Digital Headbutt

A sports blog about stuff…stuff that involves things.

Archive for the ‘Les Stroud’ Category

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

Posted by Mike on November 29, 2007

Bear Grylls and Les Stroud are being pushed to their limits to answer one question: Who is the ultimate Survivor?

Our heroes are eager to finally greet the rising sun after an all too long night #2. Mr. Stroud had a hard time sleeping after the horrible fire incident, and Mr. Grylls spent most of the night fending off dozens of snow monkeys before finally putting two and two together, and ridding himself of that banana suit. Little do they know that Discovery Channel producers are about to throw another monkey wrench into the mix.

Bear: Ugggghhh…last night was not ideal. I had to spend the entire night under attack by monkeys. Fortunately, I was able to fight them off with My new Bayley™ Knife! It’s a knife made out of the toughest steel!

Les: What are you doing?

Bear: Self-promotion. The Survive-Off doesn’t pay for itself, you–wait a minute…

(rustling and audible human voices can be heard in the distant bushes)

Bear: Who in bloody hell is that?

(A tall, middle-aged Western man with a camera crew emerges)


Bear: (eyes widen in horror, then they roll) Oh s—. What’s this bloke doing here? What are the odds?

Les: Who’s that?

Bear: Ray Mears. He’s my mortal enemy in England on the Beeb. He thinks he’s some kind of survivalist because he and his professor companion are scholarly, and they make cute little knapsacks out of willow branches, comfy sleeping bags from the leaves and clean themselves with the pretty flowers. That’s not surviving, that’s some gay retreat. Real men survive by taking naps in deer carcasses, taking baths in cold, foul goop, and snapping rabbit’s necks with their bare hands. His kind of survival is for pu–

Ray Mears: Hey guys!

Bear: Hey, Ray! Fancy seeing you here! What brings you the North of Japan?

Ray: You know, just…enjoying the sights.

Bear: Come on now. This is no coincidence.

Ray: All right…well, The BBC says there isn’t enough pizzazz with the Survive-Off’s current format, because Les over here isn’t a face that many Britons recognize. So they’ve decided to temporarily throw me into this whole mess, for the British audiences.

Bear: Oh, bloody hell.

Les: Who’s you’re creepy old friend, eh?

Ray: Why, that’s professor Gordon Hillman. He specializes in archeobotany at London’s University College.


Gordon: Hehhhhhhhh!

Bear: Well, baldy, it looks like you have a new toy to play with instead of that rusty suppository you always take with you. HA!

Les: Heh heh, yeah… (chuckles uncomfortably, looks at Gordon)

Gordon: (stares at him seductively)

Les: (shivers in disgust)


Ray: So, where do we go from here?

Bear: The hell if I’m going to tell you.

Ray: Hey, be more considerate, this is survival here! Why don’t you tell me, Les?

Les: Well, uh…we fell down this cliff not far from camp, where we were dropped off by the crew…so, uh, I was thinking we should, um, find a way back up so I can get all my stuff.

Ray: Sounds like a plan to me.

(looks into camera) Okay, so if you at home want to climb a face like this, you’re going to need a harness–harness please!

(an off-camera crew member hands him a harness)

You’re going to need a lot of rope for this–rope please!

(crew hands him rope)

…some gloves to protect you hands–gloves please!

(crew hands him gloves)

…a pair of climbing shoes to keep your grip on the face–shoes please!

(crew puts on his shoes)

…and finally, you need a climbing partner underneath you to help in case something goes wrong. Partner please!

(crew gives him the finger)

Well, then, I guess its going to have to be you, Gordon.

Gordon: Hehmgemephmmm!

Ray: C’mon, Gordon, quit complaining.

Gordon: Engebrebrbrbrrr.

Ray: Rheumatoid Arthritis my ass!

Gordon: Ueeelleengephmmm!

Ray: That’s not what your wife tells me. Now get over here!

Ray And Gordon climb up the mountain with harnesses, as haunting yet cheesy music plays in the background. Meanwhile, our heroes manage to climb up without harnesses. It takes Les a lot longer, but everyone makes it to the top safely. They spend the next few hours searching in vain for food. Les can’t find plants to eat, Bear can’t find disgusting insects, and Ray’s “Aboriginal Britain” hunting techniques are failing him.


