Seriously, You Guys Saved Our Lives - Review of SOL Emergency Bivvy

Below is climber Paul Warman’s first-person account on how the SOL Emergency Bivvy helped save his and a friend’s life after the two became stranded near the summit of British Columbia’s Bugaboo Spire.


I would like to take a moment to give a heartfelt thanks to you guys. If it wasn’t for your Emergency Bivvy [formerly called Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy], we would not be here today.

Long story short, in August 2008, myself and a friend were trapped on the top of Bugaboo Spire in a bad storm awaiting rescue for 56 hours. When pulled, we were hypothermic, out of food, water and hope. The silver emergency blanket we had taken along was shredded by the wind and we were forced to spend the final 20 hours on a super narrow ledge with your Heatsheets blanket “bag,” which we sliced to cover us both. It was probably about the most intense field test one could subject a product to – high altitude, UV, snow and rain, windy as hell, etc. I still have the tattered remains of the bag. It did the job where the others had failed miserably the first night. This thing kept going – providing a 20 degree increase in temperature, I’m guessing – and was enough to keep us alive.

As a climber who tends to be a bit on the cheap side, I had seen your bivvies at Mountain Equipment Co-op before the climb and thought that they were too expensive. I opted instead to buy a cheapo silver one – BIG MISTAKE. Following my experience on Bugaboo Spire, I don’t even let friends go out without your Emergency Bivvy on trips. If they complain about the price, I calmly pose the question, “How much is your life worth?” and then slap a new one in their hands. Because there is no doubt that the durability of the silver ones just doesn’t hold up.

In fact, I still have both blankets from the trip (or what’s left of them) and the silver ones look like a shredded sheet of clear polyester. Yours, although no longer really usable (crampon spikes don’t like anything soft), would still work in a bind. The bright orange coating helped greatly in enabling the helicopters to locate us when the whiteout cleared for a few quick seconds, allowing for a quick extrication off of the mountain. By “quick,” I mean there was only a four-minute window for the next bunch of days, which means if we hadn’t gotten off the ledge when we did we would not be here today.

My message to you fine folks is of genuine heartfelt thanks. Your Emergency Bivvy Works! Others just fail in comparison.


Paul Warman,

Cochrane, Alberta