- English (US)
- Français (FR)
I am a university student studying aviation in the US. Over my 2015/2016 winter break, I decided to journey to the Canadian Arctic to drive the Tuktoyaktuk Winter Road, an ice road build in the winter to connect Tuk with to Inuvik. It was the adventure of a lifetime. What an incredible place. I made it to Tuk with about 15 minutes remaining in 2015 and spent the night camped in the car above the Arctic Ocean. Quite literally the end of the world.
In the morning, it was snowing lightly. Seeing that there was very little to do in Tuk, and I needed to begin my trek back south the keep on schedule, I decided to leave. I was a bit worried that if much snow got on the ice road I would be stuck in Tuk. I should have stayed. At least I would have been stuck there.
On the morning of Jan 1st, I ventured once again onto the ice road, expecting (hoping) for an uneventful drive back to Inuvik. It was snowing lightly, but I felt good and could see the road, which seemed to be fine. Then BAM, a few miles off the Arctic Ocean, complete whiteout. I couldn't see anything. Before I had a chance to even stop, I was stuck. I had lost sight of the road and ended up just off the left side in the snow. I tried to free myself, but it was no use. I got out of the car and assessed the situation. I then attempted to free myself from the snow using a shovel and tire chains. No good. I was truly stuck, on a frozen Arctic river in the middle of winter in the middle of nowhere, by myself. The wind was strong, the snow getting stronger. I had seen this before, but it was on some kind of National Geographic program about the harshness of Antarctica. Now I was living it. I dared not stay out of the car too long, for it was very cold and my attempts to free the car were clearly futile. I considered it best to wait for help. Throughout the event, I communicated with my family with an Iridium SBD device.
After over 20 hours on the road with not a soul to be seen, I decided to activate my PLB. I was running low on fuel (I idled the car engine to keep warm and was not sure it would turn back on in the cold), it would be significantly more difficult to stay warm without the engine. I was lucky enough to be carrying that device as well as my ACR ResQLink+. The combination worked magnificently. I was able to give information to my family, who could then pass it to emergency personnel. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police had my location and were working to get a response. After about 24 hours stuck on the ice road, some headlights appeared. I was ecstatic. I jumped out of the car with a flashlight and began signaling them. They stopped and picked me up. They were locals who just happened to be passing by, what luck. They took me to Inuvik, where the RCMP was already aware of my situation. RCMP coordinated with a recovery company to recover my vehicle from the road.
Thank you ACR!
Learn how the ...