Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Surviving Mt. Saint Helen's

Everyone has been after me every since I started this survival blog to tell my story of surviving Mt. Saint Helen’s . Although I have verbally told the story many times, especially right after the event, This is the first time this has ever been put to paper or told in such detail. I hope that I am a good enough writer that it gives you some sense of being there but you have to remember this was an event like no other in modern history so it is a bit hard to compare it to other things.
May 18th 1980. It was a day of terror, awe, and perseverance. It was a day of the unexpected. It was a day that claimed 57 lives. It was the day Mt. Saint Helen’s erupted.
I was living in a little town called Randle in Washington . It was a small town in the mountains of southwestern Washington State nestled between three large, what we thought were extinct, volcano’s: Mt. Rainer, Mt. Adam’s, and Mt. Saint Helen’s. We had known for months that Mt. Saint Helen’s was going to erupt. It had started showing signs of activity and news stations were warning everyone to stay out of the area. I remember during this time when we would go to a town called Chehalis for groceries. On the way back there was a breath taking view of Mt. Saint Helen’s . Most of the terrain between us on the road back was flat giving us an unobstructed view of the mountain and with it’s smoking top it looked so majestic.
None of us had ever heard of an exploding or stratovolcano, well I am sure the scientists did, but there was no mention that I ever heard, of the possibility of it exploding so I think the scientist were probably just as shocked as we were. I thought it would be like the volcanoes you see in Hawaii that spew lava for awhile and that’s about it. We were about 20 miles away and there where some rolling hills between us and the volcano so I figured I would be able to go to the top of one of these hills and watch the lava spew


On the morning of May 18th, I was in the groggy, lethargic state between being asleep and fully waking when I hear my wife get out of bed saying she thought her father (who also lived on the ranch) was leaving because she thought she heard a car rumble. When she reached the kitchen and looked out the window she let out a heart-stopping, blood-curdling scream that sounded like she was witnessing the end of the world, as I am sure she thought she was. It brought me straight up out of my bed and I ran to the kitchen to see what all the screaming was about. What I saw I will never forget for the rest of my life. It looked like the world was coming to an end. The sky was filled with very dark heavy clouds that were boiling and rolling towards us at a very high rate of speed with the biggest, thickest bolts of lighting I have ever seen. There is nothing I can compare it to. In one sense it was awesome, but in another, it was terrifying. What we later learned was that what we were witnessing half mountain exploding over our heads but it looked like half the world. We were in the direct blast path, in fact, you could not have aimed it at us more precisely. I didn’t know what to think or what was happening but I grabbed our 8mm camera ( yeah, that’s how it was done in those days ) and ran up to my in-laws house to film what was going on. You could feel the rumble of the mountain through the ground and in your chest as well as hear it. It was a low rumbling but yet very distinctive. There wasn’t another sound in the air or maybe I was so transfixed I didn’t hear any. While I was filming ash was starting to fall from these huge black clouds and occasionally a twig and finally a rock landed at my feet about the size of a baseball. My father in-law looked at me with a shocked ( did you hear that look on his face) we both looked down to see what caused the thud we just heard. Afraid that the next rock would hit us or a larger boulder would fall we ran into the house. I remember standing on the porch just before going inside and looking at the horizon or what was left of it and it was just like the famous film that Dave Crockett (no not that Crockett this didn‘t happen that long ago…look it up) made from a mountain top across from Mt. Saint Helen’s. The horizon was slowly disappearing as the ash cloud covered the entire sky. So after going inside we all sat in amazement pondering the situation when I noticed ash was beginning to creep into the house around the doors and windows. Not having any kind of like experience to draw on we didn’t have a clue of what to do except to try to seal all the cracks we could. It did little good, the ash was so fine I think it was literally coming through the walls. I remember very distinctly that it was becoming hard to breathe so we covered our mouths with tee-shirts and at one point the ash was so thick we even had to get them wet in order catch more of the ash. Later, I went back out onto the porch to see how bad it was. I had a flashlight with me and I remember the beam from the light barely showing a foot or so out. The ash was that thick and heavy. It looked like a VERY heavy gray snow storm. We sat in the house for hours wondering what was going to happen. Were more rocks, maybe even boulders, going to come through the roof, were we going to die of asphyxiation? Not much was being said but we all knew what was on each others minds ( was this it? Was this the end?) We had no idea what was to come. Try to imagine sitting in candlelight cut off from the world just witnessing what very much looked like the end of the world as we know it, not knowing what was coming next. My wife at the time even wrote a farewell letter explaining everything we were going through and saying her goodbyes. I really don’t recall how long it was before we saw the sky again, but when I went outside everything was covered in about 4 to 6 inches, as I recall, of heavy gray ash. It was kind of like when you wake up to find the first heavy snow of winter and everything is white only this was grey and eerie looking, everything was deathly quiet. Walking in it made me think that this must be what it‘s like to walk on the moon. Every step was a fresh imprint on this new land that was deposited all around us with puffs of dust with every step. It took weeks to clean up around the property as the dust was so fine it literally got into everything. We were lucky in the sense that we did not loose power for long so our food stayed cold and we had water. So the after effects were not bad as far as survival is concerned. It was a while before we got out and the stores were open so it was a good thing we always kept a large stock of food and water on the ranch, it could have easily been much worse.
This was an overwhelming experience for everyone there but especially my wife. She was insistent that we leave immediately and I mean immediately. As I recall it started the minute the sun came back out. Had she had her way all our belongings would probably still be there. I tried to assure her that the worst was over, as if I knew, but she would hear none of it. Looking back I can’t say as I blame her we had no idea and it was an overwhelming experience. I have witnessed many things in my life, I have traveled the world and seen a lot of awe-inspiring things. I am a scuba diver and explorer but nothing even comes anywhere near to holding a candle to what we witnessed that day. I consider myself a very lucky man to have been standing there witnessing the raw power of mother nature as it had never been seen before. It was totally awesome and admittedly a bit scary at the same time.
If you really want to get a sence of what it was like go to this story and CTRL Click on the second picture then imagine that rolling at you at a high rate of speed engulfing your entire world,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The perfect everyday carry for all outdoor enthusiasts

