The “Glacial Downfall” episode was the last “adventure” with Cody Lundin. Anybody who was hoping to see any reason for his firing was sorely disappointed. If anything, there was plenty there if you were looking for a reason to fire Joe Teti, but I guess that sort of idiocy was what the producers were looking to continue.
What I found most interesting was that Joe’s tirades against Cody were so typical of what we barefooters have to put up with.
Even though Cody was not barefoot in this episode, the lack of reasoning and the objections sounded really familiar.
There was no reasoning behind it. It was “just because”. Teti believed something and no amount of data would change his mind. In fact, he could see it right before his eyes and the actual counter-evidence wasn’t good enough. And was an ass about it while he was at it.
And we see that when we go barefooted. We shouldn’t do so “just because”. They believe we’re going to hurt ourselves, and the evidence right in front of their faces isn’t good enough.
I wasn’t going to bother to watch any more shows after “Glacial Downfall”, but they’ve figured out how to milk it some more. There is a transition show on tonight. Here’s the description:
Journey’s End to a New Beginning—With the partnership between Joe Teti and Cody Lundin nearing its end, the crew provides interested viewers with an insider’s look at who will no longer be on the show and who will continue to test his survival skills with a new cohort.
I suspect we’ll be none the wiser as to just what happened after watching this episode. I also expect that they will whitewash things to make themselves look their best.
Anyways, here are my thoughts on “Glacial Downfall”.
The scenario are two adventurers are on a glacier in Norway when one slips into a hole, while anchored. So we pick up things with Joe dangling on a rope in the hole and Cody hanging on to him from above. Somehow a backpack has landed on a small ledge on the far side of the hole.
Why? How? So that Joe can do some risky macho suspense-building.
It’s stupid. The ice anchors are coming loose and we are told they have 10-15 minutes left on them. Joe’s priority should be getting out of there. But he decides he needs to get that backpack.
That means he has Cody lower him (right to the end of the rope) so that we can have dramatic shots of Joe swinging back and forth trying to grab the backpack. (You can be sure the producers thought this would be great TV.) But it is really stupid for survival.
It might make sense on a real military mission, but if you are trying to survive, macho will kill you (just as military missions kill soldiers).
Stopping and thinking about alternatives (you know, the Cody way) makes a lot more sense. My-son-the-Marine pointed out that it would have been easy enough for Joe to have come right up. Then then could have gone to the other side of the hole and fished up the backpack, hooking it with something and pulling it up. If absolutely necessary they could have reset the ice anchors and descended right to it and not have had to do the wild swinging and stressing.
You can see how close it is from this shot taken of Joe getting near the top, the shot taken from the other side.
This is what Dual Survival has become. It’s almost not worth watching even with Cody.
And then there is the big blow-up. You can see the Discovery Channel’s clip of it here.
Joe wants to stop at a minor wind-swept rock outcropping that provides little if any shelter at all. The reason is because he is absolutely sure that Cody will suffer from hypothermia. Here’s Joe blathering at us.
Joe: The hypothermia risk in a situation like this is very, very high, especially for Cody. The man is here in shorts and socks, in a frozen wasteland. If he goes down, I’m going with him, because he knows I’m not going to leave him here.
And here’s part of the conversation.
Joe: Dude, I’m concerned about you right now. I gotta tell you, I need to get you to some shelter.
Cody: Really? Why is that?
Joe: We’re in Norway right now.
Joe: It’s freezing cold and you’re in shorts. I worry about that.
Cody: (Heading downhill.) C’mon Joe.
Joe: For real?
Cody is jeopardizing his safety and my safety because he chooses to wear shorts and socks in a winter survival situation. All he’s doing is adding risk to a very risky situation.
Cody, stop! You’re compromising our mission!
Enough of this “mission” crap. If a regular person is stuck in a survival situation, surviving is not a “mission” (at least not in the military sense). Survival is easing along doing the right things, not bullheading one’s way out of it.
Joe: Cody is not dressed for this environment. He wants to keep moving. We could be walking into nothing. This little rock outcropping is a better deal now than nothing later.
You’re wearing fucking shorts in Norway.
Cody: I teach winter survival. You don’t. Let’s keep moving.
I should point out that Cody writes all about how he dresses in the cold in his book 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive. That book was published in 2003. Cody does this a lot. He knows what he is doing and has the experience.
It seems Joe is almost more upset by the socks because he keeps mentioning them. Cody is wearing three sets of wool socks. In his book he explains how they work (and I can attest that they really do): “While this might seem like insane behavior, learning more about why feet get cold is all the explanation you should need.” And then he lists 6 reasons. Let me highlight numbers 3 and 4:
3. Most shoes and boots act as a vapor barrier that prevents sweat-soaked socks from drying.
4. Poorly fitting footwear, lacing boots too tightly, or trying to stuff a foot with two pair of socks into a summer shoe or boot makes for a tight fit and impedes circulation. Foot circulation will arleady be compromised due to peripheral constriction of the blood vessels from outside cold temperatures.
