Digital Headbutt

A sports blog about stuff…stuff that involves things.

Grylls vs. Stroud: The Survive-Off, Day One

Posted by Mike on July 28, 2007

Bear Grylls and Les Stroud are now facing the ultimate challenge to find out: Who is the ultimate survivor? Today, our heroes begin their journey.



Sapporo, Japan. It’s winter, as both men enter a large helicopter, bound for the wilderness of Northern Hokkaido, near the center of the island.

Pilot: Everyone check your gear! we’re gonna be heading down soon!

Bear: (to camera): Hokkaido is a beautiful landscape, but it’s also deadly. Of the 3 million people who visit the island each year, four need rescuing.

Les: That doesn’t sound very intimidating…

Bear: I wasn’t finished!

Les: Sorry, Shakespeare.

Bear: …And more than 100 tourists die from hypothermia, volcanic activity, bear attacks, the yakuza, and even Pokemon.

Les: Okay, now you’re just making s— up.

Bear: Maybe you won’t be laughing tonight, when I have Pikachu for dinner!

Les: Not sure that’s a good idea. Last I checked, Anime characters have no calories.

Bear: Sure they do! You just have to cook it right. They have top be one of the worst things I’ve ever tasted, though. Whats the worst thing you’ve ever tasted?

Les: Celine Di-
Bear: You know what, I probably don’t want to hear about that.

Pilot: You guys have to check your gear! We’re going down!

Bear: Right, right.

Les: Lessee. I’ve got, multitool, aboot…3 raisins, an extra pair of waterproof pants, and of course, my trusty harmonica.

Bear: What are you gonna do with that, annoy the fish to death?

Les: Them, no. You, maybe.

Pilot: 30 seconds, 100 feet from the ground!

Bear: Knife, check. Water, check. Flint, check. Parachute, check.

Les: Parachute?

Bear: Yeah, why?

Les: Didn’t you hear the pilot?

Pilot: Five feet above the ground! Let’s go!

Bear: (climbs out helicopter, hangs on to edge, looks into camera) This is going to be my toughest survival challenge yet!

(blesses himself, jumps off skydive style with his back facing the ground)

(lands flat on his back five feet later)

(after three seconds, parachute deploys)

Les: Idiot. (nonchalantly walks out of helicopter, steps on Grylls’ stomach)


Les: Uh-oh.

Bear: Um, they’re gonna bring another one…right?

Les: Dude, it’s the Discovery Channel. That helicopter was worth more than the entire network.

Bear: I guess we’re really alone now.

Cameraman #1: (waves for attention)

Les: You guys don’t count!


Our heroes are at the top of a cliff, 5,000 feet up a mountain side, 30 miles southwest of the Shiretoko Peninsula. The helicopter just crashed in a nearby lake; our heroes now have absolutely no backup. They are completely alone.

Bear: That’s what I just said! Be original for chrissakes!

Sorry about that.


Bear: (to camera) I’m off to find my bearings. I’m just gonna use a few of these cords to hunt or fish, but I’ve got to get to that ledge 2 miles away. That’ll give me a good vantage point but getting there won’t be easy.

(30 minutes later) To get to that little peak up there, I’m gonna have to climb up this cliff. Now when climbing a rock face like this, always remember to keep at least three points of contact, and to use your legs to drive you up, and your arms for balance.

(slips, falls onto rock outcrop between his legs)

Uuuuughhhh… also, remember, that if you’re a bloke, your man part should definitely not be your third point of contact with the cliff.

(At the top)

Okay. From here I can get a good look at the sun, which is about to set right now, and of the terrain. The mountain sides that are facing me, they are completely covered with snow, and that means, that they are north facing. So that direction is southwest where Sapporo is, but my better bet is to the north, where I can get to the sea, and hopefully find a fishing settlement or something. But the sun is setting fast, and I have to get back to camp with Les.


Meanwhile, Les Stroud has taken the remainder of the parachute and turned into a tent, a campfire, hunting gear, fishing gear, climbing gear, a pot for boiling food, and the pimped-out ride you see below, all before nightfall.