In a wilderness survival situation food, water, and shelter are your top priorities, However, not everyone wants to carry a complete comprehensive survival kit with them. Some people would rather carry just the fundamentals. So I got to thinking about my everyday carry which consists of a knife, fire starter, water purifier and para cord. Well actually I carry 2 knives as my everyday carry because I find it difficult to do small precise work with a large knife and hard to split firewood with a small one. This is not to say that it can't be done, it's just not my preference. So with all this in mind, we at Rocky Mountain Survival have developed a survival knife kit. What I used to carry was a crude version of what we are now selling on our site. It took quite some time to find the right pouch to put the contents of the kit in. It had to be durable, the right size (not too big or bulky but big enough for the must carry) and as we learned, it had to have the right type of closure. Snap closures didn't work as they would crush the filter straw if you were not careful and Velcro was a little to easy to come open. We finally found the right size, with the right look. and a snap lock buckle closure from Blackhawk. As far as the contents of the kit, we wanted to keep it small, simple, affordable but most of all practical. The first item was a no brainer. It had to have a fire starter so we added a nice thick flint fire starter. The second item for the pouch we had many discussions about but decided on a water purification filter by Aquamira because we felt that pure water consumption was one of the more important and harder things to achieve. The knife decision was easy. It had to be carbon steel, affordable, and big enough to shelter build, etc. We chose the Cold Steel GI Tanto. A nice 12 inch, thick, heavy knife with a tanto style blade which covers many uses. Lastly we mated the knife and pouch with 10 feet of para cord which left just enough at the bottom to use as the leg strap for the knife sheath. This combination makes for the perfect everyday carry set up that is very practical, affordable and really looks nice as well. This set up has a combined retail value of  $ 72.00 Check out our kit at the bottom of our survival kits page for the price of $ 55.00 with free shipping for a limited time.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

New Press Release

Mt. Saint Helen's Survivor

You can view our latest press release here. http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release-service/248655 check this one out it went out nationwide to all newspapers and mags. saw it in a lot of big news papers.

