[Season 11 of History Channel's Mountain Men premiered Thursday, Sep 1, immediately prior to ALONE. Some of the Mountain Men also wear WeatherWool.]
For the third time, our Anorak in Lynx Pattern will be seen on the History Channel Survival Competition ALONE. ... And actually, I just found out only an hour before the premiere of ALONE: FROZEN, that contestant Amós Rodriguez, also wore his Anorak on ALONE: THE SKILLS, which airs immediately after FROZEN. There is some more info below, and the BLOG entry of 2022-08-11.
In total, 5 ALONE Contestants have chosen our clothing.
ALONE: FROZEN, premiered Thursday, August 11, and concluded Thursday, September 22. We were unaware anyone would be wearing our wool until we saw commercials for the upcoming contest. We wondered who was wearing our 'Rak. Customer Peter Wiltse also wondered, and questioned the WeatherWool Group on Facebook. Customer Kelley Nelson identified Callie Russell, a previous contestant on ALONE. Callie purchased an Anorak and Neck Gaiter from us in August 2021. I had a long and delightful (for me, at least) conversation with Callie in July of 2022. Among other things, she told me that Amós Rodriguez, another contestant on the upcoming series, also chose to wear our FullWeight Lynx Pattern Anorak. Checking our records, I found that Amós purchased his Rak in September of 2021. This is a real kick for us! And so we got particular enjoyment out of a new season of ALONE! Thanks to Peter and Kelley ... AND CALLIE AND AMÓS (below)!!! The FROZEN competition differs from the usual ALONE approach in that the FROZEN contest ends at 50 days, and all remaining participants will share equally in the $500,000 prize.
Amós and Callie took a real shot at making the 50 days in severe Labrador, but they both eventually pulled out because they felt it was the wisest choice not to subject their bodies to any more punishment. The contest was won by Woniya Thibeault, the only one to last the entire 50 days. Woniya is also the only woman to ever win ALONE. Hats off to anyone who has the nerve to attempt this! MANY THANKS to Amós and Callie for wearing our gear! And WOW-WOW for Woniya. I think I'd last about one night!
I actually had a fascinating phone call with Amós only an hour prior to airtime of the premiere! He's a very friendly and engaging guy.
Amós Rodriguez is featured on both ALONE: FROZEN and ALONE: THE SKILLS
History Channel's ALONE Survival/Endurance Contest airs Thursday Evenings at 9pm Eastern Time. The Season 9 series finale aired August 4th 2022.
JP Quiñonez is the winner of ALONE season 9! Congratulations JP!!! And THANKS for including our Anorak in your kit. JP put on an amazing display of tenacity and sagacity! Everyone who takes a shot at this has some special talents, mental and physical. Way to go, JP and Benji and thank you both very much for choosing WeatherWool!
In Season 9, two contestants wore WeatherWool. "Our people" were Benji and JP!! Benji got some kind of poisoning or infection and had to tap out after about 25 days. Until he got sick, Benji was really cruising. But severe dehydration, high fever and internal distress is a long-term health risk, so Benji had to seek treatment. I spoke at length with Benji on 28 July, 2022, just a few hours before my grandson was born. Benji very nearly died from his illness, and doctors never were able to determine the cause. Benji is an old-fashioned guy and actually refused all medical treatment except IV water. His recovery was slow but he was doing extremely well when we spoke; lifting weights regularly again and spending about 10 hours a week training jiu jitsu.
Wilderness living is really difficult in many ways! Benji's sickness reminded me of HG Wells' novel The War of the Worlds, in which the alien attackers seemed invincible until they suddenly were killed by microbes.
Near the end of Episode 5, they aired footage of JP catching plenty of trout and going strong, but I get the feeling that the contestants who are soon to leave the show are the ones who get the airtime. Now that I know JP won, I guess the producers threw in a head-fake! Toward the end of Episode 6, they also focused on JP, and how much he was missing his sweetheart. I thought he was going to head home, but NO. JP employed a previously-untested strategy ... fasting. He did not eat at all in 9 days (maybe much longer), consuming only water. He also is the only contestant to not use fire for heat! JP decided the pursuit of food and the maintenance of a fire for heat would result in a net loss of calories ... so he focused on conserving energy. Mostly, he bundled up in windproof clothing. This type of non-activity is the opposite of what the Anorak was designed for. And our Fabrics are all designed to breathe. JP wanted to eliminate air-exchange so that he could conserve as much energy and heat as possible. He did wear our Anorak as an inner layer and sometimes an outer layer but often his visible garment a windproof synthetic. [Wool can be windproof, and waterproof too -- felt -- but it's not what we want to do. At least, not yet.] BUT we did have a nice little surprise at the end of the final episode, when JP's sweetheart, Jennifer, surprised him, letting him know he was the winner. Jennifer was wearing our Watch Cap and Neck Gaiter, which we had sent to JP along with the Anorak he ordered.
Here is some background info ... WeatherWool was worn by two contestants during the 9th Season of ALONE, History Channel's hit $500,000 Survival/Endurance Contest. which was taped in late 2021, somewhere in Labrador, in Canada's Northeast. Here is the idea of ALONE:
- Ten people are taken to a very remote area with a COLD winter
- They are dropped off in the same general area, so they experience the same environment
- They are separated from each other by several miles
- They do not interact or have any information coming to them from the outside world
- They have no knowledge regarding the status of the other contestants
- They can bring a very limited amount of clothing and tools
- They do have a device that enables them to communicate with show staff in order to report medical emergencies or to "tap out"
- The person who does not tap out (and is not declared medically unfit by staff) is the winner of $500,000
- It usually takes about 80 days for 9 people to tap out
Below is more info about the contestants and how they came to wear WeatherWool.
