National Geographic Society

  • Connect:

Andy and Kate Bassich

Andy Bassich and his dogs take a break while deciding how to proceed with the jumble ice.

Andy Bassich (View larger version)

Photograph by 2012 BBC Worldwide Ltd.

Published

Andy Bassich and his wife Kate live on the Yukon River, where the only way in or out is by boat or snow machine. Andy moved to Alaska from Washington, D.C. after coming to explore the area, which he knew little about at the time. He spent two years living in Anchorage before moving to the Alaskan bush. When Andy first arrived, this was raw land. He built his life from scratch from a vision he had. To live and survive in the Alaskan bush, Andy learned to make something out of the raw materials provided to him from his environment.

Living miles off the grid, Andy and Kate run a survival and dog mushing school. They have 26 sled dogs. Together, Andy and Kate hunt, harvest, grow, and brew 80 percent of what they eat and drink — moose, black bear, caribou, wolf, salmon, mountains of vegetables, and beer. Andy’s nickname is MacGyver. Although they have solar power, they bathe in an outdoor steam bath and sauna that is heated by wood.

Andy's survival knowledge is largely self-taught and he will turn his hand to anything, whether it is making his own bullets, knives, brewing his own beer, or building his own house. Andy can skin and butcher a moose complete with just his Leatherman. His goal is to live off the grid with class, style, love, and comfort. Andy finds it satisfying that he develops, builds, and lives the life he wants.

Andy measures his quality of life by how much free time he has to do what he wants. To Andy, living in remote Alaska is the best place to be. He is passionate about his lifestyle and feels that he has achieved his dreams... and there is nowhere else he would rather live.

Dive Deeper:

See how ingenuity plays a major role in Andy and Kate's Life Below Zero.

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion. 

More of Andy and Kate's Life Below Zero

Photograph by National Geographic Channel

Explore what it really takes to live off-grid in this interactive companion. 
100 comments
Janet Culp
Janet Culp

I wanted to know how you went about installing your solar panels.  I'm wanting to have some installed where I live because electricity is becoming outrageous back here.  I enjoy the accomplishments you and your wife Kate have made at your homestead.  I had planned over 40 yrs ago to move to Alaska an train sled dogs also but fell in love and made my life here in West Virginia.  If you ever want to know what's going on back here, let me know and I'll send you some info.   Thanks,  Janet

Thomas Giella
Thomas Giella

It looks like the anti white male liberal types are after Andy Bassich. These folks live their lives differently than the way that the show's producers present things by piecing all of those film clips together.

Zippy Miller
Zippy Miller

I think Andy has read the blogs as his maltreatment of Kate has visibly lessened. Good on ya! Andy, Yes many have said Kate has chosen her lifestyle but some personalities get caught and many partners are good at finding victims. Andy Andy, why do you seemingly never maintain anything? Your estate looks like a bunch of unfinished projects, yet you keep building more. This is not being a good steward of the land. Why keep building toward the river when you know it will come back and bite you? Having all the rusting machines and tools lying around is a waste of resources. This is materialism at it's worst and in no way environmentally sound. In all fairness I have never heard you say you were an environmentalist or care about the environment.

Many bloggers have applauded Andy for his skills and Macgyverism, yet I constantly see him make errors when bldg. on one episode he could not even take an accurate measure before making a simple cut. From my view he has few skills. Siding is not on his buildings and the craftsmanship is nonexistent. If you think he has skills, you must have no construction experience!

This is just conjecture, but does anyone out here feel that Andy has gone thru Kate's money? How has he made money prior to being on LBZ? All this junk he buys cost mucho in Alaska. I know I lived in Barrow for a short time. His little survival school brings in very little. I cannot say for sure, but a lot of the people who go off-grid live on Govt money. So while we may all want this lifestyle why should others pay for it? Just a thought. On the pos side, Andy can be sweet at times.

Stuff McBudley
Stuff McBudley

 I don't get the dogs, I could see having one or two for pets, protection, warning, hunting... But good lord, that is a lot of dogs to keep fed... So why all the dogs? Why not have a couple snowmobiles and not have all those mouths to feed? For what you get out of the dogs, it just doesn't seem like a good return on the time and money you invest in keeping a hoard of them around, fed, exercised, etc.

troy bryant
troy bryant

with the resources you are In command of if you struggle in anyway its your a failure. you know the time frame of winter and all the natural recourses your provided no excuse you cant live comfortable thru the year what u running from in alaska

Christian La Salle
Christian La Salle

Kate is NOT a victim. She Chooses to be.there! What she Is a.victim of is the aweful.climate. Send her some moisturizer and hair products, for the love of God. How old is she? He is 54, her skin makes her look 70 !

Jacob VanBuskirk
Jacob VanBuskirk

Does anyone else just fast forward through this guy's segments? Just wondering if I'm alone. Haven't watched since he pulled the greenhouse wall down and blamed Kate. He's just so arrogant but such an idiot at the same time. And Kate displays classic battered spouse tendencies. Anyways, maybe he'll fall in the river.

Linda Brennan
Linda Brennan

I  wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your latest episodes on training Cody to survive in the Alaska wilderness.  It was really neat to see the different types of things you taught him, and he seemed to be very appreciative of it also.  I am anxious to see your upcoming episodes of training the sled dogs...... that should be another interesting and educational episode(s).  It's amazing how well you have adapted and survived as well as you have.....keep it up!  It's great to see you succeeding so well!

Robert Wagner
Robert Wagner

Andy, I love winter gear, your pull over shells/ coats look awesome. What is the manufacturer?

Rob

Robert Wagner
Robert Wagner

Andy, who is the manufacturer of the parkas you wear for your winter gear.

