Innovation Survival Challenge

December 27th, 2016 by

Scheduled: June 3-4, 2017, plus the night of the 2nd

Cost – $420.00

Preregistration required – please email to inquire

Length – 2  days & 2 nights (for groups interested, this challenge can be scheduled for up to 4 days and nights)

Where – Vermont – rain, snow or shine

This camp challenge, Innovative Survival, takes place in the Vermont Wilderness, the beautiful Green Mountains. Its design is to both challenge and invigorates the mind, body and core self. Survival skills are the foundation of this challenge, but how they are utilized is where the fun comes into the challenge.

Here at Element Mountain we host Wilderness Survival Camps of various levels, but this challenge takes on a different perspective that transports participants to new levels of true survival skill understanding. Survival skills for the purpose of skills is one thing, but the reality of a real survival situation tends to get lost in a simple techniques class or camp. Innovative Survival helps to bridge the gap between mere skill and the emotional content and physical reality involved with adverse survival conditions without the extreme dangers of a real situation.

The simple fact is that many people think their skills rather than know them, which in many cases gives a major false sense of security.

This camp is designed to shed any illusions of skills one may think they have, and in the face of hardcore reality help people come to terms with their skill facts. The ego tends to create knee-jerk reactions when it comes to actually questioning ones true abilities rather than the thoughts of what someone is able to factually do. This illusion shedding to find personal skill facts is a vital necessity in being as prepared as possible for adverse situations. And in such an unstable world this knowledge is an essential aspect of life.

The camp begins by hiking into the challenge location here in the Green Mountains. All necessary gear is transported back in packs. Once in the camp area the details are laid out as to how the camp is run.

Once the basic camp is set up, remaining gear is divided into categories and placed to the side. The challenge begins with participants striping off all clothing and footwear. From that point the situation is laid out. This involves the explanation of the “state of emergency”, what, who, how, why, where; the situational conditions that have created the need for survival measures. Usually this involves things like a plane wreck, a vehicle dying on an abandoned road, inclement weather or injury/sickness while traveling on foot cross-country, natural disaster, and that sort of thing.

Participants will need to work together in whatever capacity the instructions dictate; who is well, who is injured, who has what skills, etc. The basic object is to successfully layout and execute survival protocols to insure the safety and well-being of all members in the group. With each major skill that is performed to quality standards, items of clothing and other tools will be “found”. Participants will need to discuss and decide upon how each item found will be used to most successfully benefit the group’s needs. The aim is to eventually acquire all the clothing back and secure a satisfactory survival camp for the group that includes the necessities of the group’s specific needs as to the emergency situation.

The skill levels will be geared to the experience and skill level of the groups participating.

Why no clothing? The major thing I have noticed that is missing in survival classes, even semi-situational ones, is the lack of emotional reality. Everyone knows it is a controlled game, no real danger. This automatically removes a level of discomfort found in adverse conditions. The absence of clothing does a few things:

  • Removes level of mental comfort
  • Removes a level of emotional comfort
  • Removes the microclimate shelter around the body
  • Produces real feelings of exposure – found in most adverse conditions
  • Removes fallback tools
  • Forces discomfort

By removing clothing places the body directly in the elements and environment without the shielding and this induces discomfort. Discomfort automatically challenges the brain, emotions and body in ways nothing else can. It elevates the situation to a new level of perception, one of need rather than pretend. Need is one of the best teachers and catalysts of improvising.

The soles of feet are now the earth, rock, sticks and in mud and water. The act of sitting down becomes more challenging as does moving from place to place. People take clothing for granted and this tends to give survival participants a false sense of comfort and security. The removal of a base security layer (clothing) also amps participants up into taking focus, skills, motivations and quality further than classroom basic levels, take these things more seriously.

As with an adverse situation, the goal is of course survival, but also acquiring a level of safety and comfort. Successfully completing a necessary survival skill and being rewarded clothing and or tools in return is a way to slowly bring this feeling of safety and comfort into the challenge. This format is a great way to help participants feel achievement in real-time while seeing their efforts manifest into success. There are other major wilderness survival schools who have higher level events where this is also a part of the requirements for the same reasons. The major survival players understand this essential aspect of wilderness learning, as did many pre-technological cultures around the world.

Innovation is the major key in this challenge because participants will not be given or have all tools necessary for executing survival skills. The group will need to work together in order to improvise so as to successfully complete each level of skill with what is at hand rather than opening a neat survival pack. Survival is about successful adaptation and that requires a solid level of innovation and the ability to improvise in adverse conditions.

This Innovation Survival Challenge is open to any level participant 18 years of age or older. You can be an absolute beginner or someone who has practiced survival skills for a while. The more varied the skill sets of the group the more interesting and successful the challenge tends to be.

Are you up to the challenge?

Meals are supplied. Preregistration is required as there is limited room. Upon registration and deposit you will be emailed a full equipment list, location, times and directions.

For more information, questions or to register please email us at or call at 802-349-0601.


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