Bill Qualls' Wilderness Survival Page

Sorry about the dead links. These files were recently moved to a new ISP, and with that ISP all URLs are case-sensitive. I am in the process of converting the links. In the meantime, some links won't work. Please return soon!

2 14 08
Welcome to my home page. This page is dedicated to all things outdoors, especially wilderness survival. My motivations for this page are mostly selfish: I want a place to record my adventures - past, present, and future. Nevertheless, I hope you find some enjoyment here.

Be sure to check out my Readers' Contributions page! I hope to hear from you too!

What's new 2013
Lots of time spent training for another attempt at the HST and JMT in August.
What's new 2012
A busy year...not enough dirt time...
What's new 2011
I have been asked why I haven't been updating my page. Well, with work, grad school, and teaching, I just haven't been out much. But big things are coming in August...
What's new 2010
I began this year having been reborn as a SAS consultant. I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way, and I look forward to seeing what else God has planned for me.

Not a lot of activities this year, as I have gone back to school. I am working on a Masters degree in Predictive Analytics at DePaul University. I am also teaching Business Statistics there as an adjunct.
What's new 2009
I think a lot of people are happy to say goodbye to 2009. What a strange year. Finished my third masters degree but ended the year without a full time job. Still I am more blessed than most. I had a pretty good year: the proof is in the pictures.
What's new 2008
The big news for 2008 is a job change. I am now a Senior Associate (read: old employee) for Utilities International. I am Java developer. Hopefully my new job will afford me the opportunity to return to California more often.
What's new 2007
What's new 2006
I was in New Jersey for business in 2006, so I made a couple of trips to the Delaware Water Gap for short jaunts on the Appalachian trail.
What's new 2005
I took a lengthy vacation during the summer of 2005 including
What's new 2004
In July and August 2004 I went to Phoenix on business. There's some great hiking in the Phoenix area. If you are traveling to Phoenix, be sure to pick up Best Easy Day Hikes: Phoenix by Stewart M. Green. I managed to complete many of the hikes in Green's book. Go here for photos and reports.
What's new 2004
Having finished my first trip to Phoenix, I drove north to the Prescott area to attend Cody Lundin's Provident Primitive survival course. Go here for photos and report.
What's new 2004
After leaving Cody, I drove to the Grand Canyon and hiked from the south rim to the river and back. Go here for photos and report.

On my way back to Phoenix I stopped at Montezuma Castle National Park.

What's new 2004
In May 2004 I spent five days hiking 48 miles in the Angeles National Forest, completing the Gabrielino National Recreation Trail and hiking over Mt. Wilson. Go here for trip report and photos.

One week later I hiked the High Desert National Recreation trail. Go here for trip report and photos.

Finally, two days later I climbed Mt. Baldy. Go here for trip report and photos.

About me
I got my start with the outdoors through the Boy Scouts of America. I am a veteran of Troop 688 in Whittier, California. I am an Eagle Scout and a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow. The photo is of me at my Eagle Court of Honor in 1972! I have completed National Camp School and Woodbadge training. ("I used to be an Owl; a good old Owl too...!")

Go here for some old photos.

