KSL Outdoors: Boulder Outdoor Survival School

<(Adam Intro) "Welcome to KSL Outdoors, I'm Adam Eakle. Tonight we are going on an adventure like I've never done before and I'm pretty sure people at home have never seen before. What would you do if you were stranded in the middle of nowhere, how would you survive, could you survive? Tonight we kick off a seven day survival course as we put our minds and bodies to the test.">

What better place to test oneself than the wilds of Southern Utah.

From the crisp high alpine setting of the Boulder Mountains, to the barren, unforgiving deserts of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this is our home for the next seven nights and seven days.

<(Shawn Wiley) "you start thinking who would pay to do this to their bodies.">

It all started months ago when my buddy Brian Latturner, my producer Rick Olivares and I wanted to learn some survival skills. A quick internet search and we soon discovered the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, the oldest survival school in the world and it happens to be right here in Boulder Utah.

<(Steve Dessinger, B.O.S.S. Program Dir.) "You are going on a field course and the field course is sort of our backbone, our flagship course.">

<(Steve Dessinger, B.O.S.S. Program Dir.) "It's a challenging course physically, emotionally and also a very educational course with the skills that you learn.">

<(Adam) "and some of the things they allow you to bring, is...how do you say, it's pretty sparse isn't it? (brian) "yeah it's not a lot.">

Our gear consists of a poncho, a knife, a small first aid kit, a jacket, some water purification drops, a wool blanket, a few scarfs, a cup, paracord and lucky a change of underwear.

<(Adam) "there's a lot of things not allowed on the course, sunglasses, you can't wear those, watches, cosmetics, radios, cell phones, pagers, flashlights.">

No tents, no sleeping bags, no matches, no GPS devices. This is truly roughing it.

<(Steve Dessinger, B.O.S.S. Program Dir.) it's about a personal challenge and a challenge to the group and a way to grow with a small community that you are with and a way to discover a lot of things about yourself." >

Twelve strangers have signed up for our seven day field course. Our first challenge is a run in downtown Boulder.

<(Adam) it's not a race, it's not a race." (brian) "it is a race, he just said hurry back." (Adam) "here we go we've got a mile and a half, this is the start of our adventure.">

Turns out, I’m not in as good as shape as I thought.

<(Rick) "that wasn't so tough was it?" (Adam) "sucked, I hated it.">

If the field course is anything like the run, the twelve of us are in for a long week. BOSS has a reputation of pushing people to their limits, even past their limits. I take a look at my fellow participants and wonder if …I… might be the first to quit.

<(Bea Cameron, Lexington, Kentucky) My name is Bea Cameron, I am from Lexington Kentucky and I'm 20 years old.">

The youngest in our group, Bea is a college student and a soccer player, she looks to be in great shape.

<(Kris Foster) "i'm so excited, it's just a motivating thing for me.">

Kris is a physical education teacher and at 55 is the oldest. Turns out our group is very diverse. We have a 53 year old doctor from Kentucky, a 28 year old nurse from Dallas. A 34 year old water treatment operator from Canada. A 41 year old home health care director from Austin, Texas. A 33 year old CEO of an on-line retailer from Portugal. A 39 year old Outdoors producer. A 40 year old web developer and hunter,… and a couple who met in the Air Force and are engaged to be married.

<(Rick) "what do your friends and family think about this? (Ashlie Singer) "they all think we are a little crazy.">

<(Tobias Corwin, BOSS Instructor) "No one signed up to like have an easy relaxing type vacation, I hope. (laughs) not that you can't have some of that but there will be challenge and that's kind of why you are here. Relish that challenge enjoy it.">

Little do we know, we are all about to loose any control we thought we had and these three instructors, now control our lives.

<(Perry Tancredi, Apprentice Instructor) so this is basically the size of your pack. So now I'm going to roll it and you want it really tight, so i'm going to hug it.">

We’re taught to fold our gear into a blanket packs, then just before dark, we are driven to just under nine thousand feet and told to get out, it’s time to hike.

<(Jesse) "let's go." (tobias) "everyone got their buddy.">

So our adventure begins, minus our blanket packs with all our gear, BOSS has confiscated those. All we have is the clothes on our back, a small five by five piece of cloth, 32 ounces of water and maybe some gloves and a hat. It’s going to be long night.

<(Dan) "extremely cold, it's the only way I can describe it.">

After maybe 5 hours hiking by moonlight, we’re told to find a place to camp and soon the only thing to keep us warm is each other. We all soon subscribe to the notion of spooning with strangers. My thermometer reads a chilling 36 degrees.

<(Steve Dessinger, B.O.S.S. Program Dir.) "You have a lot of time to reflect on your life and that's one of the things people come out of the course with is they get a clarity on their life and what their life is about.">


<(Brian) "it was cold last night.">

<(Bea) "I about froze to death last night, that's what happened last night.">

<(Dan) "not very restful, I think I slept maybe 10 minutes.">

<(Shawn) i didn't sleep, my toes are frozen, but made it through the night, so I can't complain. (laughs)>

After a sleepless night, the glow of the warm sun was a welcome sight. Our instructors….