Mount St. Helen’s Survivor Releases Disaster Survival Kits

Monument, CO – Nov. 20, 2011 – Natural disasters are increasing around the world, leading many to construct emergency preparedness kits. Rocky Mountain Survival co-owners, Tim Shettlesworth and Dan Rivera, are raising the bar with their newly released disaster survival kit The custom designed pack undergoes rigorous field-testing to insure their efficacy.

“We couldn’t find survival kits that met all of our needs so we decided to design our own,” said Shettlesworth. “I drew on past experience and extensive research for our disaster survival kit, and lived off the grid for a week using nothing but the kit.”

Shettlesworth is uniquely positioned to offer the firm’s disaster survival kits. He survived the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. The eruption was the deadliest in U.S. history and Shettlesworth was living 20 miles away from the blast center. He’s also weathered several category 3 hurricanes. To insure no one had to endure what he went through, Shettlesworth and Rivera developed their newly released stage 3 disaster survival kit.

The custom-built disaster survival kits include everything needed to help individuals stay alive during an emergency and addresses the multiple needs of food, shelter, first aid, hygiene and sanitation. The firm’s stage 3 emergency preparedness kit is appropriate for earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and associated disasters. The kits can be stored for up to 25 years without degradation. Two- and four-person disaster kits are offered, designed to feed each individual three meals a day for a week or more.

The company’s kits include food, equipment for water purification and shelter, along with emergency blankets, paracord and candles. The emergency preparedness kits feature a Swiss military mess stove and fuel, a fireman’s axe, and combination solar radio and flashlight. An extensive assortment of first aid supplies is included, along with ample hygiene items for men and women. Sanitation is no problem with the kit’s bio green bucket toilet.

Rocky Mountain Survival also offers stage 1 tactical survival kits designed specifically for surviving in the wilderness. The firm’s stage 2 tactical bug out kit is packed with supplies users will need when forced to evacuate at a moment’s notice and are ideal for the home, office and vehicle.

Fans can follow the firm on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and StumbleUpon, and Rocky Mountain Survival provides links to expert resources for survival information. The site also maintains a blog where visitors can explore topics that include survival equipment and stocking up on food for emergencies and hard times.

Even with advance warning, individuals can find themselves in a life and death situation. Many natural disasters can’t be predicted with accuracy and an emergency preparedness kit can be the deciding factor in a survival environment. The kits offered by Rocky Mountain Survival contain everything needed in an emergency. Field tested by Shettlesworth, who has survived multiple disasters, the kits provide essential supplies to weather any combination of conditions.

The firm can be reached by phone at 719-684-6253 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (MST). Email can be addressed to info@rockymountainsurvival.com or Timo@rockymountainsurvival.com. For more information, visit the website at http://www.rockymountainsurvival.com.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rocky Mountain Survival releases their disaster survival kits

We all remember the Mt. Saint Helen's eruption. Well, I remember it better than most, for I was living just shy of 20 miles from it in the direct blast path. It was the most awe-inspiring thing I have ever witnessed in my life. This was my wake up call. We were totally unprepared. We spent many, many hours believing we were going to die. First, from the debris that was crashing all around us, and then by suffocation from the ash that was raining down on us and seeping into our home. It became so hard to breathe that we were using T-shirts to cover our faces and filter some of the ash. Now one of the important things to remember about Mt. Saint Helen's is that the general public while aware that there was going to be an eruption, nobody had any idea of the magnitude to which it happened. Here's a good video showing the eruption of Mt. Saint Helen's:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=njV9ski1gB4

