On History’s endurance nonfiction reality series Alone, producers for season 6 selected an austere locale for the 10 contestants. The series set them all down in Canada’s brutally cold Arctic region to see who could last the longest and claim the $500,000 purse.
It was Virginia native Jordan Jonas who persevered. He did it by understanding the input and output of energy and calories and had great luck in securing protein-rich meals to keep him going.
Alone is the brass ring of nonfiction survival series.
As the title implies, the show places people approximately in a five to ten square-mile radius from each other within a general area. There are support production teams off in the distance just in case someone tries to cheat or game the premise of the series (it happens) or maiming, severe illness or death.
Accidents and extreme mental stressors causing a psychic snap are the most prominent reason people fall away from the task.
Participants in the series also get 65 pounds of filming equipment to record their journey with a radio to call for tap-out relief. These people must build a shelter, hunt, fish, and scavenge their way to a long stay, last man or woman standing wins.
Jordan was that last man.
How did Jonas win?
Jonas brought a set of skills with him that enabled him to unemotionally and correctly assess what he needed to do daily to preserve his energy and secure food.
Simply knowing the logistics of shelter building and how to design it, plus dedicating his precious reserves for hunting and fishing resources to take down angry-but-edible bears, deer and elk.
In his blog, Jonas described in great detail exactly how he fashioned his shelter and why it was vital to preserving body heat.
Securing a successful shelter meant he was able to endure the incredibly cold conditions and dangerous wildlife. This wildlife included bear, the always underestimated moose, wandering wolves, rare muskox and other creatures.
“I decided to go for a small (easier to heat) a frame shelter with a few important features. As you can see, it was logs chinked with moss. The roof was my tarp, but reinforced more that you might think. Why? (Well for one, to hold meat while it smoked) But also so that as snow fell I could slowly bury my relatively small shelter – snow is an excellent insulator and that seemed the most calorie efficient way to go about insulating. As more snow accumulated, it would be buried (a process you could speed up by shoveling some snow on, which I did). I also made my door out of tarp, as it was very important to seal the shelter and the door is the leakiest area. I would eventually fur line the door to really make a nice seal. Thirdly, I made a collapsible hood vent. This was very effective at catching and funneling out smoke, and importantly when the fire was low at night I could close and seal my chimney making my shelter nearly draft free with no holes open to the outside world. I also stone lined the area around my fire for safety -both the roof and the wall – and made an air tube out of cans to feed air into my fire.”
He was also steadfast in his calorie preservation, and fishing efforts paid off handsomely as he was able to ice fish with success:
Who is Jordan Jonas?
This Lynchburg, VA resident lived in Idaho on a farm for a spell and made his way in Virginia in construction. He has a facility in languages and even traveled in Siberia and caught trains both abroad and in the USA.
It was in Siberia where he learned to fur trap and survive in a cold and remote place with apex predators.
In his bio on History, he recalled falling through the frozen water in winter and surviving, and forging an existence with nomadic Evenki reindeer herders deep in the taiga.
On his Facebook page, he describes himself:
Assyrian American who grew up on a farm in Idaho, spent time riding freight trains across the USA, lived for many years in Russia including several amongst Evenki reindeer herders in Northern Siberia. Proficient at many practical trades and skills. Follows a constantly evolving Christian path.
He has literally been through the mud:
“chopping a tendon in his good knee that left him immobilized for three days in a tipi, pulling himself out of a mud bog that enveloped him to his shoulders,” according to History.
If that wasn’t enough of a deterrent, he had ribs broken by a reindeer and accidentally siphoned up a mouthful of toxic gasoline.
Also on his Facebook page, he is shown to be an active forager and has a taste for wild mushrooms:
Congratulations pour in on socials
Many from Virginia were ecstatic
This is AWESOME — A Lynchburg man proved he has what it takes to survive in the ARCTIC.👏
— ABC 13 News – WSET (@ABC13News) August 23, 2019
— Eliza Lloyd (@ELloydwriting) August 23, 2019
Jonas even answered many fan tweets in German:
Danke für die Erwähnung! pic.twitter.com/p7EGzfFlhP
— Jonas Jordan (@JonasJjo) August 23, 2019
Gacinovic wurde Opfer seines Könnens, Rebic Opfer seines Willens.
— Jonas Jordan (@JonasJjo) August 23, 2019
Alone airs Thursday nights at 10/9 PM on History.