Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Water bottles OK at survival school

We've posted a few times on this incident, in which an apparently healthy man died during a survival course last summer in the Utah desert.

Here's the latest development, from the Associated Press:

SALT LAKE CITY — A wilderness-survival school is allowing campers to carry a 32-ounce water bottle instead of a smaller cup during a grueling course in southern Utah, a change from last year when a New Jersey man died of dehydration.

“They’re allowed to carry them and drink as they go,” said Andrew Wright, an attorney for the Boulder Outdoor Survival School, known as BOSS.

Dave Buschow, 29, (shown in photo) collapsed and died on the second day of a 28-day expedition in the searing heat of the Utah desert in July 2006.

Participants were given a 24-ounce cup and told to drink water only from natural sources, such as streams, canyon pools or underground springs. But guides didn’t find any water for roughly 10 hours.

The U.S. Forest Service, citing Buschow’s death, partially suspended the school’s use of Dixie National Forest until the school got advice on providing food and water.

The agency lifted the suspension May 25 after the school filed a new operating plan that allows a 32-ounce bottle for “obtaining and transporting water” during the early phase of the field course and two bottles during later stages.

“It certainly was a notable change. ... We received an operating plan that was acceptable,” said the Forest Service’s Rob Hamilton, who oversees the Colorado-based school’s permit.

BOSS’ next 28-day course costs $3,215 and starts Sunday in Garfield County, 250 miles south of Salt Lake City.


While drinking from a stream on the morning of his death, Buschow was seen with a bottle and told by instructors to put it away. He became delusional as hours passed in the hot sun and never was told about emergency water carried by guides.

The River Vale, N.J., man died with a guide at his side, less than 100 yards from a pool of water. ...


Teleken said...

Heck for $2,000 I'll lock you in my crawlspace for 3 days. You can drink from my sump if the rains cause it to fill up again.

I understand the survival test motive people might have, but these courses sometimes get ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that the school has been operating since 1968 and this is the 2nd death they have had. The other incident was a man who died of plague contracted from a ground squirrel. Given the extreme nature of the environment there the track record is very good. One death is one too many I suppose, but I have to think this was something of an anomoly.