Survival Expert Successfully Crosses Death Valley In Summer, Brings No Food Or Water

Industry: Environment, Survival Expert

Wilderness Survival Expert Thomas Coyne hikes 135 miles across Death Valley and onto Mt. Whitney, bringing no food or water, living entirely off the land.

California (PRUnderground) September 13th, 2011

At 3:30 am September 9, on the verge of collapse, Wilderness Survival Expert Thomas Coyne achieved his goal of hiking across Death Valley National Park to Mt Whitney, a distance of 135 miles, while living entirely off the land. Coyne brought only a knife, a piece of string, a backpackers water filter, and some empty jugs to get by. Minimalism was so important to Coyne- he didn’t even bring a change of socks.

“My entire life I’ve wanted to do something no one else had ever done before” said Coyne. “Maybe even something most would think impossible. I think that tonight I may have just done it.”

The journey began near the Badwater Basin of Death Valley National Park (the lowest place in North America at 282′ below sea level), and ended at Mt. Whitney (the highest place in the 48 contiguous states at 14,500’+). Distances between water points ranged from 3 to over 40 miles, and Thomas could bring only what he could carry on his back to make the incredible distances in the high heat. The first stretch of the journey to a useable water source was 8.8 miles in 113 degree heat… with no water.

“I really didn’t know if I could make that last big push between water holes. Over forty miles away with only three gallons on my back. I thought it may bring the whole trip to a close”.

It did not end the trip however, and Coyne managed to make the distance in less than 48 hours; with nearly a gallon left to spare. What did he eat out there you ask? He lists; Palm Dates, Cattail roots, Watercress greens, fresh Barrel Cactus, Chokecherries, and even Wild Celery and Native Sunflower seeds amongst the fare. The trip was recorded and brief videos of the techniques he used to survive were uploaded to his survival school’s (Survival Training School of California) YouTube Channel for the public to follow along. They Can be viewed at

About Thomas Coyne:
Thomas Coyne is the modern founder of Survival Training School of California. He has developed its produced its manual and video training series, and hand picked its instructors. Thomas first formally taught Native Living Skills at the age of 16, guiding tours through sensitive Native American archaeological sites. He has since taught; wilderness survival, plant identification and uses, and or Native living skills for; The California Native Plant Society, Bakersfield College, W.omen I.n T.he O.utdoors (the largest women’s outdoor association in America), The Boyscouts of America, and the Kern County Native American Cultural Council, amongst others-and has served as as an expert consultant for; The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, ABC, Break Media, The G4 Network, and more.

You can learn more about Thomas and his survival school at;


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Thomas Coyne
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