Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Upcoming EMS Lecture

Upcoming EMS Lecture

True North is very pleased to announce that it will be participating in the “UPMC Morning of Education” on Friday, October 18 sponsored and organized by UPMC Prehospital Care.  This purpose of this event is to provide continuing-education training and credits to EMS personnel and other medical professionals in and around the Western Pennsylvania region. The theme of the program is the “Outdoors” so all of the lectures will focus on emergency medicine issues in remote locations where definitive medical care is delayed. Erik will kick off the day with his lecture “Cool Lessons: Dealing with Hypothermia in the Backcountry.”  He will then be followed by two physicians who will each talk about altitude sickness, then the treatment of venomous snakebites. All in all, it should be an informative and fun day … Especially since it will which will be held at the Pittsburgh Zoo!

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Drink Your Urine?

Drink Your Urine?

One of the most common questions that I am asked during one of my wilderness first aid or wilderness survival courses, or during a lecture, is the the following:  “Is it okay during a survival situation to drink one’s urine?” This definitely is a good question for several reasons, most of all, since it is being asked within the context of helping to stave off dehydration, the idea appears to make sense.  After all, as one may reason, if one is dehydrated, one needs water, so one shouldn’t waste it, even if it is one’s own bodily waste product.  More to the point, however, so many people ask the question because they have seen it discussed and done so many times on so-called reality television programs.  This wouldn’t be so bad except that there are people who, during a wilderness emergency, actually have resorted to drinking their urine. So, what […]

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Into The Wild – Is the Mystery Solved?

Into The Wild - Is the Mystery Solved?

It seems that stories about the struggle to survive and overcome great odds in the unforgiving wilderness rarely endure.  Sure, an account may effect big headlines in the newspapers, and people may actively chatter about it amongst themselves with particular emphasis on the gory details, but even this quickly fades and people just as quickly forget.  While many know the basic facts about the Donner Party, few seem to know the real details, much of it inspiring, and fewer still seem to know anything about the U.S.S. Indianapolis.  This is a shame … For them, and for us. However, the story about the death of Christopher McCandless, who in 1992 slowly starved in an isolated bus near Denali National Park long endures.  Many of us, of course, read the accounts that Jon Krakauer wrote, first in Outside in 1993, and later in his 1996 book, Into the Wild.  And, certainly, the […]

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Movie Suggestion – “All is Lost”

Movie Suggestion - "All is Lost"

I am usually very reluctant to make the effort to see, or to recommend to others, a movie that is “survival” themed.  That’s because most are usually junk in that they are based more on entirely contrived drama than actual fact or reality.  However, I just watched the trailer for a movie that is to be released in October that I might just have to see. All is Lost is an American film about a man who becomes lost alone at sea after his sail boat sinks soon after being struck by an adrift commercial shipping container.  The film appears to be unique in that there is very little dialogue and the only cast member is actor, Robert Redford.  There isn’t even a soccer ball named Wilson! Anyway, check out the official trailer below. If anyone is interested in seeing it too, just let me know … I’ll even buy the […]

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Discounted Courses for Volunteers!

Discounted Courses for Volunteers!

Are you interested in a way to help protect the environment and save some money on a True North course too? On Sunday, October 6, True North will spend the day volunteering in a wonderful event that will benefit, not just our local communities, but our entire region.  We don’t want, though, to keep all the fun to ourselves … True North wants You to join in too! Organized by Paddle Without Pollution (PWP), the purpose of this event is to clean up debris along the banks of the Kiskiminetas River near Leechburg, Pennsylvania.  PWP staff and many volunteers will paddle their kayaks and canoes in search of the debris that sadly pollutes our waterways like bottles, tires, televisions, bicycles, and plastic industrial drums (to name just a few), while other staff and volunteers manage what is brought to shore for pick up later by the local government for proper disposal. To […]

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True North featured in Backpacker

True North featured in Backpacker

True North is very pleased to share that it is mentioned in the September 2013 issue of Backpacker. This nationally distributed magazine features a wide array of information and articles focused on wilderness hiking and adventure.  First published in 1973, it has since become one of the leading journals in the outdoors industry. Erik was interviewed in May, and then again in June, for two articles related to water.  One focused on filtration and purification of water, while the other on finding it using land navigation skills.  You can check out his remarks regarding one of them in the Skills section under Instant Upgrades “Pro Tips” on page 44-45. But we’ve just so happened to provide a copy of it below! We certainly would like to thank Backpacker for the shout out, but we especially want to thank all of our friends, partners, and, most definitely our clients, who really made this possible. […]

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Pittsburgh-Area Snakebite Victim Already Back Camping

Pittsburgh-Area Snakebite Victim Already Back Camping

I have been diligently working these last few weeks on an article about first aid treatment for venomous snakebites that I will be submitting to an outdoors magazine in the next few days.  In it, my goal is to  underscore many of the same points that I already have in several blog posts this last several weeks.  One important point, then, is to try to help dispel many myths and misconceptions concerning snakebites, not just when it comes to first aid, but also about how supposedly “deadly” they are.  The fact of matter is that while snakebites are certainly a serious medical emergency, not very many people actually die. Consider, for example, what happened this past Sunday on the Yough River Trail in Fayette County, about 25 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.  A woman was gathering firewood when she thought that a bee stung her hand.  Instead, she found a copperhead […]

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A Real World Lesson in Survival

A Real World Lesson in Survival

Last week, I relayed the story of Heather Barnes, a college student studying marine biology, who had just survived 16 hours treading water in the blazing sun, all the while being stung by jellyfish, after being swept out to sea off the coast of Honduras. Her story is a good one.  Certainly because it ended happily, but also because she offers us many good lessons for the time when we might need to fight for our lives. What are the lessons?  It is helpful mix of what to do, but, maybe more importantly, what NOT to do.  For such a smart woman, she did several really dumb things that created her problem in the first place.  But, then again, we all could have probably made the same mistakes, and I’m not so sure that I could have lasted as long as she did to make it back to shore. Anyway, […]

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Adventure Race Results – Congratulations Becca!

Adventure Race Results - Congratulations Becca!

Congratulations to a great friend of True North, Becca Mix, who competed today in the Friends of the Riverfront “Pittsburgh Triathlon & Adventure Race,” which started and ended this morning on the North Shore of Pittsburgh.  To write that her performance was outstanding would be an understatement. The “Adventure Race” portion, which was comprised of 122 racers, included three stages: first a 2 mile paddle up the Allegheny River and back, followed by a 20K bike ride up and back along the HOV lane of Interstate 279, and ending with a 5K run. It was definitely a challenging race. So how did Becca do? She finished 11th overall at 1:28:22 … “Overall” meaning men AND women! She was 2nd of all the women. Moreover, Becca finished 1st in her age group! True North had been considering recruiting Becca for Team True North, the adventure racing team that it sponsors, but […]

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Wilderness First Aid – Snakebite

Wilderness First Aid - Snakebite

Despite common belief, death caused from the bite of a venomous snake in the United States is exceedingly rare.  The Wilderness Medical Society reports that, of the roughly 45,000 snakebites that are reported each year, about 8,000 are confirmed venomous, and of this number only around 10 actually result in death (typically because the victim was very young, very old, or suffered already from an underlying medical condition, like an allergy).  In point of fact, more people die each year from bee stings and from taking “selfies” — by literally walking off cliffs or into traffic to get the perfect angle — than they do from snakebites. Still, a venomous snakebite, in particular that of the most common one, a pit viper, is still nothing to belittle, as the injury, even if it means the low probability of death, may still be intensely life altering.  In particular, the high potential […]

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