In Alaska, Beer is Survival!

I want to thank @LERDELY on Twitter for alerting me to this story.

In Alaska, sometimes weird things happen.  Take for example the case of Clifton Vial, a guy from Nome Alaska.  He was out driving one day, and suddenly found himself and his Toyota Tacoma pickup stuck about 40 miles north of Nome Alaska.

For those of you not familiar with the wilds of Alaska 40 miles north of Nome defines “nowhere.”  I’m thinking he was probably on an old mining road, and managed to slide off of it.  There are no trees in this part of the world, and nothing more than peat moss for ground cover.  If you run off of the roadway surface you are stuck!  In this case Vial ran into a snow bank.  He tried to free himself before he realized just how stuck his truck was.

In total his ordeal took 60 hours before rescuers found him.  In the mean time it was a battle for warmth.  All he had for sustinance was a few frozen cans of Coors light. Poor guy.

He cut the tops off of the cans and dug the frozen liquid out like a can of baked beans with the blade of his pocket knife.  I wish this story were about a really cool beer like Midnight Sun’s TREAT, but alas it is about crap beer coming to the rescue.  But beer none the less and it did help to sustain him through his ordeal.  It reminds me a bit of that line Paul Hogan said in Crocodile Dundee when they had caught and cooked the lizard.  He said “It tastes like Shit, but you can live off it.”  I guess the same applies here.

They don’t have any trees in this part of the world, but they do have mountains.  I wonder if they were blue?


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Categories: Beer, big beer, News

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20 Comments on “In Alaska, Beer is Survival!”

  1. johnking82
    December 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    If it was a week surviving off a few cans of beer…sure I’ll be impressed….but 2.5 days, that’s pretty weak. The human body can go awhile without food and water.

    • Don
      December 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      But not in -17 degree temps with nothing but a windbreaker and a light fleece sleeping bag liner! Guess I forgot a few details… 😉

      • johnking82
        December 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

        Then he is an idiot if he only wore that stuff in Alaska. He should have been bear food.

        • Don
          December 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

          You’re not gonna get any argument from me!

        • Don
          December 15, 2011 at 10:29 am #

          Not disagreeing with you there, but he did say in the article I read that he USUALLY does go out with provisions and gear. Just this time he didn’t. That can happen to people, you do something 100 times and it works out ok all of them, the assumption is that the 101st time you do it it will be ok too. People get lazy. It is why people get hurt, because you have to anticipate the unexpected. He was lucky he wasn’t polar bear food. I’ll bet he never leaves the house without gear again, even in the summer!

  2. December 14, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    I’ll add this one to my list of arguments why cans are better than bottles.

    • Don
      December 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      Exactly Jason! You never know when you will have to cut them suckers open and dig out the brew with a knife for survival!

  3. Queen Linda
    December 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Oh gosh, gee (scuffing royal sandal and modestly ducking royal head) thanks for the photo credit to one of my other personalities (@LERDELY); here’s a story you might enjoy:

    • Don
      December 14, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

      I had no idea that was you Queenie! Thanks!

  4. December 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    The beer had 2 major bennies: 1) moisture–critical in a dry arctic climate; and 2) readily usable calories in the form of alcohol (unfortunately, these also open up the pores leading to accelerated heat loss.)

    And I have to agree w/ the other bear (John-bear vs Don-bear), that the guy was pretty dumb for not being better prepared. Hell, I’d be better prepared on a winter fishing trip to the mountains of Western MD than this guy was for the wilds of AK.

    Have to put him in the running for this year’s Darwin Awards I’m afraid.

    • Don
      December 15, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      The only reason i wouldn’t agree with you is because he didn’t die. I think the Darwins are reserved for those who leave the planet! 😉

  5. NicM
    December 14, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

    What the heck was this guy thinking? I grew up in the Anchorage area and always had survival gear in my trunk and knew how to do basic maintenance and repairs on my car just in case.

    • Don
      December 15, 2011 at 10:33 am #

      I lived in Eagle River for two years too, and you should not leave the house without some sort of provisions in the vehicle. Hell I spent most of my time on the Glenn Highway which has about 50,000 vehicles per day using it, but I still didn’t leave without a sleeping bag, some food and extra clothes too.

  6. December 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    I’ve heard of people drinking urine in order to survive, but this is just NASTY.

    • Don
      December 15, 2011 at 10:25 am #


  7. December 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm #

    This guy was definitely a grade A dumbass. Weird though that the article said he normally has survival gear packed and normally always takes his dogs too. Pretty sure the few cans of Coors Light he had were left over from the 30 pack he had for breakfast.

    • Don
      December 15, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      Good point Ryan. He may have been slightly impaired when he decided to take off in the first place!

  8. Geez
    December 14, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    Coors probably staged it. Good thing dude had a cold indicator on the can. If your dumb enough to need an indicator, give the guy credit for survival…

    • Don
      December 15, 2011 at 10:37 am #

      Geez, are you dissing the silver bullet? I’m pretty sure there is no difference between it and Natty light! 😉


  1. 5 Reasons Craft Beer is the World’s Greatest Beverage | Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - January 31, 2012

    […] Lent last year, and it’s a centuries-old tradition amongst Franciscan monks as well.  Even this guy lived off of Coors Light for three days while stuck in a snowbank, and that hardly even counts as […]

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