Guest Post: Bear Grylls and Humble Pie

Today I am switching gears a bit and throwing the spotlight to my Omnigames team mate and fellow adventure Junkie Jon Bausman who is goin to talk about one of his outdoor heroes and how that relates to his experience in the games. Take it away Jon. – Patrick

If I could meet one celebrity, hands down it’d be Edward Michael Grylls, also known as Bear Grylls.  If you’re not familiar with the former host of Man vs. Wild and several outdoor survival shows, here are a couple facts to give you some perspective.

  • In 1998, at age 23 he became the youngest person to reach the tip of Mount Everest (that record has since been broken).
  • A year before climbing Everest, Grylls broke his back in three places in a free-fall parachuting accident….and he still climbed Everest!
  • He served with the British Special Air Service.
  • He has a black belt in karate.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia and Alaska National Guard

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia and Alaska National Guard

As a backpacker and bug-out bag advocate, I’ve always tried to brush up on my survival skills.  So when Columbia Sportswear invited us to compete in the #omnigames my thoughts raced to what that might entail and hoping that the odds would be ever in my team’s favor.  Naturally, my spirits rose when they revealed that fire making and building an emergency shelter would be on the list of competitions.  My initial enthusiasm may have been a mistake.

The first one we attempted was making a fire.  The whole time I was thinking, “Come on, Bear Grylls could do this.”  Where I come from, the great state of Indiana, we don’t normally live in a winter wonderland all season long – let alone go trekking survivalist style when a winter storm hits.  Needless to say, I was a little outside my element when they asked us to make a fire in the midst of a windy snow storm using only a magnesium fire starter, newspaper that was quickly saturated with snow, and some pieces of wood.

I wish I could say that Patrick and I blazed a fire so fierce it impressed Hades himself.  We managed to burn a lot of paper with a mist of smoke to give us hope as we anxiously gazed upon the smoldering ambers…but that was it.  Only a few teams managed to get a fire going.  When the time came to hand in our magnesium I thought, “BG would not approve of this survivalist performance.”

Next on the list was constructing an emergency shelter.  If you’ve watched any of Bear Grylls’ tundra expeditions, you know one very important fact: packed snow makes for great insulation.  Armed with only a tarp, shovel, two logs and some string, Patrick and I had the same thoughts.  We designed a shelter utilizing the packed snow to create a wall and placed the logs across the shelter with the tarp on top.  We used snow to pack the logs and tarp in place.  Finally, we designed a wall in front of the entryway should the wind change during the night.

A shelter fit for a survivalist.

A shelter fit for a survivalist.

After constructing our tight quarters with plenty of time to spare, we passed the “blizzard test,” which consisted of our instructor grabbing the tarp and shaking it as hard as she could.  Walking away from this specific competition, I felt a sense of confidence and self-accomplishment.  “This is one shelter that I think BG would approve of.”

The #omnigames most certainly offered a lot of fun mixed with a taste of humble pie with a dollop of desired self-improvement.  One of the goals I have from competing in the games is I want to try other methods of fire creation and do so in different elements.  As one of the survivalist essentials, I want to know that when needed, I can start a fire in almost any element.  After all, that’s what Bear Grylls would do.

D. Creech (

D. Creech (

Would you be able to start a fire or build an emergency shelter if needed?  What survival tactics would you want to learn?

By | 2017-12-16T19:34:08+00:00 January 15th, 2014|Guest Post, Utah|1 Comment

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One Comment

  1. lynne petre January 16, 2014 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Too bad Columbia didn’t give you guys some calcium carbide! 🙂 One of my winter 10 essentials. (not my video but decent demonstration:

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