 Many years later, while living in Florida, my family & I survived several category 3 hurricanes. This time we were a little more prepared but each event has taught me something about surviving disasters. While you are always warned that a hurricane is on its way and to stock up on water and food, nobody ever thinks about the fact that when the water goes out so does your toilet. It's funny actually, nobody thinks about the toilets until you need to use it. Therefore, I feel the need to remind everyone that sanitation plays a large role in disaster preparedness. While departments like FEMA provide a lot of valuable data collection and speculation after a disaster to provide their recommendations for survival kits, there is no way to compare that knowledge to the knowledge that you gain from actually living through it. Many people have told me that I am very unlucky to have been involved in so many disasters. Well, I feel the opposite. I truly feel lucky to have witnessed the amazing power of mother nature and to have survived it and learned from it.  It was with this knowledge and a lot of research that we have developed our disaster survival kits. As with most kits it contains the basics: communication, shelter, warmth, first aid, lighting, sanitation, hygiene, food and water. We stand out in some areas over the others such as, we have much better first aid than most, but where we really rise above the standard, is in the food. It has been my experience that after a major disaster it takes days, if not weeks, before utilities are restored. Days before you can usually get out to a store but generally longer than that before they re-open. So instead of offering 1 or 2 days worth of food bars, we offer a full weeks worth of wholesome easy to prepare meals in 2 serving pouches. Unlike most kits with food bars that have a shelf life of 5 years, these have a shelf life of 25 years so you can store your kit and forget it until it is needed instead of monitoring your food and rotating your food every couple of years. Are you really going to remember to rotate the food in your disaster survival kit if you haven't used it in the first couple of years? It is also my belief, from experience, that you will require more than a day or two worth of food.
 Our kits come in 2 and 4 person kits. You may inquire for pricing on 1and 5 person kits or more by emailing us at info@rockymountainsurvival.com. The 2 person kit comes with a 56 serving bucket which is enough for 3 meals per day for 2 people for 1 week or 2 weeks at 2 meals per day. Our 4 person kit comes with the 84 serving bucket to give 4 people 3 meals a day for 1 week.
Again, Rocky Mountain Survival is raising the bar in survival kits. We design each kit as if our family will be using them. They are not designed solely for profit, but for practicality and true usability. All our kits are truly designed to assist you in staying alive in the event of an emergency. You will not find more practical, well thought out or thoroughly tested survival kits anywhere on the market. So go now to http://www.rockymountainsurvival.com/Disaster_bag.html and get your kit now at the introductory prices as these prices won't last long.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Survival Kits

Ok, I will say what I have to say about commercial survival kits and be done with it. Commercial survival kits are lacking so much in design and practicality that I feel compelled to write this article. To begin with almost all kits come with water purification. These tablets purify 1 qt of water, but commercial kits do not give you anything to purify water in, this is a serious lack of foresight. Since Rocky Mountain Survival has pointed out this short-coming some kits are now including 1 qt ziplock bags (not exactly a good way to transport water). I even saw one kit that now says the bag the kit comes in holds 1qt and can be used to purify your water in. Ok, so what are you supposed to do with everything in your kit while you purify and drink your water.  Commercial kits are just plain not well thought out. I could go over point after point but I do not want to bore you so I will just hit on one more thing. The bags they come in, if you look at the market you will see that kit after kit all come in cheap nylon mini backpacks. Ok, so you are a hunter or hiker and going on a back country trip for the weekend. You grab your regular backpack with all your clothes and bedding etc. so now where do you put the survival kit? Your regular pack is full of gear. Ok, so you have 2 choices, lose some gear out of your regular pack to accommodate the survival kit or attach it to the outside of your other pack. Neither is an option I would want but lets say you do drop some gear and manage to get the survival kit in your other pack. So now your in the back country and something happens. God forbid, you've just taken a fall and your leg is caught in a some brush. You need to get to your saw but its in your survival kit. So now you have to manage to get your pack off to get to your kit. Again not good ideas. A survival kit should be easy to get to at all times. That's why we pack our wilderness survival kit in a drop leg pouch. It sits on your thigh where it is always easily accessible. Even our bug out bag which is often used as a multi-day pack in the back country comes in the UTG tactical messenger bag which hangs at your side for easy access. This is why we spend so much time in the back country testing and honing our kits. Ok, I am not going to talk up our kits anymore I shouldn't have to, they speak for themselves. As when you purchase anything, think about the practicality and usefulness of the product you are purchasing.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to beat inflation and insure your family against harder times

Stocking up on long term storage food isn’t just for emergency survival. It’s also your insurance against inflation and harder times. Its always a good idea to have at least a months worth of food on hand but I recommend 3 or more depending on your budget.