Ray: Well, I’m bored. Got any music?

Les: I have a harmonica.

Ray: A metal kazoo, is what you’ve got. good thing Gordon and I have brought our Shamisens with us just for the occasion.

Ray and Gordon: (deuling shamisen)


Gordon: Hehhhgemeshmmmpheeeeehhhhhrbrbrbrrbrbrrrbr.

Ray: Gordon’s right, what’s the big deal?

Les: It’s a bad omen to play shamisen out here!

Ray: Relax. What could possibly happen?

Les, Bear, Ray, and Gordon all feel a strong tap on their shoulders. They all turn around to see four tall, muscular Russian men in military uniforms from the KGB’s Cold War Era.

Russian KGB officers: (in heavy accents): Where are you from?

Ray: England.

Russian Officer #1: Wrong answer. American allies, are you? The fit one, come here.

Gordon: (steps forward)

Russian Officer #3: Nice try.

Gordon: hehgemmhmmm.

Officer #1: Give me the one who likes to pee on television.

Bear: (Steps forward)

Russian Officer: (Take’s Bear’s wallet, looks for identification) So…you all are special forces aren’t you? Kill them.

The Russian KGB Officers, convinced that our heroes are British spies, inexplicably decide not to kill them by gunshot, instead opting to push Bear, Les, Ray, and Gordon off the Cliff that they had just climbed up. The cameras did not capture the footage, but it probably looked something like this:

Miraculously, all of them survived; however, the already wounded Les now has a badly injured ankle. Ray comes to aid him.


Les: OH, F— THAT HURTS! F——– Thaaaaaaat huuuuuuuurts! It looks like it’s swelling.

Ray: Don’t worry, I know how to take care of this, I know just the trick.

Les: Alright, then. OW!

Ray: (breathes in) I’m a little teapot, short and stout. This is my handle, this is my sp–


Ray: Trying to help you.


Ray: But I’m a world champion!

Les: At what?!?

Ray: Teapot impersonation. (Editor’s note: I am not making this part up. Seriously.)

Les: Good God, only a Brit.

Bear: Oh, THAT’S comforting, macho man.

Ray: Hey, why don’t back off from people who know what they’re doing, “Man vs. Bed & Breakfast”. I was kidding. Why don’t you go piss on a shirt or something? You know, there’s scientific proof that urine possesses absolutely no survival benefits whatsoever. The only reason you do it is because you seem to enjoy whipping out your junk on television.

Bear: Will you stop this and use some actual survival skills already?

Ray: Alright, alright. I’ll find a way to traverse this cliff and get some real help. Gordon, I need you go find some herbal remedies. Bear, try not to piss in his wound.

Bear: (mocking Ray’s voice) Nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh nyeh nyehhh…


For the next two hours, our heroes wait for Ray and Gordon’s aid, but they never return. Not knowing what to do, Bear does the only logical thing to comfort himself and his injured adversary…he hunts down every Japanese insect he can find and one by one, he eats them, gives a God-awful face to the camera, and describes the taste to Les in excruciating detail.

Bear: Look what I’ve got here. A Japanese cockroach. Now, a lot of insects like these can carry parasites, but in the wild, these cockroaches actually keep themselves very clean, and while they may not taste very good, they’re an excellent source of protein.


(eats the roach alive, as a white gloop escapes its exoskeleton)

Uuughhh…God…tastes like, moldy watermelon mixed in with the crunch of cow chips…but worse.

Les: Excuse me, how is this helping?

Bear: Sorry. I must admit that eating raw bugs isn’t actually a survival technique. It’s just a nervous habit I acquired when I was a child.

Les: Just great. The sun’s about to set, help still hasn’t arrived, my ankle’s swelling like a balloon, and now you;re just eating roaches for the hell of it. What do we do now?

Bear: Well, considering that you’re injured, It’s probably OK for one of the camera crew to intervene and help you back to our camp and those supplies you made.

Les: You know what? that’s the first decent idea you’ve come up with this entire trip. Let’s do that.

After a long trek back up and still no sign of Ray or Gordon, our heroes safely make it back up and eventually find their way back to camp just before sunset. To their shock, the Russian spies had not found the camp; however, one key survival tool was missing.

