Is Survivorman Staged?

You Can’t Believe Everything You See

Executive Summary

I realize this post is long, and many people don’t have the time or patience to read something this long, so here’s the executive summary: I found the locations where Survivorman was filmed in the Utah Canyonlands episode.  One of those locations was very near a highway, but the major issue is not that he was close to the road.  Rather, the major issue is that he was deceptive about many of the things he filmed and said in the episode.  Simply put: he said many things and implied many things that simply were not true.  I understand insurance and producer requirements that may limit where he can go, but I do not understand statements made directly by him that are outright untrue.  Many people want to defend the location issue, but do so while ignoring the deceptive statements.  The information below details these findings and addresses Les Stroud’s personal response to the findings.

Summary

I have always been a fan of the survival television show Survivorman, so I set out to find where Les Stroud filmed the episode that was set in Utah. As an avid backpacker, I wanted to find the location simply because I thought it looked like a nice place to hike and I thought it would be fun to find it. What I found, however, made me question whether or not the show misleads its viewers like some of the other survival shows have been known to do. This doubt about the reality presented in the show disappointed me because I always believed that Survivorman was the “real deal” of survival shows. And while many things on television are misleading, if not straight lies, it’s nice sometimes to think that someone is different than all the rest. From what I found, I no longer trust the show. But my goal with this site is simply to present the information to the reader so the reader can decide what the facts mean.

This site is certainly a critical analysis of the Survivorman Utah episode, but I invite you to analyze the information to reach an informed decision. I don’t know if all of the Survivorman episodes are filmed in the same manner…I only know the locations of the Utah episode. And I’m not sure it matters if this is how the show is filmed, either. Maybe this is just how shows are filmed. I’m not so naive as to think that everything presented on television as fact is actually true…nor am I so pessimistic as to think that everything on television is a lie. Perhaps there are simply shades of gray on the level of “dramatization” that appear in every television show. If that’s the case, I hope these pages can help you evaluate the level of “dramatization” that you expect from this show and the level of “dramatization” that this information suggests is actually portrayed in the show. But you can make your own conclusions.

Please read the following issues, think about the information presented, digest the locations on the map, evaluate the pictures, and even watch the episode again.  I think that if you watch the episode again after reading this information you’ll likely feel deceived, also.  Because it’s not the simple fact that he was close to a road for one of the campsites, or that he had plenty of water around…it’s that many things in the episode blatantly try to hide the facts discussed here…many times by saying things that simply are not true.  In other words: it’s one thing to film it a certain way…it’s another thing altogether to deceive the viewer about the way you filmed it.

Instructions

The pictures on this site are intended to show that we did actually find the locations filmed in the episode, and they are intended to assist in the critical analysis of the show. By comparing the screenshots of the episode with our pictures you can identify the different geological features that appear in both pictures. This should help you confirm that we were in the correct spots shown on the episode. Color-coded arrows on the pictures point to the matching features in the screen shots. For example, simply look at the feature identified by the green arrow in the screen shot from the episode and compare it with the feature identified by the green arrow in our picture.

The map will be very useful in analyzing the information. When you first open the map, it will be zoomed out far enough so you can see all three of the different primary locations. You will need to zoom in very close at the two campsites to see all of the locations. You may also want to change the map view to different types of maps (Google road, Topo, etc) to help visualize things better. If you click on a marker you will see links for that marker to photographs of that area.

The findings are intended to summarize everything we saw.

Findings

1. Camp 1 is too far from the landing site to get there by bicycle in one day.

The episode implied that he rode a bicycle from the landing site to camp 1 on the first day.

The landing site for the helicopter at the beginning of the episode was below the rim of the canyon at Smith Fork.  This means that there is a cliff band between where the helicopter landed and the top of the desert floor.  The cliff next to where he landed was the actual canyon rim.  The landing site was 16 miles in a straight line from camp 1.  Between the landing site and camp 1, however, are the canyon complexes of Ticaboo Creek, Fourmile Canyon, Twomile Canyon, and Swett Creek, with their steep cliffs that empty into the Colorado River/Lake Powell.  The rocks of two mountains, Mt Ellsworth and Mt Holmes, are also standing between the landing site and camp 1.  It would likely take 2-3 days to walk or bike from Smith Fork to camp 1 via the canyons or over the mountains; the episode implies that he moved from the landing site to camp 1 on the first day.  Because of these obstacles, the only way to get a bicycle from the landing site to camp 1 in less than several days is via Hwy 276 which skirts the base of Mt Ellsworth and Mt Holmes.  The landing site is over 22 miles away from camp 1 via roads, several miles of which are dirt roads.  Additionally, there are no roads in the immediate vicinity of the landing site itself; the closest dirt road from the landing site is over a mile away on the other side of Smith Fork Canyon, of which approximately half of that distance is across untracked desert sand.