The night has fallen, and Bear is still far from camp. He must now find another place to sleep for the night.


Bear: Well, I’ve found this little ice cave on one of these north faces. It’s not ideal, but I really don’t have any other option. The weather is starting to get really bad, and I have to get out of the wind.

Unfortunately, I can’t make a fire here, because these ice caves can be very delicate, and a lot of heat could melt the ice, and cause some chunks to come crashing down onto you, and there’s actually a story about a tourist from Tokyo, who got lost here, and tried to make a fire in an ice cave just like this. While he was sleeping, the heat from the fire, cracked the roof, and a 2-ton piece of ice came right onto his body. He stood no chance. And that’s why you have to be so careful in these things. It looks like it’s going to be a very cold night for me. At least, the ice will provide me with some fresh water to drink. I’m gonna try and get some sleep now.


Meanwhile, Les has turned Bear’s parachute into much more comfortable accommodations.

Les: I’m feeling pretty good about tonight. I’ve got a good shelter, and a good fire, and the gear to find some food tomorrow. But still, I feel uneasy with all the legends of the creatures that live here. Luckily, I have my little harmonica to put me at a little more ease. Remember, the most important part of survival is to keep a cool head.

Les begins to play a basic blues tune on his harmonica. Off in the distance, he hears two Japanese Shamisen playing. A Deliverance-style musical duel ensues.

Bear hears this music off into the the distance. While the music is beautiful, just as in Deliverance it is a bad omen of things to come. Both men are now scared out of their wits. They try in vain to fall asleep as the moon rises in Hokkaido…on the first night of the Survive-Off .

POLL UPDATE: More than 160 votes for the Survive-Off have been cast on Ballhype. After reading the preview article, 52% of you think Bear Grylls will win, and 48% of you think Les Stroud will win. Bear was leading handily until the news that he might be faking some aspects of his survival journey. After watching how day one played out, it’s time for you to vote again…

Who will win the survive-off?

Stay tuned for the Survive-Off Day 2, as our heroes face new and unforeseen challenges, such as volcanic activity, unforgiving weather, and…Doritos?


37 Responses to “Grylls vs. Stroud: The Survive-Off, Day One”

  1. SA said

    That ride has nothing on Darren McFadden’s Crown Vic. And the last video is oddly hypnotizing.

    Good job Mike.

  2. Mike White said

    I chose that car specifically as the way someone in the Canadian wilderness would pimp his ride made. That’s how Les would do it.

    Survive-off aside, those Shamisen guys are awesome.

  3. Ashley said

    Why does it make it seem like Bear is an idiot and Les can do anything? Why dont one of you guys try to spend 3 years in the British Special Forces or French Foreign Legionnaire?

    • jake said

      You answered your own question. Bear is not a survivalist and Les is.

      • justin said

        lmao hes an amature expert survivalist while being in the special forces means its his job 2 not only survive in the bush un aided but behind enemy lines with a weapon and complete a mission and on top of that the SAS and french foreign legion are both amung the top best special forces on earth its no comparison everything a surivivalist as u call them knows a spec ops officer knows and then some try reading the SAS survival handbook written by a guy who served with them for 28 years

  4. withmalice said

    Go Bear… GOOOOO!

  5. rcypher said

    I dont think anyone thinks Bear is an idiot, he just plays one on TV. I mean, if you were stuck in a real survival situation, who would you rather follow? Bear’s show is entertaining, but Its too set up to be called a real “survival” show.

    Hand to hand combat then Ill give Bear the advantage. Surviving a week “or longer” in the wilderness and its outside his skill set.

    • justin said

      as a special forces member hed be expected 2 stay alive in the bush for weeks if not months learn about his respective special forces attachements then when ur actually educated come back and make a statement

  6. Rabrab said

    Day Two, please?

  7. Mike White said

    Day Two will be up this weekend.

