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Snow bound biker lost in the Arctic

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A few years ago I went out for a quick spin that turned into a nasty experience. An unforecast bit of bad weather quickly ruined a beautiful day. The temp dropped to -48C, I got lost in the storm and then ran out of gas. I built my first "igloo" that night, which actually held up until Search and Rescue arrived.

The Discovery Channel included this in one of their shows called Arctic Rescue.

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Wow, you're lucky they found you. How do you prepare your cooling system in those low temps? Do you even need a cooling system?

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Wow Tim - you got REALLY lucky there....not a great way to go about getting your 15 minutes of fame!

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I'm glad your ok. I remember watching this (or something very similiar) on T.V. a couple years ago. The only difference was the way they found the person, the one i saw on T.V. he was found when rescuers saw a flash from his headlight when he was trying to start the bike.

P.S. Nice riding through that hardpack.

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geez...the narrator, the music...that's some scary stuff. glad you made it back:thumbsup:

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Sounds like a pretty scarey experience!! This is not very encouraging to me,my husband has been planning a motorcycle ride from here in central Fla. to Alaska! I'm already worried he will get turned into a popsicle!!

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my husband has been planning a motorcycle ride from here in central Fla. to Alaska!

At least they got roads in Alaska - I don't think you have to worry that much - it's probably a lot more dangerous riding across the USA with all the hwy traffic than riding though Alaska.

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Frosty your the man!

I really enjoyed that, Good vid!

I find it amazing what you can do when you keep your head. if you panicked in that situation you may not be here today to regale us with more great stories.

Good Job.

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I have been all over Alaska and I would never go riding alone, in the winter, without a gps, radio, or at the very least a compass! Dude, that was crazy! You were lucky to have learned a lesson and lived.

How far were you from the village when you built the snow cave?

Were you suprised at your position when you were told where you were?

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I have been all over Alaska and I would never go riding alone, in the winter, without a gps, radio, or at the very least a compass! Dude, that was crazy! You were lucky to have learned a lesson and lived.

How far were you from the village when you built the snow cave?

Were you suprised at your position when you were told where you were?

you know when you get close to magnetic north the needle of a compass is pretty unreliable:thumbsup:

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Yeah, a compass ain't the best, but if you use one a little, you start to figure out it's flaws. The farther north you go, the more deviation you have, and some more variation, but you could still use it to help get your bearings. Better than nothin' !!

But props to the guy for surviving. We have a couple stories here every winter of people in these same type situations. Some live, some popsicle. Cold weather is very unforgiving.

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Wow, you're lucky they found you. How do you prepare your cooling system in those low temps? Do you even need a cooling system?

Very Lucky! As for the bike, I don’t block the rads at all and run Polaris premix antifreeze, liquid down to 52. The WR will still boil over in extreme cold if I’m going slow.

Wow Tim - you got REALLY lucky there....not a great way to go about getting your 15 minutes of fame!

Yes, not the way I imagined becoming famous.

well bud glad you made it :thumbsup:

Me too!

I'm glad your ok. I remember watching this (or something very similiar) on T.V. a couple years ago. The only difference was the way they found the person, the one i saw on T.V. he was found when rescuers saw a flash from his headlight when he was trying to start the bike.

P.S. Nice riding through that hardpack.

That was the show. I edited it down quite a bit to fit on Youtube. When I read this I realized that I cut out the part where the narrator says that Search and Rescue saw my light.

I heard the snowmobile and crawled out to see where it was. 7AM, but still pitch black, and the sled was 2 ridges away, and riding past me. I had no hope that anyone was searching, because no-one really knew where to look. I though it was some tough old hunter getting an early start. I was just about done, couldn’t walk let alone run, and no way to signal. In the blackness you’d notice any bit of light. I knew the bike wouldn’t start, but thought I may be able to kick it over fast enough to make the headlight glow. Everything, including me, was so frozen that I could barely turn the engine over, let alone get any speed. Then the sled rides down into the valley and out of sight. That was when I actually said screw it and gave up. I had been struggling to stay awake and alive all night, and had just seen my last hope ride away. I laid down on the gas tank, closed my eyes and was just about asleep….when the noise of that damn 2 stroke woke me up! He climbed out of the valley and was now on the ridge right in front of me, a couple of hundred feet away, but still was driving by me, not towards me. He was so close, it was torture that I couldn’t signal him. I got a big shot of adrenaline and started hammering the kickstart lever as hard as I could, all the time watching the sled drive by in front of me. The engine gave one little cough, one of those little cold “pops” that’s not even close to starting, but I saw the glow in the snow, about 1 candlepower, but it was enough. Instantly the sled swung towards me and pinned the throttle. Then, for the 2nd time, I completely gave up and laid down on the tank. I was completely toast and couldn’t even help the poor guy help me, but he managed to drag me back to town and get me thawed out. Later on he told me that he had found my tire track and even though it was only bits and pieces, when it disappeared he could guess which way I went. He said he would have found me even if he hadn’t seen the light, it just would’ve taken a little longer.