Also, as seen on the map, camp 1 is on the other side of camp 2 from the landing site, meaning he would have essentially “passed” camp 2 on his way to camp 1.

Lastly, there is no footage in the episode of any terrain between the landing site and camp 1, regardless of the route he took.

2. Camp 2 is too far from camp 1 to get there by foot in one day.

The episode implied that he walked from camp 1 to camp 2 in one day.

From camp 1 to camp 2 it is 9 miles in a straight line, with the previously described canyon complexes and the Little Rockies in the way.  It is 19 miles via road from camp 1 to camp 2, and there is a dirt road that goes directly to the top of the canyon where he filmed before descending down into the canyon.

The same obstacles that separate the landing site from camp 1 also separate camp 1 from camp 2, specifically the canyon complexes and the mountains.  Additionally, Stroud filmed from the top of the canyon above camp 2 before descending into the canyon, further suggesting that he did not travel via the bottom of the canyon to that spot; if he had traveled via canyon from camp 1 to camp 2 it would have required him to climb out of the canyon, film from the top, then descend back down into the canyon.  The trail he used to descend into the canyon is the only route down into that canyon that I am aware of without using rappelling equipment.

Walking between those camps via the canyons would likely require at least two days.  Walking between the camps above the canyons would require him to use the roads and would likely take at least two full days.

There is no footage in the episode of any terrain between camp 1 and camp 2, regardless of the route he took.

3. Camp 1 was approximately 860 feet (less than 300 yards) from Highway 276.  The road and the cars on the road could be seen (and heard) easily from the shelter.

The episode did not show how close he was to the road.

He said that the crew would have to fly in to clean up the camp.

We simply parked near the site at the pull-off and walked the 300 yards from the road to the site.  If a helicopter had come there, the closest landing site would have been the road.

Look at the map to see how close camp 1 was to the highway.  And look at the photos for the evidence that we actually found camp 1.

4. Camp 1 was less than 14 miles away from the town of Ticaboo, UT, with its gas station and lodge.  Don’t forget that camp 1 was also less than 300 yards from the highway that leads to Ticaboo.

He said he could maybe bike out in three days from camp 1.

At an average bicycle speed of just 8 MPH, he should have been able to cover the distance to the town in less than two hours.

5. Where he claimed to be “ledged up” at camp 1, there is an easy route down into the canyon approximately 100 yards away.

In the episode he said that he couldn’t get down to the bottom of the canyon because the cliffs prevented him from descending to the bottom.

As seen on the map, the distance from camp 1 to the canyon where he was “ledged up” (Milk Creek) was approximately 210 feet; it was true that he was unable to descend down into the canyon at the point where he was filming.  However, approximately 315 feet away from the “ledged up” spot on the canyon there is an easy spot to simply walk down into the canyon.

6. The second water puddle at camp 2 was only 10 feet away from the first water puddle.

After drinking water from the first water puddle he said that he would need to search for a bigger water puddle.  The episode implied he went looking for another water puddle before finally finding one.

The first small water puddle at camp 2 was approximately 175 feet from the camp itself and directly below the slickrock wall where camp 2 was located.  The second water puddle was less than 10 feet away from the first water puddle (you will need to zoom way in on the map to see that there are two flags at the water holes).

7. The big, frozen water pool near camp 2 was right beside the trail he took down into the canyon.

Again, the episode implied that he went searching for a third water pool and found this one after finding the other pools.

The big water pool was less than 530 yards from camp 2 and right at the bottom of the trail down into the canyon; you walk past it as you enter the canyon bottom from the trail he used.

One note about these water pools from our desert canyon experience: if there is any water at all, then there is water everywhere.  In other words, it’s either been very dry and you will not find any water, or it’s been wet and you can find water everywhere.  So the fact that he found some water suggests that he didn’t need to look hard for water because it would have likely been everywhere.

8. The camps were not cleaned up so Leave No Trace wasn’t followed.

We found remnants of both campsites filmed in the episode.  The material for camp 1 appeared to be almost completely still located at the site, even though Stroud said the crew would clean it up.  The shelter wasn’t still standing, but all of the materials appeared to have just been knocked over or piled up.

Camp 2 was more cleaned up, but there was still some shelter material and firewood in the cave.

We also found a couple of the deadfall sites that appeared to have been cleaned up.

9. It took us less than 30 minutes to climb out of the canyon at camp 2.

He said that it would take him all day to climb out of the canyon from camp 2.

