Nipawin men survive overnight blizzard on Deschambault Lake
Truck trapped in drifting snow
It was supposed to be a day trip to go ice-fishing on a northern lake.
Instead, four Nipawin men spent a frigid night in a canvas tent as a blizzard raged around their trapped truck.
Brothers Greg and Colby Peifer and friends Luke Sholter and Devon Agur left Nipawin early Friday for the two-and-a-half hour drive north to Deschambault Lake.
A good day fishing
Most of our tracks were blown in, and we were having a real hard time getting out of there.- Colby Peifer
"Right about an hour or so before we decided to pack up, the wind started picking up and it was getting pretty ugly out there," he said.
The men were driving a 4x4 truck. The going started to get rough as the wind covered their trail in.
"Most of our tracks were blown in, and we having a real hard time getting out of there."
Greg Peifer, 34, says the four were getting tired, thirsty, sweaty and hungry as they were forced to dig out the truck every 10 metres.
And they were running out of gas. Colby says that's when they started planning to hunker down.
"We picked a position of gas that we'd have to keep for the next morning if we had to spend the night. We tried to get out and then once we hit that point, we made the hard decision to spend the night," he said.
The winds were howling
Greg Peifer says they stayed in the truck as long as possible. But, to conserve fuel, they turned it off and moved their gear to the canvas tent they'd used for ice fishing.
We didn't want to leave the truck.- Greg Peifer
They also decided against trying to walk for help or firewood.
"By that time it was pitch black and the closest place that would've had wood was about a kilometre away, it was a little island. You can't send two guys hoping that they're going get there and get back, and we didn't want to leave the truck," he said.
They stayed warm with a small propane heater.
The RCMP sent out a search party the next morning. They arrived around noon on the Saturday -- along with Greg and Colby Peifer's father, Sheldon.
"Unreal, I've never been so happy to see my father. That was the biggest thing the night before -- who's going to come? Who's going to save us," said Greg Peifer.
They were all reunited with their families later that day.