Crushed by a boulder. Lost in a blizzard. Sucked into a raging river. When it comes to backcountry disasters, even experienced hikers sometimes find that a minor blunder can quickly become a full-blown survival situation. The best way to avoid the same fate? Read these real-life tales from five survivors who made it out alive, and learn what they did wrong–and right.
Caught in a Colorado Snowstorm
An autumn climb turns life-threatening when a hiker endures a night in a whiteout at 12,000 feet in the Rockies.
Lost in the Olympics
A gym teacher's speed hike becomes a five-day bushwhack.
Fighting Death on Mt. Foraker
Stunned by the loss of his friends, a stranded climber struggles down one of Alaska's toughest peaks.
Man Versus Rock
A staged photo op in the Tetons results in a near-crushing.
Headfirst Down the McKinley
A sudden swim in a glacier-fed river nearly finishes a ranger.