Interview with Gordon Giesbrecht, PhD



Gordon Giesbrecht, PhD is a professor of thermophysiology and the Director of the Laboratory for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at the University of Manitoba. He has authored over 100 articles on cold physiology. An excellent speaker and educator, considering the number of times he has been intentionally hypothermic, he also has a great sense of humor. He has been known to refer to the Alaskan Panhandle as “ U.S. occupied British Columbia.”


WMN: Was there an event in your personal life, or education, that sparked your interest in what happens to the human body when it begins to cool below our normal core temperature?

GG: Well, in the late 1970’s and early 80’s I was a wilderness instructor in the Rockies. Mountain climbing, rock climbing, white water canoeing, ski touring and stuff like that, and getting cold, or staying warm I should say, becomes very important when you are pursuing those activities. Then when I returned to Winnipeg to do a Masters at the University of Manitoba I found a physician named Gerry Bristow who was willing to provide medical oversight while we actually made people hypothermic. I didn’t think we would be able to do that and when I found out I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.


WMN: Dr. Hamlet has postulated for years that growing up in a cold weather environment changes how a person reacts to getting cold and their attitude about cold weather. In essence, if you grew up where it gets cold you more aware of the real dangers and less likely to be frightened of the cold. Do you share that assessment?

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My Knife

July/August 2011   ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 24  Number 4

My Knife

By Frank Hubbell, DO

One of the more common expedition problems is the minor wound that is caused by the handling and mishandling of knives. Knives are an essential part of the outdoor experience. They have many important uses, and they come in a variety of styles. There is no one knife that will do everything.

This article is not about the wounds caused by knives; instead, it is a little bit of knowledge about knives themselves: the basic types and uses and some hints that may help to minimize wounds caused by these ubiquitous tools.

Common types of knives used in the wilderness setting are fixed blade knives, pocket or folding blade knives, and pocket tool knives. Read more


January/February 2011   ISN-1059-6518  Volume 24 Number 1

What is your Preparation for the Unexpected Night Out?

Brad L. Bennett, PhD, NREMT-P, WEMT, FAWM

Captain, US Navy (Ret.)

Member, Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care

SOLO Wilderness Medicine Instructor

Tidewater Search & Rescue, Virginia, TSAR Medical Officer

Member, Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care


So, what is survival?


The following is a good working definition: “The ability and the desire to stay alive, all alone, under adverse conditions, until rescued.” These essential items cannot be found in your SAR pack or at GSAR course training. The process to survive depends on:

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Survival & Self Preservation in Disaster Response

More and more individuals are responding to long-term rescue efforts around the world. Whether the disasters are caused by nature or man, rescuers responding to these far-off places need to know how to take care of themselves from the moment they land, to the time they return home.

March/April 2005   ISSN-1059-6518    Volume 18 Number 2

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