True North Blog

The Power of PMA

In all of his wilderness survival courses, True North instructor, Erik, repeatedly stresses the paramount importance of PMA … Positive Mental Attitude.  As he explains to his students, in a survival situation, it really doesn’t matter how much technical experience and training you have, or even what cool equipment you have in your backpack, that will help determine if you live or die.  Rather, it is what is in your head and heart that most counts.  A video-diary that Lexi Deforest, a Colorado college student, recently recorded when she became trapped in the mountains after her foot became detached from her leg in a climbing accident is an excellent example of the power of PMA.

Thanks to Jake Griebe of SOWMAS, a Wisconsin based wilderness medicine and survival school, Erik just watched Lexi’s video which has since gone viral.  We’ve provided a video link below for you to watch.  But first a warningIt is not for the faint of heart!  Lexi’s injury is unsettling.

Before you watch, here is some background information to give you some context …

On August 11, 2012, Lexi and her friend, Eric, both students at Colorado State University, had spent the day climbing in the Vedauwoo Mountains in Southeastern Wyoming when she fell 8 feet into a trench after she tried to jump across it.  After Eric left her to get help, Lexi worked to keep herself calm in the dark by talking into her camera.  You can watch her use humour to stave off the fear and physical pain that is evident on her face.  As Lexi explained later, “Speaking out loud and my stream-of-consciousness settled me.”   This video is a perfect example of how a survivor uses reason to control the emotional and physical responses of panic.

After two surgeries, Lexi is not yet able to walk, but she can wiggle her toes.


Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook and YouTube.

Comments are closed.

Stay in Touch