Survival Training
My first formal training in wilderness survival came in 1976 when I attended BYU's three week survival course. Later that summer I was invited back as a student instructor for that course twice. Since that time I have attended other survival courses in Arizona, California, Idaho, Ohio, Utah and Washington.
Ahwahnee Survival Camp
I had the privilege of serving on the staff at Ahwahnee Scout Reservation, Orange County Council BSA, in 1972, 1977, and 1978. During the summer of 1978 I was the director of the Ahwahnee Survival Camp. This was an alternative summer camp for Boy Scouts, patterned after my experiences at BYU.
That summer I ran 5 one-week survival courses. 83 boys and men participated in the program. 30 years later it remains a cherished memory! Go here for more information. The picture at the right was taken during one of those courses: I am cooking a rattlesnake where the Pacific Crest Trail meets Deep Creek. Sadly, scouting has been watered down so much I doubt a course like this would be allowed today. Regardless, it wouldn't happen at Ahwahnee because the camp was sold the following year.
Hoods Woods
In 1978 I took a semester-long survival course at UCLA. It was taught in a lecture hall. Nevertheless, it was very worthwhile. It was taught by Ron Hood. He's one of the best! Then in June 2000 I attended a one week field course taught by Ron and his lovely wife Karen. This course was conducted in the River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. Go here for trip report and photos.
Hoodlums Survival Forum
Ron and Karen Hood host the Hoodlums Survival Forum. I spend way too much time there! Lots of information and lots of fun. Go here to check it out! The photo at the left is me with fellow Hoodlums Dude McLean, Father Mike, and Thayne Young. What a handsome bunch, huh?
Eric Stoskopf
Eric Stoskopf is another great Hoodlum. I met Eric while attending the Hoods' course in Idaho. Eric is widely recognized for his imagination and ingenuity. Go here to enjoy Eric's online journal.
Bill Hay
Bill Hay is another great Hoodlum. Like Eric, I met Bill while attending the Hoods' course in Idaho. Bill spent some time showing me some of the finer points of trapping. Go here to enjoy Bill's ramblings and rhetoric.
Backpacking in California
I grew up in Southern California, and despite having lived in Illinois since 1979, I still consider myself a Californian. To this day, most of my backpacking takes place there, usually in the San Gabriel mountains. Go here to read my hike reports.
On one such hike...
While hiking in the Angeles National Forest in February 2003, I had the opportunity to witness the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department rescue a hiker with a broken leg.
My daughter Emma
My youngest daughter, Emma, has been on many adventures with me. In this photo she is eating cactus in the Arroyo Seco while on a four day backpacking trip in the San Gabriel mountains. Go here for reports from our outings together.
Hiking in Colorado
My work took me to Denver for much of the last quarter of 2002. I certainly made the most of my time there as I managed to go hiking nine times! Go here to read my hike reports, as well as for other useful links about hiking in the Denver area.
Christopher Nyerges
The photo at the left is me with Dude McLean and Christopher Nyerges. Christopher is one of the most respected wilderness survival instructors alive today. He runs day long survival walks in the San Gabriel mountains almost every weekend. I try to attend one of his walks whenever I get back to Southern California.
Alan Halcon
This photo is me with Alan Halcon, also known to many of us as "The Fire God" due to his uncanny ability to start a fire with the hand drill quickly and with just about any kind of wood. He even did it with lambsquarter, which most of us consider nothing more than a weed! Well, Alan has started a new e-biz with a tremendous selection of survival related books and supplies, as well as survival instruction. Check out Alan's new business at
David Wendell
This photo is David Wendell, sitting with his daughter Rachel at his perpetual fire pit. Survival skills is more than a pasttime for David and his wife Tam: they live these skills. David and Tam have put many instructional videos up on YouTube. Go here to see their videos (if you have trouble finding the videos, enter "Bushcraftonfire" in YouTube's search engine.) Go here for David's survival page.
Survival Info: Fire
Speaking of fire...Firemaking is an essential skill for anyone who ventures into the outdoors. Find more information here:
Survival Info: Shelter
Shelter not only provides protection from the elements, but also serves as a base of operations and provides a boost to morale against the deteriorating effects of "noises in the night." Go here for more information on survival shelters.
Survival Info: Projects
Here is a list of survival-related projects I have either done or am planning to do:
Rik Palm Knives
I can't explain why I like knives, but I sure do! This knife was custom made by Rik Palm. I told Rik I wanted a small, non-tactical neck knife with a sparking rod and this is what he came up with. Rik does excellent work. His Fire Genie© is very popular. Go here for Rik's site.
George Millard Knives
My friend George Millard produces hammer-forged knives in his backyard. He also stitches high quality sheaths. You have to hold a hammer forged knife to appreciate one. Each is unique, and a little bit of the maker goes into each blade. Go here to see more examples of George's work.You can contact George at
TOPS Knives
Tactical Operations, or TOPS, makes outstanding knives for the serious outdoorsman. Their quality is unsurpassed. Mike and Helen Fuller are well respected by all of their customers for their outstanding customer service. A good chopper, such as the TOPS Anaconda 7 shown here, is extremely important in preparing a fire in wet and/or cold conditions: you'll need to get at the dry heart wood inside the wood you gather. This knife will get into anything! Go here to see the Anaconda in use. Go here for TOPS' site.
Vector's Hawks
My friend Vector makes outstanding hawks using proprietary technologies. The handles are longer than usual. Longer handles means less power required on your end, while delivering more power on the receiving end. Very light weight yet virtually indestructible. And if you'd like, it can be customized to your specifications. Go here for more information.

"If you refuse to be a coward, sooner or later you will be a hero." ~Vec

Geneva Troop 5
For several years I was an assistant scoutmaster for BSA Troop 5 in Geneva, Illinois. I still join the troop on their outings occasionally. Go here for reports of troop activities.
Tae Kwon Do
I began tae kwon do in September 2001. I was never particularly good at it, but I did enjoy it. I sustained a knee injury in October 2004 and had to give it up, but not before earning my black belt. I met some good people in TKD including Matt, Gordy and Mark shown here. Go here for more photos.
I have only done a couple of long bike rides. I would like to do more, but my butt just gets so darn sore!
My professional life
In my other life, I am a SAS and Java programmer for North Carolina-based First Analytics. I love my job.

In a former life I was Vice President of Curriculum and Instruction for Caliber Data Training in Chicago. I would develop and deliver information technology courses for corporate clients.

Go here to see my resume and here to see a list of courses I have taught.
I am the author of Mainframe Assembler Programming, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-24993-9. This book is now out of print. It is now available online here. I have also written a number of technical articles that can be found at
Mathematics and Statistics
I have an MBA in Information Systems from Keller Graduate School of Management and an MS in Applied Math from DePaul University. I was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Waubonsee Community College for two and a half years. My favorite subject is probability.
Northern Illinois University
I attended Northern Illinois University from January 2006 to August 2008. I earned an MSEd in Instructional Technology. My daughter Hannah is a music education major there, and we often met for dinner or a malt before my classes. This photo is from our first NIU football game in October 2006.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormons. This is a photo of my daughters Cora, Hannah, and Emma in front of a statue of Brigham Young. This statue is in the statuary of the Capital building in Washington D.C. To learn more about my church, visit

Other Survival Links Other Miscellaneous Links

Copyright © 2014 by Bill Qualls. Last updated 14-Aug-2014. email me at