10. The canyon he descended at camp 2 was approximately 500 feet deep.

Text added to the show after it was filmed said he descended 1500 feet down into the canyon at camp 2.  Arguably, the desert floor slopes down approximately 200 feet to the canyon rim, but that only makes a 700-foot total descent.  We only see him descending to the camera once on the descent, and as he approaches the camera he says that he can’t continue ascending and descending for the camera so he’s not going to do that anymore.  He said he would stop ascending and descending for the camera less than 1/3 of the way down the canyon.

11. There was a large water tank at the top of the canyon at camp 2.

At the top of the canyon at camp 2, he said he needed to get to the bottom of the canyon to find water.

Where he was filming those shots, he was less than 350 feet away from the large water tank.  In fact, as demonstrated by the pictures, it’s possible to briefly see the top of the water tank in his video.

Final Thoughts

This critical analysis is not intended to conclude anything negative about Survivorman.  I do hope this site generates discussion about what we think we see on these types of television shows and how that differs from how the information is presented to us.

And I’m certainly not making any comments about his ability to survive.  I’m an avid backpacker, but I’m sure Stroud could out-survive me any day of the week.  But I’m not confident that everything presented on the show is true.  But I guess that’s just how television is: you can’t trust everything you see.  Some people argue that this information doesn’t detract from Stroud’s genuine ability to survive and that it’s irrelevant that he camped near a highway.  And I don’t disagree with that claim.  However, I would suggest that people take this information and re-watch the Utah episode.  I think most people will actually feel deceived by the way the show was portrayed.  The feeling of deception goes beyond the simple fact that he camped near the road…it extends to all of the other issues presented here that call into question the show’s truthfulness…and the way the show and the narration actively worked to deceive the viewer about the facts.

We’ve explored several explanations to account for these discrepancies, but none of the explanations really make sense.  As I said before, perhaps this is just how television is done.  I had really hoped that Survivorman was different than all those other television shows, though.

Update – Facebook Post from Stroud

On September 2, 2015, Stroud wrote a post on his Facebook page in which he responded to people who suggested he should join with other survival shows by asking, “why on earth would I, who’ve spent the last 15 years surviving for real and making those films for you, risking my life in the process for REAL, bother to hook up and take part in any one of those other shows – all of which fake, contrive, set up, pretend, or otherwise lie about what they are actually doing?”

In response to that post, one person commented, “At least Cody left and is shining a light on the fakeness of those shows. Since you won’t comment on Tikaboo Creek, your credibility is sort of in question too. I want to believe in you.”

Over a year and a half after we originally asked Stroud multiple times for a comment on the information presented on this website, he finally addressed the findings.  Here is his response to the above post:

Tikaboo is easily explained – some assumptions were made that were incorrect – other parts were correct but did not detract from my actual survival – as for one simple point – i am often in the vicinity of traffic and roads – and in fact on one occasion – Georgia – i could hear the trucks downshifting IN Ticaboo i couldn’t hear anything but i could’ve walked out any time i wanted too – and on another i had to pass by cottages to continue my way into the wilderness – the point is I stay in and carry out my survival as that is what i am there for – for another point there have been two episodes in fifteen years where i wanted desperately to show the ecological differences in two areas but they were too far apart and so i allowed a truck to pick me up – drive an hour (with a strict rule to not have food or water on them) and drop me off to continue my survival – i actually hated doing that so i decided to never do that again – Ticaboo was one of those locations (the other shall remain a mystery) …and lastly – i often dont clean up after myself when i leave a place but my team is instructed to come in later and clean up for me – they have not always honoured this unfortunately – i can’t remember what else was said about Ticaboo but i think those were some of the concerns….in fact over the years my attention to detail of making sure i am as far out and as remote and dealing with life or death risk, has gotten stronger – but i have refused to fake what i do…its not always easy to find a remote spot but i always stay in and do what i do – in the beginning the networks had more sway and even tried to influence my narration scripting – after a few times of losing the odd battle to them i vowed and have achieved to this day only saying what i want to say – which is to simply tell the story as it happened while on occasion sifting out of the edit of the show the insignificant moments (like being able to hear traffic) – and often if i can walk out i will actually say – “i can walk out of here” but then again i am there to survive…..I hope that helps Kyle….L

I would like to address and assess this explanation based on the facts we gathered.  To begin, let’s list our major findings and how they were covered in Stroud’s explanation:

1. Camp 1 is too far from the landing site to get there by bicycle in one day.

Not addressed

2. Camp 2 is too far from camp 1 to get there by foot in one day.

Confirmed: “for another point there have been two episodes in fifteen years where i wanted desperately to show the ecological differences in two areas but they were too far apart and so i allowed a truck to pick me up – drive an hour (with a strict rule to not have food or water on them) and drop me off to continue my survival – i actually hated doing that so i decided to never do that again – Ticaboo was one of those locations (the other shall remain a mystery)”

3. Camp 1 was approximately 860 feet (less than 300 yards) from Highway 276.  The road and the cars on the road could be seen (and heard) easily from the shelter.