  8. Kevin said

    This is hysterical Mike! I’m looking forward to day two. BTW, I just sent the link to Les. While he may not wish to comment. I’m hoping he’ll still enjoy your posts. By the way, wasn’t there another “Bear Grills” (sic) that went on an adventure in a central American jungle? Is that the same guy? The reason I ask is I swear that guy had alot deeper voice than the “Bear Grylls” in the pic above.

  9. Andrea said

    I agree w/ Ashley! Besides, Bear’s much cuter!

  10. Obisouly Survivorman will win. He is rteal the shit with an accent is a faker with a tv crew and 30 other people! Les Stround or Survivorman is funny and tells us how to stay out of crap unlike bear who gets into crap and then shows you a wayu only an expert could do to get out of it. Les works hard he wins he can make fire out of anyrrting too.

    • justin said

      its not that bear is faking u see he does some hardcore shit like scaling rock faces with no ropes or traversing gorges with magiverd grappling hooks and hes not stupid enough 2 do it alone in a situation where hed be completely screwed all for tv he does an exelent job of demonstrating all the skills needed 2 survive in those situations where les stroud actually goes and survives but he takes 0 risk

  11. Dan said

    the shows are intended to be diffrent Survivorman is to show a survival situation as it takes place and Man vs. Wild is to show what you could do… with a camra crew while hanging out and drinking beer in between segments

  12. Mike said

    I think you all fail to realize that Les has all these items in various episodes because he acts out the survival situations like he was a real person. He has various items depending on what type of person would be in that situation and what they’d likely have with them.

  13. Ned Beatty said

    Did you ever notice how good Bear is at finding something to eat? You never see him go hungry. That’s a big part of survival. Les, on the other hand, is always going hungry. When he was in Alaska, he had to resort to eating rotton piece of fish that was dropped by an eagle. He had to eat that smelly piece of crap every day until the end of the show. He tried using nets and also a fish hook, but he couldn’t catch anything to save his life. They both do a great job with their shows, but my vote goes with Bear Grylls. The guy is just more believable.

  14. kaydo said

    i think bear has advantage in this face-off ..because bear is more fit than les bear is like in his 20’s and les is like 45-50

    my money is on bear

  15. Louise said

    If I were actually trapped somewhere with only one of them to help me survive, I’d take Les. He takes less risks. True, he is willing to go hungry, but sometimes I have the feeling that Bear likes eating weird things in front of the camera. Besides, the harmonica is cool. Les is much more the ordinary person, with a survival education.

  16. Ken said

    Kevin, the guy you’re thinking of is Ross McFadyen

    At the end of Discovery’s “I shouldn’t be alive” series they started showing what happened (in rerun) then what they
    should have done. Les did the couple in the pickup truck somewhere in Wyoming I think & Ross did the guys who went
    hiking & got lost in the Amazon. As for having to survive with someone I think I’d take Ross lol. But out of these
    two I’d have to go with Les, he’s far more practical & as far as I can tell, more experienced. Bears show is
    testosterone driven & most of his survival tactics are based on shock value. How many people watch him just to see
    him drink his own pee or drink the water out of elefant poop? He probably has a medic on staff to counter all the
    garbage he takes in.

  17. Kevin said

    Ken, you’re right! That was Ross McFadyen. Thanks for the clarification!! Ha! Yea, that’s probably a good ranking of capability. Although, in the extreme north (or Antartica) I’d have to go w/ Les (and, now that I think of it, I was impressed w/ his skills in the Sonoran desert too!). …btw, for what it’s worth (not much I’m sure) I think that couple in the pick-up was in NW Nevada.


  18. Tara said

    This is great! I just found this site today and I really enjoyed reading this. Mike White – you are a good writer! This is very creative and “realistic” (I can picture Bear and Les saying and doing these things.)

    haha I also liked – “aboot…3 raisins”. Les has a nice Canadian accent. 🙂

    Keep these survive-off installments comin’! Thanks!

  19. Nick said

    What are you doing? Bear Grylls has acheived so much more than Les Stroud in his lifetime, and hes younger than Les! More achievements in less than half of Les’s lifetime.