Cody knows what he is talking about. He continues, “Donning loose and layered new wool socks allows for excess foot perspiration to freely evaporate while minimally compressing insulation and impeding circulation.”
Here’s even more conversation.
Joe: You’ve got to pray you find us shelter, because you’re not going to make it out of here and I’ve got to carry you out.
Cody: I teach winter survival—you don’t. I’ve trained for this and I know what the fuck I’m doing. Look where you’re proposing we stay.
Joe: My fucking life is being compromised.
Cody: Fuck you, Joe.
You know what’s missing from all that? Joe asking Cody, the expert. Did Joe ask Cody, “Dude, are you feeling cold? Any signs of hypothermia?”
If he had, the answer would have clearly been “NO!” Cody was in fine shape, but Joe could not leave his arrogant misconceptions behind. (And as I said, we barefooters see this all the time—the situation right in front of the face of others isn’t good enough.)
Joe wants to have them stop in a location with practically no shelter, with the wind blowing right in, with no chance of biological insulation, in the middle of the day, because he refused to understand what he is being told and insists only he knows what he is doing when he has no experience in it.
That is not teamwork at all. The producers try to portray Cody as not being the team player, but it was Joe not trusting his partner and his partner’s expertise.
Cody’s solution: keep moving. By moving, the body generates a lot of extra heat. As Cody knew, they needed to find a better place to shelter for the night, and that had nothing to do with his shorts and socks.
By the way, the heat loss from that rather small portion of exposed skin on his legs really wouldn’t amount to much. What was important was that Cody really had his core taken care of. You can see that from the way he is dressed on the rest of his body.
Good warm wool and lots of layers work wonders. His book also talks about his wearing shorts—pages 88-89. It’s all about acclimatization. The human body can adapt to a lot of different temperature conditions if you let it, and Cody has a lot of such experience, in both hot and cold. Of course, Teti couldn’t credit that to Cody either.
Anyways, they continue down and find a much better (though not ideal) shelter place. There are juniper bushes around which can be used as a bit of a windbreak, and as incredibly important insulation from the cold ground, which can suck heat from a body faster than anything. Cody also managed to build a masterful snow wall as a wind block.
Joe makes it sound as if they were “lucky” to find such a place. But look, they were heading down! The terrain and the local ecosystem was bound to change and bound to get better. It wasn’t luck—it was knowing the Earth. (The only real luck involved was not knowing how far they’d have to travel for things to change sufficiently.)
Cody’s decision made all the difference. If they’d stayed at the high outcropping they would have been in a world of hurt. But by continuing to move, they found a place that was survivable. Of course, Joe could not acknowledge that.
From here, as they continued to descend, the show got pretty mundane, more on a par with the earlier shows.
When they get even lower, they build a parabolic shelter using moss for the walls. Joe climbs a tree to retrieve a squirrel’s nest (for the dry tinder inside). That was kind of cool to watch, even if the producers did make him pretend to slip just before a commercial break to try to generate some suspense. (Such fakery drives me nuts.)
There was also a segment where they find and eat some what they call “mountain cranberries”. Those are called “lingonberries”, as anybody of Scandinavian descent knows. (And Lundin is Swedish, so I’m surprised he didn’t correct Joe.)
One little error (I think) I noticed occurred when Cody lit a fire. He had a lighter without fuel, so he used some broken-apart cigarette filters. He also said that he created “lighter flint dust” that could be ignited by carefully scraping the lighter flint against a metallic shovel.
Flint is really a kind of glass (more or less) and won’t ignite. When you strike steel against flint what is really happening is that, since the flint is harder (though more brittle) than the steel, it is chipping of very small pieces of the steel that ignites in the air. So it is the metal that is igniting, not the flint. So, I suspect Cody was creating metallic dust that was easily ignited by a spark.
We also got to see Cody making a fish trap in a stream and catching a fish.
I’m actually surprised he still had his socks on for this. From the picture, it actually looks like temperatures are close to or above freezing, and in those sorts of temperatures I always go barefoot, quite comfortable. If I still had on 3 layers of wool socks, my feet would be sweating horribly. (I also wouldn’t want to get them wet in the stream.) But Cody kept his sock on.
They then rappelled down the side of a fjord. This portion of the episode was given short-shrift. I suspect they had planned for more time to be spent on this, but it all got taken up by the arguments. Oddly enough, we weren’t given any discussion or warnings about having enough rope, and from this picture as they descended, I don’t see how you could even carry enough rope.