Denied: “IN Ticaboo i couldn’t hear anything but i could’ve walked out any time i wanted too (sic)”

Not addressed: Why he said the crew would need to fly in to clean up the camp.

4. Camp 1 was less than 14 miles away from the town of Ticaboo, UT, with its gas station and lodge.  Don’t forget that camp 1 was also less than 300 yards from the highway that leads to Ticaboo.

Not addressed

5. Where he claimed to be “ledged up” at camp 1, there is an easy route down into the canyon approximately 100 yards away.

Not addressed

6. The second water puddle at camp 2 was only 10 feet away from the first water puddle.

Not addressed

7. The big, frozen water pool near camp 2 was right beside the trail he took down into the canyon.

Not addressed

8. The camps were not cleaned up so Leave No Trace wasn’t followed.

Confirmed: “and lastly – i often dont (sic) clean up after myself when i leave a place but my team is instructed to come in later and clean up for me – they have not always honoured this unfortunately”

9. It took us less than 30 minutes to climb out of the canyon at camp 2.

Not addressed

10. The canyon he descended at camp 2 was approximately 500 feet deep.

Not addressed

11. There was a large water tank at the top of the canyon at camp 2.

Not addressed

If we assess his responses to the individual findings, we see that he confirmed two of the eleven findings and denied one of them.  The other eight were not addressed.

And when we look at the one finding he denied, we know this finding cannot be one of the “assumptions” that was incorrect because we are confident that we found the correct campsite, as the pictures below will support, but we also have video footage showing a car going down the highway as we stood at the campsite.

While I tried hard just to present the facts without drawing any conclusions, I am confident that he could clearly hear the cars driving on Highway 276 from his first camp.  It is true that he would not have been able to hear cars at his second camp, but not only could he see and hear the cars at camp 1, I believe he needed to use creative camera angles to ensure the road and the cars were not in the footage.

Many people read his post and think he adequately addressed the findings presented here.  Make a good critical assessment of this information and see if you agree.

Pictures

The pictures below are intended to show that we truly found the correct locations.  They simply compare our photo with a screenshot of the same location from the show.

For a side-by-side comparison of bigger photos, click here.

 

 

Map

46 Comments

  1. I found this really intriguing. I don’t think Les was blatantly lying for most of the inconsistencies that you found; I think he simply told a few ‘white lies’ to make his location seem more remote. The show would be boring if he survived near humans- that takes all the fun out of it. He got a bad location for this one, and he did what he could to make it exciting and mysterious. I don’t blame him. If you ever want to go on a vacation, you should check out the one he did in the Serengeti. Was he really in constant danger, or was he just driven from location to location? That’d be neat to see.

    • A previous version of this post presented some possible explanations for the discrepancies, but after Stroud posted his response on FB, I didn’t feel like I needed to defend him with my theories any longer. I agree that some omission of details may help improve the drama of the show, but I truly felt like there were just so many things that were seriously exaggerated that it ended up being disappointing. I would like to find the location of some other shows…but it took me 8 years to find this one when I lived within a few hours of it…I don’t think I have the time to do that in Africa 🙂 Thanks for the comments.

      • So essentially what you’re saying is that because of one early episode in his career, circa 2005, you believe that everything he has done since is fake?

        I’m not sure why you feel so deeply offended and choose to call a man you do not know a fraud and a liar, but I would like to hint at the answer for all your Not Addressed issues, and perhaps give you some food for thought.

        “”in the beginning the networks had more sway and even tried to influence my narration scripting – after a few times of losing the odd battle to them i vowed and have achieved to this day only saying what i want to say””

        Since you seem fond of research to help prove he’s a charlatan, research the original recording and air date of this episode and his television career up to that point in time.

        • Actually, if you read more closely, I did not “essentially” say that “everything he has done since is fake.” I actually said, “I don’t know if all of the Survivorman episodes are filmed in the same manner…I only know the locations of the Utah episode.”

          I also did not say anything was “fake.” I said it was “misleading.”

          I’m not deeply offended…I did not call him a fraud or a liar. Since you’re so upset that I would do something like that to a man I don’t know, I’m assuming you know Stroud very well. Perhaps you can provide some more direct insight from him?

          I’m sorry that the facts offend you. They are what they are.

  2. I think that most of such instances can be figured out with the following unwritten (and sometimes written) rules:

    1. TV is expensive, so in reality TV nothing is ‘left to chance’
    2. His insurance would never have covered him being actually in a survival situation
    3. The idea is not to physically BE in danger, but to show the survival skills needed when one IS in danger.
    4. It’s television. Entertainment. Not a video blog.

