Forums Forums Help/Rules Help Edit Profile My Profile Member List Register  
Search Last 1 | 3 | 7 Days Search Search  
Ottertooth Forums * Canoeing and camping * Unfortunate Death < Previous Next >

Author Message
 Link to this message


Post Number: 7
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Monday, March 8, 2010 - 10:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Richard Code was found recently near Huntsville by searchers and appears to have died of hypothermia. Richard was a fan of such programs as Survivorman (starring Les Stroud) and was very interested in wilderness survival. He apparently took several trips up north, mostly in the summer, to test out his “survival skills” (which he had gotten mostly from various wilderness survival books and watching related TV programs….including Survivorman). Richard doesn’t appear to have had any formal training (there are several reputable courses available but more on that later). From reports, he had taken one previous winter trip last November but had felt sick and gave up after a day.

Here are some of the reports on Richard Code and his unfortunate death: 00304/survival_death_100304/20100304/?hub=TorontoN ewHome 823–toronto-survivorman-fan-dies-testing-survival-ski lls-near-huntsville rchive/2010/03/04/man-dies-on-trip-reminiscent-of- survivorman.aspx 6706–scarborough-man-who-went-on-survival-excursion-fo und-dead

I attended the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show. I met some very good people who make their living teaching others about bushcraft, wilderness survival and emergency techniques. Skeet Sutherland of Sticks and Stones Wilderness School,, and Alexis Burnett of Earthtracks,, are two such practitioners. Both lead classes where wilderness skills are taught….most based on “primitive” knowledge, often that of First Nations peoples. I put primitive in quotations since I believe these skills are as alive ….or at least relevant….in the present day as they ever were….to me these are very much living traditional skills. Living traditional skills that if practised properly….and more importantly trained in….can actually save your life. But these are skills that must be taught by somebody reputable….not merely by reading a book or watching TV.

Gino Ferri who runs Survival in the Bush,, one of the first such programs in Canada (Gino taught Les Stroud in fact), describes his program as being designed to prepare the participant both physically and mentally….so one is better equipped to cope with unexpected, unplanned, and stressful emergencies (ie., loss of camping gear)….you learn to not to fight nature, but co-operate with her, since she is an impartial, although unforgiving partner. These courses are taught under simulated conditions.

In interviews since the death of Richard Code, several wilderness survival instructors have stressed the need for formal training; one even suggested that his program might seem rather mundane as it stressed all of the aspects needed (such as how to pack and carry a sleeping bag or snowshoeing) for wilderness survival, not just the more adrenaline charged ones that some TV programs might use to boost ratings. Les Stroud himself even stated his TV programs were no substitute for actual hands-on training and that he always added “caution” warnings to his Survivorman series. I don’t mean to suggest that there aren’t good things about certain TV programs such as Survivorman or Ray Mears’ Bushcraft (one of my personal favourites)….as an introduction to bushcraft or wilderness survival, they are great….but there is never anything to take the place of formal hands-on training.

So Richard Code’s demise is very unfortunate….and could have been avoided. Mother Nature is not to be played with lightly….we must take all the necessary precautions we can in whatever outdoor pursuit we choose….including the proper training….under qualified instructors and leaders. The tragedy in 1978, on Lake Temiskaming, that took the lives of several St. John’s School students and teachers, marked a major turning point in the thinking about canoe safety, how people thought about risk and canoes, particularly the risks of cold water, for paddlers and educators across Canada and around the world. “From that moment on, everybody taking voyages would look twice at standards of safety”, said Kirk Wipper. (For more on this read Deep Waters: Courage, Character, and the Lake Temiskaming by James Raffan.) Hopefully this latest unfortunate tragedy will result in similar measures….and discussion. So that those of us involved with getting outdoors will do so as safely as we can.

(Message edited by WoodNCanvas on March 8, 2010)
 Link to this message


Post Number: 93
Registered: 09-2007
Posted on Monday, March 8, 2010 - 11:52 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

It's a sad story. Condolences to his friends & family.

What irked me is that the articles I read suggest that he was prepared. An axe, some matches, a space blanket & zero experience are not prepared.
 Link to this message


Post Number: 58
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Monday, March 8, 2010 - 1:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

What most likely contributed to his death were the afflictions he suffered from arthritis. In a T.V news interview his land lady said on some days when his condition flared up he could not even get out of bed. Being this was his first attempt at winter I suspect he had a flare up, and could not move about very well.
If his condition was severe maybe he could not light a fire because he could not get his fingers working properly. Maybe, maybe not. Something hampered his abilility to cope with that night. Too Bad.

 Link to this message

Post Number: 8
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Monday, March 8, 2010 - 7:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Not sure about arthritis....but he had tried winter trip before....and several summer ones....bottom line is he wasn't properly trained....or as preacher said, being prepared is more than going out with just an axe, some matches, a space blanket & zero experience (or very little any way...and no training)

Add Your Message Here
Bold text Italics Underline Insert a clipart image

Username: Posting Information:
Only registered users may post messages here. If you have cookies enabled, your username and password will automatically appear in the boxes. Register

Forums | Last Day | Last Week | Search | User List | Help/Rules Home