I spent a few days in summer on the Labrador Coast, and I remember thinking the place would be truly brutal in winter! The contestants are very tight-lipped regarding the outcome. But they did tell me no lives were lost. And they told me they were very happy with the wool.
Through the first five episodes, about 25 days have elapsed and three contestants, including Benji, have tapped-out. The first contestant left due to loneliness, then next two due to medical problems. Episodes 4 and 5 showed Benji securing and processing significant amounts of food, but apparently ingesting some kind of parasite that eventually forced Benji out of the competition. JP remains.
JP has just published a book on surviving and thriving in the wild. Please visit his own website for details.
Juan Pablo Quiñonez (second from left in front row) wore our Al's Anorak in FullWeight Lynx Pattern Fabric and and Benji Hill (top right) wears our Mouton Jacket, also in Lynx Pattern. During the contest, Benji told me he actually wore the Anorak much more than the Mouton Jacket. After the show, Teimojin Tan (2nd from right on bottom, I think) borrowed some wool to do his own eval
We first heard from an ALONE contestant in 2018 (see following section on Brady Nicholls). And so when Benji phoned in summer of 2021, telling me about the situation he would be in, but unable to give particulars, I told Benji it sounded like he was going to be on ALONE, and that I understood he would not be able to comment. We talked a long time and decided a Mouton Jacket and an Anorak would work for Benji, who was most concerned about saving calories when the weather turned brutal. About a week later, Juan Pablo called, giving me the same basic info as Benji, and also wanting to wear Lynx Pattern. I told him it sounded to me like he was going to be on ALONE, and that I understood he couldn't really talk about it, but also telling him that I was pretty sure another contestant was going to be wearing Lynx and suggesting he check with the producers to make sure two people in Lynx would be OK. Juan Pablo called again a couple of days later and ordered the Anorak, along with Reversible Watch Cap and Neck Gaiter.
Benji and Juan Pablo purchased WeatherWool after a lot of research.
Speaking with Benji in Spring of 2022, I learned that Benji first saw WeatherWool when he took a Wilderness Survival course with Advisor Rob Allen. Benji said Rob was comfortable in WeatherWool whereas Benji's garments, although wool, were not providing the primary shelter he needed.
I didn't hear from anyone about the show until early February of 2022, when Teimojin Tan phoned. Teimojin, a medical doctor, was a contestant along with Benji and Juan Pablo, and had been impressed with the wool. So I knew the wool had performed well enough that Teimojin wanted to test it himself -- his medical specialty is survival -- and that all 10 contestants had survived the competition.
Special THANKS to Factory8 for making these garments on a 1-off, rush basis.
Juan Pablo has a website, and his Blog describes a 6-month wilderness adventure that was very intense!
JP sent me a photo on 14 May, and I commented that it looked like he'd gained weight for the show. I also asked JP if he could tell me anything else. He confirmed that all the contestants gain weight as part of their preparations. As far as any further information, he wrote "You'll have to watch the show:)"
Both JP and Benji have extreme experience in Nature, and have done things to develop their mental strength. JP has lived for months at a time in the wilderness in very primitive conditions. Benji is a professional outdoorsman. Benji is also a former world-champion powerlifter!! If i remember correctly, Benji did a 750 pound (340 kg) deadlift competing in the 215-pound (98 kg) bodyweight class. Knowledge, skills and determination are hugely important in the competition. And it also seemed that Benji's tremendous physical strength made things relatively easier for him than others, but the microbes don't care how much weight you can lift! The sickness seemed a huge surprise to Benji. The best shots of our wool came at the end of the episode, as Benji was leaving the show, in our Mouton Jacket, Mouton Hood and Watch Cap. It wasn't cold yet ... temp was still above freezing ... but Benji was so weak he wore the warmest clothes.
We will surely be watching the Show!
In July of 2018, I got a mysterious sort of phone call ... Brady Nicholls, a gent with a LOT of outdoor experience, told me he was going to be on a TV Show that required him to be outdoors for an extended period in some serious winter weather. And that was all he could tell me.
On 2 May 2019, a Friend of WeatherWool emailed me that History Channel had just posted the bios of the contestants for the upcoming season of their hit outdoor-challenge series ALONE. Here is Brady's bio and photo. And this is all I can post here now ... I phoned Brady right after I got the email note, but Brady couldn't say anything more than that he was really happy with the wool ... But shortly thereafter it was publicly announced that the 2019 ALONE series was held along the shores of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories of Northern Canada. ... And a link to Brady himself explaining his selection of gear (but not his clothing).
Here is the bio as posted by History Channel. Season 6 premieres June 6th, 2019.
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
Profession: SERE Specialist
Brady Nicholls is an active duty SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) Specialist for the USAF and is currently stationed in San Antonio, TX. He first was introduced to primitive bushcraft while working for the Anasazi Foundation. After 6 years of working for Anasazi, Brady enlisted in USAF SERE program. There, he has become an instructor, teaching military personnel how to survive in the most remote and hostile environments on the planet. Brady plans to finish his degree and become a clinical social worker after the military. He looks forward to winning season 6 of Alone and returning home to his wife and four beautiful children.
I think you can see the whole season on History. If you are wondering, I can tell that Brady was doing great ... he was coasting ... his skills were really showing ... plenty of food. BUT ... after 30 days he decided another two months or so without seeing his family (wife and four little ones), or even knowing how they are doing, was NOT worth $500,000, so he decided to go home. Brady was very happy with the wool, and put up a review of his Anorak on YouTube.
24 September 2022 -- Ralph