Les: Where’s my ride?

Just as he says that, Les’ ride zooms by our two heroes, destroying every survival supply in its path. The faces inside the car are unmistakable.



Ray: HAHA, So long, suckers!

Gordon: Hehehehhhh…(flips them off)

Les: Oh, that’s just perfect! This is about the worst thing that could possibly happen. He’s destroyed all of the supplies, and now he’s off with my ticket ot of this place. He’s gonna win for sure.

Bear: Not so fast…

Les: Huh?

Bear: I kind of suspected that this was going to happen, so while I was out looking fo insects, I took a few of your supplies from camp, and I left a little surprise in the back of car for anyone trying to drive off. Remember that banana suit from yesterday?

Les: You did not!

Bear: Mmm-hmm. The fun should begin any second now. 3…2…1…


A small army of snow monkey have jumped out of the wilderness and into the car. Ray begins to spin out of control, as he fights off bites, poop throwing, and ear-drum puncturing howls.


Bear: That should level the playing field a bit.

Les: Dude! That was genius! You know maybe I misjudged you coming into this trip. On Day 1, I thought you were just a dumb, disgusting adventurer with too much bravado. Now I realize that you’re a genius…disgusting adventurer with too much bravado.

Bear: You’re welcome.

And so, for a brief moment in time, these enemies were united as allies, thanks to their collective hatred for another competitor. It’s a shame hat they only learned this now, on the third night of the Survive-Off, as our heroes must part their separate ways tomorrow.

Next time, on Day 4 of the Survive Off, one man finds an ancient trail, the other finds a local tribe, and both find disaster. Stay tuned for Day 4, which at this rate should be published sometime in early 2009.









Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Bear Grylls, Hokkaido, Les Stroud, Man vs Wild, Survivorman, The Survive-Off | 14 Comments »

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

Posted by Mike on August 21, 2007

Bear Grylls and Les Stroud have been given a challenge to find out: Who is the ultimate Survivor?


Day One is in the books, and Bear had a rough night. As dawn breaks on Day Two, Bear Returns to main camp, and finds a surprise. After an already rough 24 hours, this sends him over the edge.


Bear: Ughhhhhhhh. That was not ideal. It was the roughest night, that I, have ever had to endure. At least I had a lot of company on Everest. I’m just glad I’m back to–…

(Hears a distinct crunch, looks at cameraman)

What the hell was that?

Cameraman #1: (mouth full) Ummmngnngg… Idonnonnn.


Bear: Is that…DORITOS?!? What the hell do you think you’re doing?

Cameraman #1: Uhhmm…Surviving?

Since when does corn grow in this God-forsaken place? I’m here surviving in the f—ing wilderness, taking whatever God has thrown at me, and here you are in some sort of…orange-powdered orgy with your potato chips!

Cameraman #2: They’re actually torti–

They’re a disgrace, that’s what they are! A f—ing disgrace! How is anyone supposed to take this survival show seriously! Here I am getting scrotal frostbite in an ice cave, and my crew is carrying tents and the vending machine from hell every step of the way! Dammit, show some balls, man! The only thing that would make you wussier is a harmonica.

Les: I heard that.

Bear: Shut up, old man! You and your musical dildo still have to answer to the Queen!

You know, there was actually this story about a man, a cameraman, who came into the Hokkaido winter on a mountain just like this. He opened a bag of Doritos, and it eventually attracted an angry bear. That bear was starving, and he smelled the food from about a mile away. When the bear saw the bag in the human’s hands, he began to charge. The man tried t run, but he stood no chance. He bit off the man’s nether region, before mauling, and trampling, and clawing him to death, and all for that little bit of food, and that just shows why you’ve got be careful, and NOT BLOODY EAT SNACK FOOD IN THE BLOODY WILD!!!

Cameraman #1: Ahhh, okay, I get it! (cowers away in fear)

Bear: Give me that bag. You don’t deserve to have this. (stuffs face with Doritos) You gooaaaeees ogga be (more Doritos) affamed of youfelffs…


For Les and Bear, the Doritos are the only food they’ve had since leaving Sapporo 36 hours before. They must now search for food, and they have spotted some animals in a ravine. The must now descend a sheer rock face.

Les: I’m gonna get my ride for this one. (walks up to pimped-out ride he made the day before)


Oh, crap.

