Staying Safe and Savvy on Thin Ice

It was late March in Alaska. We had just cut a hole through 20 inches of ice in the center of the channel on a river north of Fairbanks. As I was within arm’s reach of the alders growing beyond the steep banks at river’s edge, the ice suddenly fell away beneath me. Frigid water instantly gushed up around my legs. I lurched forward, clutched the nearest branch, and was able to twist myself sideways and back on to stable ice.

During winter’s shoulder season prior to spring thaw, adventuring onto what we hope is still safe ice can be a risky undertaking. A cardinal rule of ice is that it is never 100 percent safe.

Breaking through the ice is a life-threatening experience — and being able to rescue yourself may be your only option for survival. Initiating this proven sequence of procedures may offer you the best chances at saving yourself: READ MORE.

by Tom Watson

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