    First of all Les Stroud would suck in a survival situation, who would put up a camera at the bottom of a mountain to show a shot of Les Stroud walking at the top of it, what an idiot. He has to go and get the camera again unless he really isnt alone. Thats the most stupid thing you could do in a surival situation!

    Bear Grylls actually doesnt want to die you see no matter what risks he puts himself through, he has a loving wife and children and just imagine how theyd feel if he was to perish. Grow up guys, both Bear Grylls and Les Stroud are really good at survival, they just have different ways of showing it. I’ve had it with all these annoying remarks about how Les Stroud is the superior survivalist and Bear Grylls is an idiot. Bear Grylls is far from an idiot, he lives his life to the full and thats whats so great about him. He shows people that the old ancient adventure stories are still up and about.

    When did Bear Grylls jump out five feet with a parachute on? He didn’t you making him seem stupid like a log. Bear Grylls i have to admit is the best and thats because he has more time to be himself than having to set up cameras all the time 50 miles away then go back and get them. Bear Grylls is the adventurer the modern generation have been waiting to see!

  20. hoteruguy said

    what the f..k is this a old ass accord or integ?

  21. Eric said

    Bear Grylls is a pussy. Les Stroud is not.

    I think that settles it.

    • justin said

      how is he a pussy hes special forces hes amung the most hardcore men on earth he understands the wilderness can become part of it move sliently and kill les simply survives in it ur a moron if ur calling anyone in the special forces a pussy

  22. Wow, can’t believe I just found this. I have addressed this scenario a thousand times regarding Bear vs. Les

    I can’t believe anyone would side with Les. There’s a name for what Les does, and it’s called camping. Sitting in one spot and going hungry for a week until your buddies come and pick you up isn’t survival. It’s lame.

    Bear shows you how to deal with certain situations, and does some pretty crazy shit in order to survive. He’s always on the move and keeps moving until he finds safety. If it went down and I had to pick one of the two, it’s be Bear no questions asked.

    Les is more like a bad car accident. I don’t want to watch it, but I can’t help myself. Anybody see the episode where he was lost at sea, and it got a little to crazy for him, so he tied up next to a sailboat for the night. What a baby. Go Bear!

    • Drew said

      OH yes, because I would just LOVE to have a guy who “survive” by doing such dangerous feats, and going to such extremes, while having a camera-crew with him, and probably eating decent meals in between shoots. Bear shows what COULD happen, Les shows what you should do in a survival situation, based on what you would probably have.
      Think of it this way: Would you rather have a man who would get you out of there, maybe a little hungry, maybe you actually have to, GASP, THINK! But not having done things that seem stupid to do unless you absolutely had to, and tell you, “All right, theres a path right here, but it doesn’t look safe. If we slip, we have a slim chance of being rescued, so why don’t we travel on a little bit, see if there’s a better route, and if not we’ll have to come back and risk it, for fear of losing too much time,” or a man who will tell you to “go into that iceberg, but carefully, if you slip there’s no way of rescuing you, and we could just find a safer route about 2 miles away, but this is faster, so let’s do this. OOH! A dead seal! Looks like it’s been here a couple weeks….I’mma eat it!”

  23. How is it that Bear’s camera crew ALWAYS beats him down a mountain, over a stream or up a tree, or into a river? And he has this affinity for drinking his own pee when there is a creek a half-day’s walk away. (Gay?) Keep in mind BRITISH Special Forces doesn’t translate to American Green Berets.
    Now keep in mind that Les, on the other hand, has to do everything TWICE, and without the company of a camera crew. First, he has to go PLACE the cams to film himself as he is DOING the survival trick and THEN has to go back to GET the cams. I don’t think this is an honest fight at all.

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  25. Jacob said

    Im just gona put this out there…dual survival; Dave =Les hippy tree hugger = bear

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  27. Rob said

    Day 1 les breaks the knife off his multitool, meanwhile slicing himself with it because they are dull and only good at causing you to injure yourself. And then he dies because multitools are crap and because he can’t make anything without a knife and bleeds to death. Bear uses his good knife to cut les to bits and survives until rescue arivers by drinking les’ blood and eating him

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