<(Jesse) "this is basically what we call a duff bed or debris bed.">

Show us their accommodations last night and then…

We continue the phase of the course called impact, by hiking off the mountain and into the desert.

<(Shannon Adamiak) "The hungary pains started kicking in and I was weak.">

By mid day we’ve hiked maybe 10 miles. It’s been over 24 hours since any of us have had anything to eat. We stop for water and for primitive lessons on survival.

Including how to make a fire with a bow drill.

[Notes:Good shots of Shannon, Deb and Dave looking tired]

Even though this is a skill we’ll need later in our course, some of our party is having a hard time staying awake.

<(Perry blowing on tinder bundle and getting fire) "awesome.">

<(Steve Dessinger) "Our mission is basically preserve primitive traditional skills and to expose people to those skills and to develop them as people in the outdoors.">

<(Steve Dessinger) "You don't know what is going to happen. So we purposely have things that come up that you are not going to be expecting. So that you can go through those experiences.">

<(Adam) "alright we started when the sun was coming up and we are still going and the sun is on it's way down.">

<(Brian) "I think the goal is to break us and they are getting there.">

<(Adam) How you girls doing, looks like you've got a second wind. (shannon) Maybe she has. All that I can smell is pepperoni pizza. (bea) I think I'm meeting God on this trip.">

<(Jesse) "and it's not necessarily that we are trying to run people into the ground, we are trying to help people to see what their limits are so that they can push beyond that and realize that they are capable of so much more than they think they are.">

<(Bea) "I'm going to fall asleep. Or at least this is how i feel when i get tired, just exhausted.">

Now I’m not going to tell you everything that happened on our course, you might want to try this someday and knowing what takes place might lesson the experience for you. What I will tell you is this is one of the toughest physical and mental challenges I’ve ever done. Some of our group really struggled with this phase, throwing up, nauseous, but they fought through it and gained all of our respect.

<(Deb) Got sick back there a little bit ago, they say it's from the alkaline in the water. I feel a little bit better but still a little nauseous. (adam) "you are not going to quite? (deb) Not quitting, just might be the last one making it there. but i'm going to make it.">

In the end, we all finished the impact phase and were rewarded with not only food and some rest, but the knowledge that we could hike much more, than we previously thought. The question now is can we translate this experience into the rest of our lives.

<(Deb) I think anytime that you can go through a challenge and a struggle like this and get back to the basics, this reminds you and puts things into perspective of what's important and what is not important and It's humbling.">


<(Tobias) "It's basically broken into a group food that you'll share in a food group with four other people.">

After nearly 40 hours and perhaps 20 miles we’re finally getting some rations. Oatmeal for breakfast, nuts and raisins for lunch. For dinner we’ll split two onions, two potatoes, some rice, lentils and flour between four of us. In all it’s about fifteen hundred calories per day.

After a quick map lesson, the group assigns three leaders.

<(Dan) "alright everyone meet back here in about 10 minutes with all your gear.">

and we’re back on the trail.

<(Dan) "this is another open meadow, right, so we'll be going just along this way.">

This time however, the hike is only about 5 miles and we will now lead the expedition as we scout for a nice place to camp.

<(Adam bridge) "We just broke out of the high country a little bit to the beautiful, spectacular Henry Mountains in the background. Turned out to be a beautiful day, wind is picking up, so hopefully we find a campsite pretty quick.">

We’re taught to use the five W’s when picking a good campsite. They are water, weather, wildlife, waste, and widow maker. Finding someplace safe is important, the fact that we are finally setting up camp while there is still daylight, means we’ll be able to use some of the skills we’ve been taught.

<(Tobias) if you only have a single tree or even if there is no trees you can pitch the ridge line this way.">

Some of us start building our shelters out of our ponchos, our beds out of pine needles and leaves called duff, and others start making our first dinner in three nights.

<(Shannon) "just trying to make everything really small, so it will cook fast.">

<(Jesse) "there you go.">

<(Jesse) "just like that.">

My job is to make a fire with my newly made fire drill.

<(Jesse) "don't let your spindle come out, stop and now just slowly take your spindle out.">

<(blowing and fire) (jesse) "kind of tip it on it's side and stick it in here.">

<(Ashlie) "congratulations." (Adam) "thanks.">

<(Tobias) "I think a lot of people probably come into it thinking they are going to be just fending for themselves and it always turns out that it's really about the group and working together and the best courses are when the group works together and takes care of each other.">

<(Dan) It was really nice to actually have daylight to see to build a shelter, now that we actually how to do that stuff. It's pretty nice, i'm looking forward to sleep. (adam) "i am too actually." (dan) "not to mention the warm meal that was amazing." (adam) we are not done here on KSL Outdoors yet, we've got more coming up from Southern Utah but first lets dive into tonights Utah Field Guide as we take a closer look at that Gila Monster.">

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