 Think about it you can feed a family of 6 for 1 month for $435 to $670 dollars, depending on if you prefer 2 or 3 meals a day. You would have to be a pretty thrifty shopper to beat those prices in a grocery store today. So that’s the cost today but what about a year from now or 15 years from now. God forbid you’ve lost your job or find yourself in harder times. Can you imagine what a months or 3 months worth of food will cost in 15 years? With a 25 year shelf life you’ve just beaten the heck out of inflation and if you do find yourself in harder times or have lost your job, you’ve given yourself one less thing to worry about. Its great peace of mind in trying times to know your family will still eat well.

 So what kind of long term storage food should you get? Well I recommend Wise Foods Companies line of long term storage food for several reasons. They are one of the best tasting pre-made foods on the market. They use a combination of both freeze dried and dehydrated foods. This gains the advantage of maintaining both the nutritional value and taste at the same time. They are downright affordable and they come in easy to prepare 2 to 4 serving pouches instead of # 10 cans. Two major problems with the # 10 cans, once they are open you are stuck eating a large portion of one kind of food because you have to use up the whole can before it spoils and secondly if you are in a disaster or for some reason have to move your food stock can you imagine trying to move a months worth of food stored in #10 cans? In the pouch and bucket style of food storage you simply grab the bucket handle and go, you’ve got a months supply of a variety foods. By the way a bucket is light enough a child can carry it. So for me it’s kind of a no brainer.

Survival Knives

Well I am new at this Blogging thing, so I figured, I might as well start off with the most controversial thing in survival. Maybe this way I will get some comments. By the way, we will post all comments that are not nasty or derogatory.
 A survival knife is both one of your most important tools in survival and I would say the most controversial. Depending on what side of the fence you are on will generally govern your decision about what kind of knife to carry. You have the people that like big Rambo and tactical knives. This I feel is more for the looks than the usability. Then, you have the group that thinks the more expensive the knife the better the knife must be. In some cases this is true but not necessarily.
 I myself prefer to carry several knives. If I am hunting or just out for a day or two I carry our stage 1 survival kit which affords me to carry several knives. I usually carry 1 large knife for brush clearing, shelter building, etc. and a medium utility knife. If I could only carry one knife it would have to be the Mora bushcraft survival knife. I like the Mora's for several reasons. They come razor sharp and hold an edge very well. They are made well so they hold up to abuse and they don't break your budget.
 My standing on survival knives differs from a lot of peoples but basically my survival knife is to help me survive and not to make me look cool or tough. I have a 200 dollar knife but it is almost always at home, the reason being is in the back country it is easy to loose a knife and in a survival situation you definitely abuse it. So I do not like the idea of carrying around an expensive knife in the wilderness. The other reason I carry several knives is if I loose, damage or dull one I do not have to stop the task at hand to repair the knife. I can simply grab the back-up knife and continue, then repair the damaged knife later when I have time.
 I know that other than the Mora I have not given much in the way of brands of knives. I have done this intentionally as I do not feel that it is as much the brand as it is the style and material of the blade.
Just remember, there are a lot of very good survival knives out there that are not expensive. You do not have to pay hundreds of dollars to get a good knife. Buy the knife for its intended use and keep in mind that Rambo and tactical knives are for defense and not truly designed for survival and as a general rule of thumb the cooler it looks, the less likely it will be practical for a survival situation.
I do have one exception to this rule and that a Tanto blade knife. Tanto's are considered tactical knives but because of the blade design they do make great survival knives. The design is such that if you stab something it is going to go in and its wide tip makes it perfect for digging and prying.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our first press release

our first press release was picked up in All Headline News you can view it at the following link

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our Goal

When our family moved back to Colorado and we started doing a lot of outdoor activities, my wife thought it was a good idea to carry a survival kit. In looking for a survival kit she found that commercial kits were basically a joke. This started Rocky Mountain Survival. I have an extensive background in survival and started helping her with her project. The more we dug the worse it got. Not only did the commercial survival kits lack in forethought but a lot of the blogs and information out there was full of political extremists. Well you don't have to be an extremist or a doomsayer to be a prepper. A little common since and awareness of our current state is enough to make anybody a prepper.
 So our goal at Rocky Mountain Survival is to bring to the public properly designed survival gear, Good deals on long term storage food and the best survival information we can find that won't offend you or warp your mind. We try to be very active in public awareness.


Be prepared