MakeShift challenge – Save a man stuck in a fissure filled with toxic gas!

Img413 1143
Reminder, only a week or so left!

The creator of MacGyver (Lee D. Zlotoff) challenges you to save a man stuck in a fissure filled with toxic gas!

The Scenario:
You set off on a solo backpacking jaunt one blissfully free weekend, in search of a legendary mountain hot spring that has remained pristine thanks to the 12-plus-hour climb it takes to reach it. A well-earned sweat topped off with nothing but silence, solitude, and hot water – what’s not to like?

Just as your topo map indicates that you’re within minutes of the spring, you hear an agonized shouting from somewhere off the rocky trail. You quickly discover a large, cylindrical fissure in the ground, about 15 feet in diameter and about 20 feet deep, at the bottom of which lies a rather large example of humanity, with his leg bent at such an unnatural angle that there’s no doubt it’s badly broken. You yell down to the man – who is easily twice your weight – to say help has arrived. He acknowledges you with a wave, but he seems to be fading fast from shock, pain, or whatever. the walls of thet fissure are nearly vertical and full of jagged rocks, but your experience tells you they’re scalable. Still, there’s no way you’ll be able to climb those rocks with this guy on your back. You’ll have to come up with another way to get him out of this whole.

And then it hits you:
A noxious, sulfuric smell that says that this fissure is a vent for the same gases that make the hot springs so warm and bubbly. If you don’t quickly find a way to get fresh air to this guy, he’s not going to survive long enough for you to rescue him.

The Challenge:
Devise a way to keep this guy breathing while you come up with and execute a plan to safely extract him from the fissure. Then get him stabilized long enough that you can either get him off the mountain yourself, or hike back out to summon more help.

Here’s what you’ve got:
A top-of-the-line backpack with a nested, detachable water container, a sleeping bag, inflatable air mattress, two-man backpacking tent, a large towel, cook set, butane stove, camping food, and a basic first aid kit. You also have 40 feet of nylon rope, an elaborate Swiss Army knife (or Leatherman tool), a 25-foot roll of duct tape, a small Maglite-type flashlight, your trusty, 6-foot bamboo walking stick, and the bandanna around your neck. Any questions? Good, ’cause humanity awaits.

Send a detailed description of your MakeShift solution with sketches and/or photos to by October 27, 2006. If duplicate designs are submitted, the winner will be determined by the quality of the explanation and presentation. The most plausible and creative solutions will each win MAKE sweatshirt. Think positive and include your shirt size and contact information with your description. For rules and solutions to previous MakeShift challenges, visit

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

current: @adafruit - previous: MAKE, popular science, hackaday, engadget, fallon, braincraft ... howtoons, 2600...

View more articles by Phillip Torrone


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).