    Very good article, some great comparisons made. All the same, I wouldn’t have thought any of this needed saying: why ruin someone’s fun if they enjoy it? 🙂

    • Thank you for visiting my site and thanks for the comments.

      I completely agree with your reasons for why Stroud may have needed to film the episode the way he did. However, those reasons don’t explain why he had to be so deceptive about the way he filmed the episode. As I mentioned, if you watch the episode again after reading this, I think you’ll see how actively deceptive many things were. It wasn’t simply a matter of positioning the camera so that you couldn’t see the highway in the background. Instead, he made comments such as it would take three days to bike out from the camp when it was actually less than 14 miles down a state highway to the closest town…a distance he could have covered on the bike in just 2-3 hours. Insurance, costs, and danger don’t have any influence on whether or not he has to tell the truth. It was that deception that ruined the fun for me. Again, thanks for visiting my site.

      • Honestly, I don’t see the big deal. If you had more than a couple episodes I would probably be inclined to agree, but you had to put in a lot of work to prove shortcomings in one episode a long time ago. As someone previously pointed out, Les Stroud was not a TV personality or executive so giving him the responsibility for every decision is just unfair. I would advise to take a step back and realize in a world full of fakes and finger pointers, Les Stroud offers a pretty realistic virtually unassisted glimpse of surviving in extreme climates.

        • It took me 9 years to find that location…have fun finding the exact other locations throughout the world.

          And if you read the post you’ll note that I’m not holding him responsible for every decision…I’m holding him responsible for the actual words that came out of his mouth in the episode.

  3. Wow that’s kinda disappointing. I’ve been watching a few of his episodes from season 1 and I enjoy them as they are very relaxing to watch but sometimes things feel a little off and make me question how real it all is. I’ll still watch his stuff but I’m a little disappointed that I won’t be able to know for sure what happened by chance or what was staged

  4. I have only just watched one episode of his, which was was set in Norway. And I can tell you, I would not rely on his survival techniques. He got it wrong in the 1st 3 minutes, and continued to get it wrong.
    He did do somethings right tho.

  5. you can get between camp one and two on foot in 6 hours max.

    • Maybe. But you’d have to use the highway to do it. And don’t forget about how “hard” it was for him to hike down into the canyon at camp 2 with all of his camera gear…19 miles wouldn’t be a walk in the park with a heavy pack, and it was very short days in the winter, so I still have my doubts that it could be done in a day. Regardless, he admits that he used a vehicle to move between locations in the episode.

  6. I think this is interesting, but honestly I can see why he would be deceptive. It most likely was for non disclosure agreements. That is the thing you must understand, the network will never allow him to be in any real danger. While it might be dishearting he still is “surviving”. Legal matters can really suck, and honestly I think he was attempting to make use of a crappy situation.

    It is a logical fallacy however to attune this as a whole instead his other locations which seem to be remote. I would reckon for a show he is as real as TV will allow him to be beyond a “blog”. I think you make great points and might be right, however he seem to actually own up to them all and his response did in fact answer 99% of your points at least as far as an NDA will allow. That is why they are shifty because the network will sue. It sucks, I would like to see Les unteathered from legal matters.

    • Non-disclosure agreements require him to be deceptive about the fact his crew will clean up a camp? Non-disclosure agreements require him to be deceptive about how far he travels between water puddles? Non-disclosure agreements require him to be deceptive about how deep a canyon is?

      That doesn’t make sense.

      And I’m confused by this statement: “It is a logical fallacy however to attune this as a whole instead his other locations which seem to be remote.”

      I assume you’re suggesting that I questioned the validity of all of the shows. First, I didn’t. Second, if your first paragraph is to be accepted, then the shows cannot truly be remote because of the network rules. You defend the lack of remoteness in this episode by citing unknown network rules, but then seem to suggest that the other episodes would be different because they “seem to be remote.” Maybe. I don’t know. I thought the Utah episode was remote until I found the locations. I can only speak to the Utah episode. Camp two in the Utah episode was somewhat remote and respectable. Camp one was not. If I misunderstood your comment, I apologize.

      But, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not all that concerned about the lack of remoteness…I’m concerned about all of the deceptive statements in the episode.

      Maybe the network required him to lie about all of those things. I don’t know. I’m just reporting the facts.

      • And…. mic dropped. These people are Astro turfing. Friends of the network and friends of survivorscam oops I mean survivorman posting to defend their absurdities. Way to crush them with logic and facts.

  7. I always thought Les was a dork anyways, real Canadians don’t talk like that.

  8. So what if he was camping out like 800 feet from the highway..the whole point of the show is to show someone to survive for real and to show people to respect the mother nature. He is doing this for a living and you want him to risk his life every episode so you can have a 40 mins of fun on your couch?

    • I don’t think you read the entire post.

