November is Outside's Survival Issue. Gathered here from those pages are a few tales of hungry predators and narrow escapes from nature's wrath.
A 21-year-old French alpinist set off from her high camp toward a summit in the Mont Blanc mountain chain. She had spent two days waiting for good weather and had slept very little. She began her ascent alongside two other climbers, who then turned back at a difficult section of rock. She continued on, knowing there was easier terrain ahead. When a sudden storm came in, she dug a snow cave. Two days later, her father and a friend contacted search and rescue. Two more days passed before the weather was clear enough for a helicopter to fly. When she heard a copter approaching, she poked her head out of the hole. She was flown to a hospital and diagnosed with fatigue and mild hypothermia.
Lost in the Snow
On a cloudy afternoon last March at Maine's Sugarloaf Resort, a 17-year-old and his father agreed to ski down from the top of the mountain separately and meet in the parking lot. The boy skied through a glade on the boundary of the resort and got lost. Visibility was poor, and there was hip-deep powder. That evening, while teams searched for him, the teen settled near a stream and built a shelter out of pine boughs and snow—copying something he'd seen on a survival TV show. The next day, the boy drank from the stream. At one point he heard a couple of snowmobiles in the distance. After another night in the cold, he decided to find his way out. He walked upstream until he saw snowshoe tracks and followed them to a closed road, where he was found by a rescue volunteer on a snowmobile.
A father took his six-year-old son to rent a canoe at Florida's Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. While the father read a waiver, the son took off and fell in the water near a dock where fishermen toss unused bait. There was a splash and a scream—the boy was in the jaws of an eight-foot alligator. The father ran into the water and punched the alligator's head. Another guy yelled to lift the gator out of the water, then jumped in and kicked its gut four times. The reptile let go, and the boy escaped with just scrapes and bruises.