found some more great links for your reading pleasure, and perhaps something there to inspire your next move. Time for the Weekly Stoke!

The weather outside might be frightful, but this post gives you six tips on how to keep warm when camping in the winter.

A Las Vegas man ran 26 marathons in 26 days to help raise awareness for the needy in his city. Behind the glitz of the Strip is some pretty desperate situations, apparently.

Speaking of marathons, this writer gives you a few tips on how to avoid “hitting the wall” during a 26.2-miler.

Backpacker Magazine throws down a list of extreme places to visit.

Finally, a follow-up on news from earlier this week about the NPS’ decision to temporarily halt all races through Death Valley. An online petition to the White House to lift the moratorium has been started, and you can check it out or sign on.

A case study in smart survival in Nevada

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The other day, I was peeking into a conversation on Twitter about survival situations.

One of the questions: What are the things you should do first if you find yourself in a survival situation?

My answer: Calm down; take stock in what you have and your situation; start/keep making decisions.

This isn’t novel advice, but it’s solid. I’ve heard it said many times before. Unfortunately, some people under pressure (and a survival situation qualifies as pressure-packed) fall into traps that end up further endangering their lives or, in worst-case scenarios, get themselves killed.

But this week, a remarkable story out of Lovelock, Nev., showed how survival is done.

James Glanton, his girlfriend Christina McIntee, their two kids and two other children went out on Sunday for a little backcountry fun in the snow in the northern Nevada high desert. But during the trip, the Jeep they were traveling in overturned and rolled off the side of the road. They couldn’t get the Jeep upright or the engine started.

That area of Nevada gets cold this time of year, but the deep freeze that hit the western and central U.S. last weekend was particularly bitter. Temperatures would drop to -16 degrees.

The group was also out of cellphone range to call for help.

So here they were, stranded in a snowy, icy desert, with extreme cold bearing down. They were miles from help. Should they take off on foot and look for rescue? Wander around trying to find a cellphone signal? Send someone for help while the group stayed put?

They did none of that. Instead, they did the smart thing.

They stayed put.

Glanton had told people where he and his group were going, and he knew that if they were overdue people would begin looking for them. Preparation means a lot in terms of survival, and letting people know your plans is a big part of good preparation.

Glanton and his group also took stock. Their Jeep was disabled, but still useful. Even overturned, it could be used as shelter. The group was dressed for the weather, and there was some food and water in the Jeep. That Jeep was a huge tool for keeping them alive and not freezing to death.

But there’s more. The group did something innovative that also increased their chances of getting out alive. Inside the Jeep was a spare tire. They used that tire in two ways: They filled the tire with rocks, and then used it as a fire ring.

Having a fire was critical to keeping warm. The fire in turn heated up the rocks, which could then be used to keep everyone warm overnight in the Jeep.

That type of improvisation is a product of taking stock and making decisions. And doing so in a mentality of calm.

They also left their cellphone on. While it was not able to make or receive calls, authorities were able to use it to track their location. Cellphones send signals to nearby towers on a regular basis. Those pings can be traced. In this case, it gave authorities the best information possible about where they should start their search based on what tower last received a signal from the phone.

On Tuesday, the group was found, safe and alive. (You can read their story here.)

My hope is that this story, and many more like it, will be used in the future to instruct people on how to survive dangerous situations. A car wreck in a remote area with adverse weather conditions presents particular problems that might not apply directly to other crises. But the method of survival is a constant: Be calm, take stock, make decisions.

What do you think about this story? Have you faced similar situations? What are some of your ideas on survival? Comment and let me hear about it.

Bob Doucette

The Weekly Stoke: Denali, body image, tragedy in Nevada and how to fake those fitness transformation photos

Alaska's Denali, North America's highest peak.

Alaska’s Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Feeling the drain of training? Or the weight of summer’s heat? Take a break, folks. And check out my latest offerings in this week’s Weekly Stoke…

This blogger has a pretty good list for race etiquette. Read it, learn it, live it.

Want to know what it’s like to climb Denali? Read this extensive trip report on the experience. It will be worth your time.

Women’s fitness fashion has this athlete questioning the imagery of empowerment.

A tragedy reminds us of the risks search and rescue personnel go through when duty calls. In this case, a Las Vegas police officer died during a high-risk rescue.

Ever see those dramatic before/after transformation photos? You know, the ones that come with certain exercise programs or fitness/diet fads? It’s pretty easy to fake it, photographically speaking. See how here.

And finally, this diagram from the Adventure Journal about risk and fun with all the things we do outside. Do you agree?

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