Bear: What now?

Les: Well, I was going to use this vehicle to traverse the cliffs, but the door is locked.

Bear: Wait a minute…this is a survival vehicle…of your design?

Les: Yes.

Bear: And you needed access to this vehicle at all times?

Les: Yes.

Bear: And yet you put a lock on it and used it?

Les: Yes…

Bear: Well, that was a fresh cup o’ stupid, now wasn’t it? Well, I suppose it’s not that bad. So…Where are the keys?

Les: (slouches) right there, on the dashboard.

Bear: (snickers turn into uncontrollable laughter) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA -HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA! Hahahahahah, haha, hahah, haaaaaaa… sorry. It’s just… what in God’s name were you thinking man?

Les: Don’t laugh too hard, or I’ll be forced to use this.

Bear: Use what, a water purifier that you crapped on?



After Les wakes up a few hours later, our heroes finally attempt to descend the cliff.


Les: Man, this is a tough place to climb. I am really not comfortable with his. The drop is about 150 feet, and the angle is about 60, 70-

(slips off rock)



Les has taken a very, very hard fall. He has a lot of bad bruises and some scrapes, but, amazingly, he has no major fractures, open wounds, or other injuries. Nevertheless, he lies at the bottom of the cliff, concussed, bewildered, and in pain. Meanwhile, Bear has safely descended to the bottom of the cliff in only a little over the time it took for Stroud to tumble down.


Les: Uuuuuuugghhhhhhh… I feel terrible.

Bear: When climbing, use your legs, three points of contact, no arms over your head, blah, blah blah, and we’re down. Hey Les, looks like you didn’t have much trouble getting down either, “ehhhhh?”

Les: Oh, shut it. I just took the worst fall in my life, I alerted every living, breathing food source of my arrival, and now it will take me that much longer to track them down.

Bear: Cameramen! (clap clap)

Cameramen: Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut! Hut! (scale down cliff with an amount of climbing equipment that even the most paranoid citizens of this planet would consider overkill)

Bear: Release the zebra!

Cameraman #1: (releases Zebra from first cage)

Bear: Wait for it…wait for it…and…release the lions!

Cameraman #2: (releases lions from second cage)


Cameramen: (bring lions back into cage)




Ugh. This tastes like…chicken that been marinated in its own crap, then left in the sun for a few days. But it’s a good source of protein, and just about anything is better than nothing. Would you like to try some, baldy?

Les: Where the f— did you get lions in Japan?

Bear: Where did you get peanut butter and jelly in the Kalahari desert?

Les: Oh now come on, that was different!

Bear: No it wasn’t.

Les: Yes it was.

Bear: (puts on banana costume) It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time! Peanut Butter Jelly Time! Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

Les: Stop that.

Bear: Where he at! Where he at! Where he at! Where he at! Now There he go! There he go! There he go! There he go! There he go!

Les: Dude, I said cut it out!

Bear: Do the Peanut Butter Jelly! Peanut Butter Jelly! Peanut Butter Jelly with a baseball bat!

Les: Well, at least I know why you always bring these cameramen. They’re the only reason you’re alive.

Bear: (whistles) Release the lions!

Lions: (run toward Les at 30 miles per hour)

Les: AHHHHHHH (runs for cover up a tree)

The lions quickly lose interest, but decide to scurry into the Japanese wilderness, possibly putting the entire ecosystem at risk, before they accidentally slip into raging rapids. With night falling, our heroes need to make camp, and there’s no way the Mr. Stroud is going back up that cliff.

Les: I can’t climb back up to our old camp tonight. This looks like a good place to make camp; the cliffs will prevent any animals from sneaking up on us.

Bear: (gnaws on zebra leg) Fair enough. We’ll make separate shelters.

Les: This rock should be a good start.

Mr. Stroud has made a basic A frame with sticks protecting him on one side and a large rock on the other.


Bear: Okay, boys, bring it in!


The crane has lifted in a 500 square foot log cabin.


Les: Okay, this is getting out of hand.

Bear: What? I froze my bloody balls off in an ice cave last night. Once is enough, thank you.