      He obviously didn’t “respect the mother nature” since he left the damage caused by his camps…which he falsely claimed would be cleaned up by the crew.

      And he deceived about what he told the viewers.

      The fact he camped near the highway is not the issue…the fact he deceived about it is the issue. As well as the fact that he deceived about many other claims. When you lie, your credibility gets questioned. That’s how credibility works.

      And please note that I didn’t find his locations by sitting on my couch.

      • How does leaving a few rocks and logs displaced cause any damage other than it doesn’t look natural. It’s not like he left garbage behind.

        You “leave no trace” people kill me.

  9. Wow. Witch hunt anyone? Interesting read, but you miss the point of what Wes has said. Some of what he has “said” in his show was out of his hands. Don’t most TV executives want excitement? Selling points? Do you want so see the magic behind the magic tricks? I can say that any TV should be taken with a grain of salt, outside of sporting events. I would expect some exaggeration, wouldn’t you? If you are an 100% independent film maker etc, I’m sure you can get 100% creative control on what happens or on what is said. The show is brilliant. Les is the man. I think you spent far too much time trying to prove that TV shows spice things up and have secrets. Guess what? This is why TV is TV. The more we learn, the less magical the tricks become.

  10. SirLiarman (Les Stroud) is a complete and utter phony! He came up with an idea about a “REAL” survival show and got the right people to back him and market it. Anyone who thinks that this phony knows the first thing about real skills and applying them in the real world probably watches “Finding Bigfoot” and wears “Keep Squatchin” T-shirts! LS has been laughing all the way to the bank for years and the whole horde of his fanboys and girls have been nerding out with crap like ” Les Stroud is real man, compared to Bear Grylls, Les Rules”? Sorry to burst your bubble folks but you all have talked yourselves into believing crap that the TV people knew you would! IT is TV, IT is scripted and IT is so far removed from reality and suckers like you are the same suckers that make people like Stroud and the networks rich! Why don’t you get it? It is Reality TV not REALITY! If you think that Stroud has given you anything of value you are STUPID and I can guarantee that if you are ever in a “survival” situation and all you have is SirLIARman’s teachings you will slowly freeze, dehydrate, starve and die just as he has done on every episode. He only has to last until they get the footage they need! Go back and watch the episodes, he hangs on til the time is up! I understand that you don’t want to admit the truth because it is tough for most people to accept they have been suckered? I don’t have any animus for Stroud, he saw an opportunity and he took it and made some money, good for him. I do have a problem with him perpetuating a lie(his response proves he is a liar) and it seems he is believing his own bullsh!t! If Les is so trick why isn’t he being brought in to train our troops, firefighters, law enforcement or any group needing such skills? Please people don’t get hurt or die following this crap! Find real experts and learn from them! PS watching the Walking Dead would benefit your survival knowledge more than SirLiarman! Les Stroud, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy should cause the light to go on? ( I didn’t come up with “SirLiarman” so whoever did please take credit?)

  11. A friend’s son-in-law (GENUINE SAS) once told me:
    If you want to go out, kill the enemy and probably eat him put your trust in Lofty Wiseman
    If you want to go out and survive put your trust in Ray Mears or Les Hiddings
    If you want to crack open the mini-bar at a 5 star hotel with an expensive but useless “survival knife” Bear Grylls (or Bare Girls as the SAS call him) is your man

    If you want to roll about on the floor pissing yourself with laughter then it’s Les Stroud anytime!

  12. Watched one episode where he:

    destroyed a perfectly good LED flashlight to spark start a fire (and left the flashlight to burn)

    “set” a deadfall trap and caught his own hand

    set another so badly that the bait was taken but the (large) rock was still supported by the upright

    unstrung a guitar (FFS) to make a trap – not by using the guitar strings but by gaffer taping a Pringles tube (!) into the sound hole and burying the guitar in the hope a squirrel would fall in and get trapped – the guitar was not seen again in the episode which was a shame as he’s a decent guitar player.

    Quite honestly if I were caught out in the bush with “Survivorman” I’d stick as close to the camera crew as possible!

  13. Now that he knows people are starting to question the truth about his show he has shifted his shows into big foot hunts and his most recent shows have been nothing more then talking about how only your will to live is the real survival factor. The funny part is that hes teaching u all this after so many seasons which means he didn’t talk about the most important factor (your will to survive) all these years cause he never had to survive a single night without a sleeping bag and those beef jerkies hes been promoting these days(yes folks their are actually survivor man jerkies available now lol.

  14. I knew Les Stroud’s editor for his footage. He’s confirmed that when Les was supposedly driving into the desert until he ran out of gas and proceeded to survive from there, he was in fact driving around in a circle. He also has footage showing Les a few hundred feet from a restaurant beside a camp fire filming an episode. So yes, Les will cut corners and not always do what he says he is doing. But, The same editor also filmed some shots for Les on location for filling during editing and confirms that more often then not, his locations are very remote and the elements he survives in are very real. He’s just not in as much danger as it seems.

