Location: The Catskill Mountains, New York State, USA
Price: $2199 USD per person
Duration: 5 days

Bear Grylls

“So many people have asked me over the years where they can learn extreme, practical survival – the type that requires spirit, determination and the skills to self-rescue against the odds, in some of the harshest terrain around. So it is with great pride that we can now finally launch the Bear Grylls Survival Academy to be able to share some of these skills and what it really means to be able to look after yourself when the chips are down,” says Bear Grylls. “Oh, and it may hurt a little.”

Survival in the Catskills is an intensive 5 day survival skills course which culminates in a challenging 36 hour expedition, putting your new found skills to the ultimate test. The course is delivered by a range of handpicked instructors who have been selected by Bear and his team of experts who work on the Man v Wild/Born Survivor crew and more recently on the Escape from Hell & Get out Alive Shows. Training is held is the Catskill Mountain Range in New York State.


Bear Grylls Survival Academy – Survival in the Catskills takes place at the YMCA, Frost Valley, Catskills Mountains, New York State. New York’s Catskill Mountains include one of the largest and most complex natural areas in the East. Round, forested mountains; narrow, winding valleys; rushing streams and rivers are features that attract many to the 600,000 acres of the Catskill Park.


This overview of a typical Catskill Mountains itinerary provides an insight into what you can expect from a Bear Grylls Survival Academy.

Day 1

The adventure begins at 1430pm with a chance to meet your course leaders and fellow participants, and to ensure you have all the items on the BGSA Kit List. We will then move to the academy’s wilderness base camp. On arrival you will set up your camp training area, receive a safety brief, course brief & outline and have a chance to talk about your specific requirements. You will then be issued with your personal training equipment, basic food rations and you will start the first of many survival sessions including the packing of expedition equipment, a Priorities of Survival lesson, followed by a knife skills session. After a late Alpine style supper, there will be a lesson on Astro Navigation and then its heads down in preparation for the next few days of full on Bear Grylls style adventure.

Day 2

Day two begins with a field physical training session followed by various survival core skills such as fire lighting, remote and improvised First Aid, knot tying and improvised harnesses and the practical use of snares, traps and drop out fishing lines. Then later, you’ll build your own emergency shelter, forage, find, prepare and cook some exciting wilderness food. You will learn to gut and skin and explore the art of sourcing, filtering and purifying water. The day concludes with a stalking stance and a night navigation exercise using Astro Navigation skills.

Day 3

Hopefully you’ll wake up dry and warm if you’ve built a good shelter! You’ll need to use your skills to make a fire from scratch, check the snares and drop lines. . . . have you caught anything for a ‘wilderness’ breakfast? After that we head out on the extreme Bear Grylls training adventure day. You will undertake navigation training and learn how to dynamically and safely ascend mountainous terrain using a variety of techniques. This is classic BG crossing of difficult ground. Mountain sides, gorges, rugged cliffs, craggy outcrops and fast moving white water is your training theatre for the day, so climb, swing, slide, jump and ride, it’s pure Bear Grylls.

Day 4/5

Final Exercise… let’s just say you’ll be putting all your new found skills to good use! You will be dropped off in a wild remote mountainous area with just some basics and an empty water canteen. From that point, you’re on your own as a team. Nothing you have ever done is even close to the adventure your about to go on. The aim: simple, survival and rescue.  You must navigate and bushwack your way through the forest to the 8th highest peak in the Catskills.  After locating a plane crash site, maybe you’ll find a safe camping area for the night that is clear of all the Catskills black bears.  You will need to get yourselves some clean water and maybe some food.  Hopefully you have a good strength of character and the will to succeed.  If you manage to get through the dense Catskill forest and rugged terrain in time, you will make your way back to civilization by going down a cascading waterfall –  BG style….  If you are successful and we make it back to base camp, we have the final passing out ceremony and the awarding of the BG Survival Academy certificates.  Your now “well used”  BG knives and the memories will be yours to keep.



As you would expect, the Bear Grylls Survival Academy is challenging both mentally and physically. So, in order to get the most out of the course, applicants should be fit and healthy.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I active?
  • Can I hike or trek for one hour in trekking boots carrying a light 20lb daypack?
  • Am I a competent swimmer?
  • Am I determined?

If you have any questions about Health and Fitness for the course, please contact our BGSA team.


Please note, all of the clothing and equipment that you bring MUST be appropriate to the environment and the time of year; the items listed below are mandatory.

  • 2 pairs of robust mountain boot or similar with ankle support
  • Lightweight Trousers
  • Base layer, mid layer and outer
  • Fleece
  • Lightweight Duvet Jacket
  • Hat and balaclava
  • Gloves x 2 pairs (1 x waterproof and 1 x thin/active)
  • Water and windproof trousers and jacket
  • Swimming shorts
  • Training shoes
  • Waterproof note book and pencil
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun Cream
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Casual clothes x 1
  • Wash bag and contents (toiletries)
  • Travel Towel
  • Personal medication
  • Camera (in a waterproof case/bag)

…and a bag full of positive attitude!

The following kit will be issued to participants by the Academy for use for the duration of the course:

  • 4 seasons sleeping bag and liner
  • Air Mattress/Camp bed
  • Head torch
  • 35ltr Ruck/Day Sack
  • Water Bottle and Mug
  • Bear Grylls Gerber Knife



Available course dates are listed in the booking form

This course is strictly limited to just 10 participants and costs just $2199 USD Per Person excluding flights and transfers. All meals and accommodation are included and a large amount of equipment is on loan for the duration of the course including: Knife, mug, sleeping bag and liner, sleeping mat, rucksack and liner, head torch, water bottle and all technical safety equipment. On completion of the course you will receive the coveted Bear Grylls Survival Academy badge and certificate, and your very own Bear Grylls Ultimate knife.

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