Both men begin to work on making a fire. While Bear gathers wood, Les chops away at the back side of Bear’s cabin for his firewood. He plans to use a gasoline rag, sock lint, his multitool, a sulfurous rock, oil from Japanese birch bark, and the leftover zebra bones, which may or may not have explosive qualities. Bear’s flint works pretty easily. Les’s fire-making technique, needless to say, requires a bit more patience.


Les: Okay, so I’m going to strike the metal of the multitool, against this sulphur rock, and see if I can create a spark against the gasoline rage and the tinder.

(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


Four Hours Later…

(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


(strikes the rock)


Bear: How’s the fire going, Les?

Les: Gimme that flint.

(strikes the flint)

Mr. Stroud is now quite charred, but at least he has a warm, raging fire that will last well into the next morning. The explosion having subsided, both of our heroes decide to call it a night. But Bear is still wearing the giant banana suit from Peanut Butter Jelly Time. He has now attracted hundreds of Japanese snow monkeys, who believe that he’s a giant banana. At midnight the monkeys make their move, entering the cabin through the hole that, ironically, Les opened taking wood for his fire.


Monkeys: Whatever the hell is monkey speak for “attack”. “Hu-Hu-HAAAAA!”, maybe?


As Les licks his wounds and Bear fends off simians, it looks to be another cold, hard night for our heroes…on the second night of the Survive-Off.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Am I going to hell for this?, Bear Grylls, Cult of Personality, Great Moments in Stupidity, Hokkaido, Les Stroud, Stuff That Involves Things, The Survive-Off, This is why the Internet was invented, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits, what is this hyperbole of which you speak? | 40 Comments »

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?

Posted in Bear Grylls, Deliverance, Funny Videos, Great Moments in Stupidity, Hokkaido, Les Stroud, Shamisen, Stuff That Involves Things, The Survive-Off, This is why the Internet was invented, this isn't real, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits, what is this hyperbole of which you speak? | 37 Comments »

Bear Grylls vs. Les Stroud: The Survive-Off

Posted by Mike on July 21, 2007

For the past year or so, there have been many a debate in my house centered around one question:

Given the exact same scenario, who stands a better chance at surviving? Bear Grylls, host of Man vs. Wild, or Les Stroud, host of Survivorman?


With the new season of Man vs. Wild just ending and the new season of Survivorman about to begin, I have decided to end this argument once and for all by creating a fictional scenario to see: who is the better survivor?

Before I go on, you’re probably asking “Wait a minute…this is a sports blog! What does this have anything to do with sports?” Well, two facts make the Grylls-Stroud survive-off perfectly applicable to to this piece of Internet real estate. First, the subtitle of Digital Headbutt is “A Sports Blog About Stuff…Stuff That Involves Things.” That gives a fairly wide berth of discussion. Second, writer Barnaby Conrad once said, “There are but three true sports–bullfighting, mountain climbing, and motor-racing. The rest are merely games.” (This quote is normally credited to Hemingway, but he never actually said it.) In essence, it’s not a true sport unless there is a very real chance that you could die while participating. Under this precedent, TV survivalism is definitely a sport. This challenge will also be presented in as humorous a way as possible.


On to the competition.

The Players:


Bear Grylls. Host of Man vs. Wild. Former soldier in the British Special Air Services; youngest Briton ever to climb to the summit of Mt. Everest. Seen here inside a glacier in Alaska.

  • Survival Strengths: Can climb just about anything; has a million ways to make a compass; very fit; willing to take a risk to survive; purposefully puts himself in worst possible scenarios in order to show his TV audience how to deal with them; unmatched intestinal fortitude; knows all of the survival techniques from the British Special Forces and the French Foreign Legion.
  • Survival Weaknesses: Mother Nature will make him pay for that bravado of his; has never been truly alone in a survival situation, and thus is less cautious; somewhat of a carnivore, taking less opportunities from the plants around him; take away his flint and he might never see fire again; that barge on the river Thames isn’t exactly the best place for him to practice his skills.
  • Ideal Location for Showdown: Any rough terrain where he can exploit his climbing ability.


Les Stroud. Host of Survivorman. Survival instructor from Canada, where his backyard is one of the toughest environments on Earth. Seen here here on the second biggest hunk of ice you will ever see in your life, enough ice for every margarita in the course of human civilization.