    • Your comment seems fair. I’ve found three of his locations. There may be some that are close, but the arctic and Baffin Island ones…no one can deny they are extremely remote.

      I never took his vehicle break downs or accidents as anything other than suggestions. And he has said, those events were simulations. He’s also said he has on multiple occasions, come across people who wanted to help and he has thanked then and refused. I’ve also suspected (known from a friend) that his crew is close by. Of course they are. The only thing that matters to me is, when he is surviving in the wilderness, is he getting any help? He says he refuses food and water in the rare occasion in the past. I can accept that.

  15. I’m just curious how you found the different sites. Did you just wander around Canyonlands until something looked familiar? You had to have had some inclination where to be, right?

    • That is actually a pretty funny story that I included in my original post, but I decided it was probably too boring for most people to want to read! I saw the Utah episode right after I moved to Utah, and I decided that I wanted to find where he filmed the episode because it just looked so pretty. So I spent the next EIGHT years trying to figure it out! I checked out the coordinates provided on the episode…found out that location was right off the interstate with no canyons in sight. So then I started looking in likely areas. I assumed he was near Moab because the coordinates were near the Moab exit off the interstate, and that’s the “Canyonlands” area…plus there were snow covered mountains in the episode, so I figured that was the La Sal Mountains. But I couldn’t make anything fit. Then I found out that the guide he had on the episode lived in Escalante, so then I figured the mountains were in the Boulder Mountain area around Escalante. But I couldn’t make anything fit there, either. Then I moved on to the Abajo Mountains near Blanding, but I couldn’t make anything fit there, either. Next I moved on to the Robber’s Roost area near Hanksville, with the Henry Mountains in the background…that felt a lot closer, but I still couldn’t figure it out. Then right before I was about to move from Utah after being there over 8 years, I told my wife that we were going to check out an area near Ticaboo Mesa on the back side of the Henrys because I absolutely had to figure out where this episode was filmed before we left. So the night before, I was perched in front of the television to re-watch the episode to try to remember important geologic features when we were exploring around, when my wife said, “Dummy, you’re always trying to remember what the episode looked like when we’re driving around. Why don’t you take a picture of something so you can look at it while we’re out there.”

      She’s a genius. So I found one shot that I thought had a lot of varied, unique geological features, and I held my phone up to the television and took a single picture. The next day, as we were driving down the road, my wife was driving and I was looking at the map, when I just glanced up and saw it. I mean, what I saw in front of us was an almost exact shot of the still photo I had taken. We pulled over, looked at the photo, and we both agreed that this was the same spot (Later, after finding the exact campsite where the still shot was taken, I learned that we were no more than 400 yards away when we saw the spot from the road). Since I only had one photo, we spent the whole weekend driving all around the Little Rockies, taking pictures of everything we could. Then I went home, compared photos to the episode, hunkered down over topo maps and satellite imagery (I love the 21st century), solicited help from some friends online, and we figured out most of the locations while comfortably sitting in our living rooms. One of the online friends and I then went back the very next weekend and confirmed all of the locations. At camp one, we had picked the exact tree he camped under from the topo maps and imagery. At camp 2, we had picked the right canyon, and it only took us about 30 minutes to find the campsite. We had the episode on an iPad on that second trip, so we were able to compare things with the episode while out there. The helicopter landing site was harder, and we didn’t even try to find it on that trip. I later realized that I had actually coincidentally gotten a photo of the helicopter landing site on a much earlier trip from the opposite side of Smith Fork Canyon. So my wife and I went back and I found a way to hike up to the site and got photos from the landing spot.

      It was certainly not an easy task, nor was it fast. But it was fun. I’d kinda like to find some of the other locations…

  16. That does sound like it was pretty fun. Almost seems like the closest one could get to a real life treasure hunt. As someone that loves spending my time disbursed camping and doing outdoor activities I like your idea. I’ve always been the type of camper to just pick a general area, then just let fate decide where I end up camping at. Some spots were amazing and others… not so much but its the adventure and excitement of not knowing in it that I like.

  17. I can guarantee his Alaska spot was Truely remote, because I have been to Seward. Also, if you’re the reason I cannot seem to watch/buy most of season 1 online, I will make it my life’s mission to throw an egg at you.

    Les is still the best, most sincere, and has the most legitiment survival show on television. And I cannot wait for season 8.

    • Yeah, all of season one used to be out there, but now you can’t get it all. That might be my fault.

    • he stated during the Alaska episode, a boat cam into the harbour where he was.