I worked in the same building as Eric Doig, the head of Search and Rescue, and knew him, and he knew me and my bike. It was so nasty that night, only 3 of the Search and Rescue team volunteered to go out. They were a bit surprised to hear they were looking for a motorcycle, and weren’t sure what to expect, and no one knew for sure which way I headed after parting company with my friends, and there are a zillion snowmobile tracks. Eric simply said “There’s only 1 tire track out there. Find it, follow it, and Tim will be at the other end”, and they did, and I was.

HOLY $H**

man tim you got lucky. and how does your bike even run in those temps?

Once in a while the airbox fills with snow, or my carb vent lines ice over, but most of the time the bike is perfect.

And I don't ride when it looks like rain! Man, I'm a puss! :usa:

Hey, I don’t ride in the rain either.

Made a show from you,that part is cool but must have been scared?

Pretty much terrified, and had nightmares for a while after, I’d wake up thinking I was back there. Sadly, I was chosen for the show by process of elimination. 5 men were lost in the storm front that week, but the other 4 didn’t make it.

geez...the narrator, the music...that's some scary stuff. glad you made it back:thumbsup:

Yeah, I get a kick out of the narrator and the creepy music, real Alfred Hitchcock stuff.

Sounds like a pretty scarey experience!! This is not very encouraging to me,my husband has been planning a motorcycle ride from here in central Fla. to Alaska! I'm already worried he will get turned into a popsicle!!

Well, I’ve learned from the experience. I’ve been doing the same thing ever since, riding daily, but now I do it smarter and fight those “it’ll just be a quick ride, no need for all the gear” feelings. They say that most accidents happen a few miles from home, so by the time he gets to North Carolina the odds will be with him.

that's some serious cold, good job getting through it. where's global warming when you need it huh?

Exactly, I’m all for it!

At least they got roads in Alaska - I don't think you have to worry that much - it's probably a lot more dangerous riding across the USA with all the hwy traffic than riding though Alaska.

True, true.

I have been all over Alaska and I would never go riding alone, in the winter, without a gps, radio, or at the very least a compass! Dude, that was crazy! You were lucky to have learned a lesson and lived.

How far were you from the village when you built the snow cave?

Were you suprised at your position when you were told where you were?

I was about 10 miles from town as the raven flies, but the route there and back home was much farther. In the zero visibility, even if I was 1 mile away, I couldn’t have made it to town without a GPS. Folks have commented that I should carry maps and a compass, but a map only works when you can see, and straight line by compass would’ve taken me into impassable terrain. Back tracking by GPS is the only sure way out of the mountains.

Search and Rescue gave me the downloaded GPS track from the rescue sled.

SR_Map.jpg

Where the track makes a tight U turn, that’s where I made my mistake. There are rows and rows of mountains and valleys, all pretty much parallel to each other, and look very much the same. On my initial ride, I was a lot farther out. I was coming back from the bottom right corner of the map, heading towards town. I should’ve passed one more valley before I turned, but I ended up in the wrong one, and it started gradually veering me away from town. When I hit the lake, which is where I ran out of gas and camped, I thought I was on the lake that you see quite a bit closer to town. I was sure that when I climbed the ridge I’d see the lights of town glowing on the other side, and right up until I popped my head over that ridge, I honestly wasn’t too concerned. I was shocked when I saw nothing on the other side. Before ridge I was like "Damn, out of gas, now I'm walking". After ridge I was like "Damn, I am actually lost and I am not going home tonight."

I bought my first GPS and got the coordinates from S&R.

I took these pictures after I healed up and went back to rescue my bike. It had been untouched and no tracks (except for a few fresh wolf tracks) since they dragged me out of there.

lost1.jpg

cc18.jpg

lost3.jpg

It was a bad experience, but I'm not really the type to dwell on doom and gloom, so I'll end this on a humurous note - this is how I decided to tow my bike back to town.

cc23.jpg

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Frostbite, your famous...... I remember you telling us that story a few years back. Do you still have the 400 or has she been retired???

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Frostbite, your famous...... I remember you telling us that story a few years back. Do you still have the 400 or has she been retired???

I sold the 400 last July. I bought a 450, but would have kept the 400, but was moving and didn't want to fly both of the bikes. The 400 lives in Pangnirtung now. It has done a lot of flying, but Pang is where it started it's Northern life so it's fitting that Pang is where it should retire.

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