Video: How to Survive a Fall Through the Ice and Prevent Hypothermia

Spoiler Alert: You are about to see me carve a hole in a frozen lake and jump in the freezing-cold water--twice. After both jumps I'll take the necessary steps to pull myself out, change clothes, and start a fire to get warm as fast as possible.

I performed this stunt last weekend (in a controlled environment where help was close by) because this is exactly the type of survival scenario I could encounter on my upcoming snowmobile adventure. After I cross Great Bear Lake, I'll be traveling on stretches of rivers as I make my way to the Arctic Coast. If there's one section of the trip where I'll be most at risk of falling through the ice, it'll be on these rivers. Frozen rivers are the most dangerous to cross because they're the most unpredictable.

With that out of the way, enjoy the video and be glad you aren't the one getting dunked.

What I Learned:

1. How my body reacts to the initial shock of freezing-cold water, so I know what to expect if it happens for real.
2. How my body reacts to the cold, so I have a better understanding of how fast I'd loose my core heat.
3. That I would have been OK if I had been in the ice water longer, because, although I was very cold afterward, I was not shivering.
4. That my ice spikes work. It would have been very difficult to crawl out of the water without them. They could be a lifesaver.
5. That fleece, although better than most fabrics, doesn't do a great job of insolating you when wet; my legs were freezing cold under my fleece pants.
6. That it would be much tougher to get out of the hole if the surrounding ice was weak; I put a good amount of pressure on the ice while climbing out.
7. That I can survive. Being able to think rationally in a situation like this is what saves you, and after this test I gained confidence knowing that I could rescue myself if this happens for real.