      • What he didn’t mention in that episode was that the boat reported him to the Park Service and he was visited by Rangers and fined for operating without a permit.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivorman
        “On July 16, 2007, Stroud and a support crew of four in the nearby safety camp were cited by the United States National Park Service for commercial videotaping without a permit at Taroka Arm, a seldom-visited area at Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. Investigators found a driftwood shelter surrounded by multiple cameras on the beach. The support crew was camped near a sensitive archaeological site. Stroud paid the required application, location, and monitoring fees, totaling approximately $2,800 USD.”

  18. I’m watching the episode right now
    Your 1 reason
    Stating it was too far out for a bicycle
    Did you watch the show?
    The scenario was a dirt biker who’s dirt bike dies
    Then les salvages the bike at the beginning of the vid

    • You’re talking about a different episode….that’s the episode in Arizona…I’m talking about the episode in Utah. Those are actually different states. Which is probably why the pictures here didn’t match anything you saw on the episode.

  19. Damn… I just didn’t think this about Les. I like to watch most “survival” shows (although nothing by Bear Grylls) but I always keep an eye open for “production” and in most shows they are rife. Even Ed Stafford who’s apparently also a one man show is sometimes clearly fixed with locations and scenarios. I never saw that in Survivorman…. and even if your findings doesn’t show that it’s fake through and through it’s still clearly deceptive in parts… and that makes the “Survivorman is different, man!” argument suspicious. Perhaps he’s more authentic than “Naked And Afraid” and the others, but he still obviously play things up, plans his “story”, fakes some things, and all the rest… at least in the earlier episodes, the ones I thought were the best.

  20. His survival is real. I am sure he has some kind of emergency beacon, satellite phone, or radio in his pack at all times. I do when i go backpacking. It would be stupid for him to actually not carry some way of escape. Of course he’s going to portray he isn’t. He’s entertaining you while surviving and some of his survival is more extreme than others.

    I have no doubt he knows how to truly survive and is imparting some serious knowledge to all of us .. i think that’s his point .. to entertain but at the same time give you knowledge but there’s limitations on what a human can do to survive, film this stuff, and make it entertaining.

    I thought this would be a given. It’s obvious that he’s mixing entertainment and survival leaning more toward survival than entertainment in my opinion.

    —–

    By the way .. insurance would cover you for putting yourself in survival situations if you have the cash to make it worth their while. Not only that, i am sure they have enough cash to pay for it out of pocket if they couldn’t get coverage.

    • “His survival is real.” How do you know? As I showed, he deceived about several things in just one episode. I never asserted anything about whether or not he has support or emergency capabilities. I simply showed that he deceived. And deception calls into question any person’s truthfulness, honesty, and integrity. That’s how honesty is determined: is the person deceptive or not? It may be a given that this is just entertainment…I don’t think it’s a given that entertainment is deceptive.

  21. “I always thought Les was a dork anyways, real Canadians don’t talk like that.” (“David” Jan. 8, 2016)
    Yes, we do. And Les is anything but a “dork.” We knew him well, before his fame. Worked on some media projects with him. A straight-up guy. Honourable in all his dealings with us. If industry types, going all the way to the tip-top, possessed 50 % of his integrity, the world would be in far better shape than it currently is.

  22. he had to film episodes in the states or he would never gather an american audience… there is nowhere in the states where there isn’t people… cut the guy some slack he’s just doin what he’s gotta do

    • Nowhere in the states where there aren’t people? Boy, we have an awfully big country… And I didn’t complain about him being around people…I complained about the things he lied about.

  23. Keith, good find and article, what do you make of Ed stafford watch the series of him surviving on an island for 60 days locations are shown. Also one thing i hated about les that he would talk badly about other survivors all the time while he was doing the same but to a different degree if he decieved his fans and viewers on one episode why not the others. Part of the reason we watch these survival shows is for the genuinely as it draws us closer to the way we used to live back before technology etc, we were in tribes and had to survive in situations we are built and wire that way, we need the challenges and it resonates when we watch somebody actually genuinely do it.

    • I haven’t seen Stafford…I’ll check it out. And, yeah, I totally agree with you…it irritates me that Stroud bad mouths the other TV show people so much. First, what does he know about what they’re really doing? Second, he’s not squeaky clean when it comes to his show, either.

  24. Les Stroud is a liar, as are all people on TV. TV is a completely faked medium. It takes hours to set up, get focus, get the right light, check your shots and then actually shoot TV footage. No way he does that all alone. No way also he goes without food for as long as he says. Also, batteries run dead in camera equipment. Most only last an hour or two and forget that timeframe in cold weather. How does he recharge them? Then there’s the weight of the equipment and the other things he claims he carries. Les is not in shape, he is free of muscle tone and has baby blubber. No way he has the stamina to do what he claims. NOTHING adds up with this liar.

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