  • Survival strengths: Can make a fire from just about anything; Efficient hunter and trapper; has been in many survival situations where he is truly alone; takes a more realistic approach to survival, an example more worth following; the knowledge that, no matter how much you have in terms of tools and knowledge at your disposal, the most important survival tool is to keep a cool head and not panic; he lives in Canada, for crying out loud.
  • Survival Weaknesses: While Stroud is fit, his age (45) might give a physical disadvantage against Grylls; lives in Canada, and when in very warm environments (e.g. Costa Rica rainforest), he can be very much out of his element; struggles a lot more when climbing, but not having to haul camera gear might him more evenly matched; let’s face it, his show isn’t as exciting.
  • Ideal location for showdown: Any location that is cold.

The Location: So, Bear’s ideal locale is a rough and rocky terrain, whereas, Les is at home in the cold. So, should we hold the Survive-Off to test their weaknesses in a hot, flat area, or or should we test their strengths in a cold, rough terrain? The biggest issue is that we cannot give either of them an advantage by choosing a location with which Bear and/or Les are familiar. This eliminates the following locations:

  • Nearly all of North America
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador
  • Sahara (from Bear’s “Escape to the Legion”)
  • Australian Outback
  • African Savanna
  • Alps
  • Scottish Highlands
  • South Pacific Islands
  • Scandinavia


This pretty much leaves us with Asia. There are plenty of harsh environments from which to choose: The Arabian Desert, the Himalayas, Siberia, the Gobi Desert, and even the Central Asian Steppes. However, for this challenge I have chosen one of the most remote areas in the developed world:

Hokkaido, Japan. An island the size of South Carolina and north of Japan’s main island of Honshu, it’s one of the most most remote areas in the developed world. more than half of Hokkaido’s population of 5 million live in the area around Sapporo, in the southwest peninsula of the island. The rest is absolute wilderness. Hokkaido has several active volcanoes within its cold, wet, and rocky forests.


The Challenge: Both Grylls and Stroud will begin from the same place, either in the north or east part of the island, and will be put at least 25 miles from shore. They must camp together for at least three days. Each player will have their own cameraman do document everything; however, they cannot interfere even if a player faces death. Hey, you got yourselves into this mess when you decided to have a survival show on the Discovery Channel; you should be able to get yourselves out! Both players will camp with each other for at least three days before going their separate ways.

You may not know much about Hokkaido, but it has one of the world’s highest concentration of bears. The volcanoes could be helpful, but both players would be doomed if one of the volcanoes erupted near them.

Just because you find civilization in Hokkaido doesn’t mean safety. Any western-looking residents are Russian spies who still believe that the Cold War is alive and kicking, and they may very well kill to keep their secret. Any Japanese looking residents are either various Anime villains or Japanese hillbillies. The only true safety is the Southwest end of the island.

Both players will choose exactly three things to bring with them, along with the clothes on their backs. Bear will have his usual knife, bottle, and flint, while Les will brings a multitool, water bottle, and the world’s most underrated survival tool: the harmonica! Because nothing says “In your face, nature” quite like an annoying musical instrument.


The Objective: First man to arrive in Sapporo alive wins. It could be in five days, it could be in five weeks, but the first man to arrive in Sapporo alive will win.

The Prize: The title of Ultimate Survivor; a 300-foot sculpture of their face on K-2; everyone on planet earth must take his survival tips as gospel from then on.

The Survive-Off will be a mini-series of sorts on Digital Headbutt, so stay tuned in the coming weeks to find out: who is the ultimate survivor?

UPDATE (7/23): I’ve set up a poll on Ballhype, so now you can vote whom you think will win the Survive-Off. If you pick right, you will win…the knowledge that you guessed correctly.

Go out and Vote for your ultimate survivor!

UPDATE #2: According to the Times of London, Bear may not be roughing it as much as we thought. Still, we are going to hold the Survive-off with the Bear whom we know, the one prepared to sleep inside a rotting deer carcass in the Scottish Highlands.

FINAL UPDATE: The Survive-Off has begun. Read day one and day two.


Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Bear Grylls, Great Moments in Stupidity, Les Stroud, Stuff That Involves Things, Tar Heel posts, The Survive-Off, This is why the Internet was invented, what is this hyperbole of which you speak? | 934 Comments »