But they make it to the water where they are just coincidentally rescued by a boat that just happens by.
It’s not clear to me at all from the episode why Cody would have been fired. After the big blow-up they settled down and worked together like they have in the past. They gave their usual calm explanations for what was going on. (On the other hand, we have no idea whether the scenes were actually shot in the order shown. Yeah, these shows are officially “unscripted”, but we’ve learning in the past how the producers cheat, so the blow-up scene could have been the last one filmed.)
I want to finish up by noting that Joe Teti didn’t learn a thing. He wrote a pretty insulting commentary on his Facebook page about Cody (while trying to defend himself from people pointing out his idiocy). Here is some of that, along with my comments.
I am a guy with average common sense. For someone to WILLINGLY dress in shorts and socks and enter an EXTREME cold weather environment is very, very difficult for me to wrap my head around. Yes…..Cody can make fire. Absolutely. But there is MUCH MUCH more to surviving in the wild than making fire. THAT IS ONE ASPECT OF IT. ONE! Cody is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to survival. Why in Gods name he chooses to dress like he does is a mystery to me. Norway was NOT the place to dress like you were at the beach. Has anyone ever been in -20 degrees? Even properly dressed it is cold. That type of weather will kill you very quickly. However, one person dropping to hypothermia was a very serious issue. That compromises the other person….end of story.
No, Joe is arrogant and refuses to learn. Right before his eyes Cody was doing just fine, and Joe refused to learn anything from that. He still insisted that hypothermia was imminent despite what he saw.
But don’t come on this page and try to hammer me for trying to protect him from himself and exercise common sense. If you think dressing in shorts and socks in a sub zero extreme winter survival situation is prudent….I highly suggest you go see your local psychologist.
“Common sense” probably gets more people killed in survival situations than anything else. What counts is knowledge. Cody had it and Joe refused to acquire it. Cody did not need protection from himself—he knew what he was doing.
And he’s calling Cody crazy—for actually surviving.
Are you aware that kids dress up like Cody for Halloween? YES….. I have been sent pics….and of me as well. Those are the same kids who are HIGHLY impressionable and will put on shorts and socks and walk out into the snow to pretend to be Cody. MAYBE YOUR KIDS!! I will not allow that. It would be highly irresponsible of me to not at least comment on the show why you shouldn’t do that.
You know what? It won’t hurt a kid to go out in the snow dressed like that. When I was a kid I walked (near-)naked in the snow. Not for long. But I did fine, and came back in without hurting myself. It was an interesting experience. That’s because kids are not idiots. (Not only that, but kids stay out in the cold with wet feet from sledding—I did it myself—and no worse for the wear.) Joe is rationalizing without thinking because he is so damn sure of himself, without justification.
If you cant see that, sadly you are a fool without equal and obviously could care less about the effect you have on others. Do I take risks on the show? Yes. Calculated risks WELL WITHIN MY SKILL SETS AND PHYSICAL ABILITIES.
And so anybody with more experience and who knows what they are doing are fools. Pfft.
Did he even consider that Cody dressing the way he did was WELL WITHIN HIS SKILL SET, ABILITIES, AND KNOWLEDGE?
Nope, he won’t grant Cody that. Pfft.
And then Joe makes a big thing about climbing the tree to get the squirrel’s nest for tinder, and retrieving the backpack, and pulling the sled:
If it were not for the fact I got the squirrel nest out of the tree, there would have been no fire. Period. If I would have not retrieved the pack out of that bottomless pit, we would have had to walk for miles to get down off that cliff. Who pulled the sled the entire time? Who carried the pack the entire time?
Cry . . . me . . . a . . . river.
Without the squirrel’s nest, Cody would have found tinder in one of a dozen possible locations he intimately knows where to look. The backpack could have been retrieved without the risk and the melodrama. And did he even ask Cody to pull the sled? Because if Cody really were cold and about the suffer hypothermia, pulling the sled would have been great for increasing metabolic heat. Obviously, since they didn’t have Cody pull the sled, Cody was doing just fine.
And then you have the Joe defenders, whose only contribution seems to be that since Joe “served his country” he should be above criticism. Bleh. There are plenty of idiotic members of the service. It’s not a free pass (but all too often it seems to be used as one in place of learning what one is doing.)
So anyways, I’ll probably watch the show tonight, just to see Cody one last time and to see if I can glean any of what really happened there. I expect Discovery will show something about the firing (but I also know I won’t know how much of it to believe).
What I do know is that the show won’t be worth watching any more. Joe Teti is just too overbearing and Discovery is changing the show from “Dual Survival” to “Dual Adventure”, so there’s really not much to be learned unless you are part of some small set of macho dudes who likes to take unnecessary risks so you can see yourself on television.