Thanks,

Rob

M M
M M

It does bother me to see Andy being so kind and supportive to the new dude that he is teaching, but totally ignore Kate and never say a kind word to her for all her hard work...

F Herald
F Herald

Of course, one might start by saying we should all mind our own business re Andy's temper, but what the heck ... Kate herself said she has never found anyone that makes her laugh harder or makes her feel more loved than Andy, so if she wants to take the very good with the very bad, that's clearly her prerogative. I know someone just like Andy, and I personally agree with Kate; I think it's all worth it. Fabulous show; enjoy all the people that are letting us live vicariously through their lives cuz frankly, I'd never have the guts to take it on!  All the best and continued success with the show.

Debbie Boyce
Debbie Boyce

ANDY. Abusive husband of Kate. So many Viewers complaining about his treatment of Kate, now threatening to Stop watching the Show! Hear that Producers?  When has Nat Geo ever had another Show, that a single Person on it, is so Disliked, that it becomes it's own Subjuct?! LOOK at how Many Comments on nearly EVERY site that discusses this Show! Andy needs 'Help'. Kate needs it MORE! Maybe- as one person commented, Andy will 'see' how Absuive He IS--and Kate will 'see' People Support Her and want her to Know, How Andy Treats her is WRONG/ABSUIVE. Yes. Really. As someone said:  If Andy had DIED when he fell through the Ice a little while back-Would He be 'Missed & Mourned'? -OR-Would People, esp Kate, Be 'Secretly' Relieved-the 'Abuse', 'Walking on Egg-Shells' Life, 'Putting on a Daily BRAVE, Smiling '-'Face'...be FINALLY--OVER!?  I think the last Question really says it all.  So SAD. So True.  I am PRAYING Kate will find Herself-Stronger & Healthier SOON, Andy will Reform and Everyone who 'Defends Andy ' and other abusive People-Get to walk in the Shoes of the 'Victims' for no less than a Year. THEN come back and let's see if Your 'Views' have Changed.   GOD bless those that Need HELP. 

Ron Van Dyke
Ron Van Dyke

AtAt first I thought Andy was just a hot head. But after seeing the last program with the new guy you are teaching .I see a whole different side t you. Patient, and a good teacher. And also so cleaver and smart. I never miss a program.  OH how do your dogs survive outside in the cold? I know the get heavy coats but what about their paws? Good luck and stay warm and dry. 

M M
M M

Andy says stuff like 'when you live alone...' and 'when you have to do things by yourself' - when Kate is standing right next to him, working. It's surreal...

Nancy Meeks
Nancy Meeks

While I abhor abuse of any kind, I'd rather someone scream obscenities at me before I cut my arm off with a chainsaw than after ... wouldn't you? And after 3 years of watching this show, I have never really found Andy's behavior that objectionable. He obviously loves Kate and together they take on a very difficult lifestyle under extreme conditions in which he exhibits greater experience and therefore the one to lead in the various projects they take on. This show allows me to fantasize about living this lifestyle, but if I'm realistic, it is something I could never do.  More power to everyone who appears on this show - a pleasure to watch, something to dream about!

Jon Kaplan
Jon Kaplan

Hi Andy,

Just saw the show for the first time…fantastic!!!!!

I have a question: In the episode you were wearing a OD green anorak with a fur collar…..just like the one I've been searching for!! Who is it made by???

thanks

Jon

Jon Kaplan
Jon Kaplan

Hi Andy,

Just saw the show for the first time…fantastic!!!!!

I have a question: In the episode you were wearing a OD green anorak with a fur collar…..just like the one I've been searching for!! Who is it made by???

thanks

Jon

Pamela Smith
Pamela Smith

It's clear Andy is a know-it-all, my-way-or-the-highway jerk and abuser.  Ever notice how everything he says is "me" and "mine"?  Rarely does he say "us" or "kate and I".   Totally the opposite with Kate.  She's great.  Can we PLEASE have less of Andy and MORE of Kate?  This season has TOO much of him and TOO little of Kate.

Ella Preuninger
Ella Preuninger

Love Kate and Andy, he is amazing but would like to see more of Kate's contributions to their life. Great show, we never miss an episode.

Pete Pemantell
Pete Pemantell

Really looking forward to you building your new home in the future, 

T Sprinkle
T Sprinkle

Andy and Kate, you two are my Favorites on Life Below Zero. Albeit this is my 1st Season watching the Show,  but Andy is quite respectful of Kate and vice-versa. Kate, you should write a Cookbook for those in Alaska and Canada. It was interesting to hear you say how certain fat in the Moose was good for Baking. Andy, my utmost respect to You for shooting that Beaver right above the eye and then you take a fishing pole to get it out of the water! WOW! Skill, pure patience, ingenuity and skill.  Love your Property and the fact that you'll keep it excellent condition. You don't leave it looking like a Junk Yard. Even with all your beautiful dogs, your property is well kept. Love you Kate you're my Heroine. As a female, it's unfathomable to me the amount of work you do 365 days a year. What do you grow in your garden?  What does Bear tastes like? Thank You! Trish

JOY K.
JOY K.

     Correct me if I'm wrong but this program is about LIVING in a harsh environment and how different people cope with this life style, NOT about Andy's and Kate's personal issues. The judgement of their personal treatment of each other is not why i watch the show but to see how these families work together in an unfriendly area.  


I have had first hand experience about abuse and it's not pretty.  Getting out of one is very, very difficult and if Kate is miserable knowing that what has been televised should give her enough documentation to get out of it.  It is too bad everyone who has had abuse in their life doesn't have national proof to help curb abuse how much better our world would be.  If Kate wants to change her life I believe that she would leave Andy.


Why don't you watch the show with that in mind and stop getting upset with their issues. Surely, being on camera is stressful enough.  Who knows maybe the roles are reversed when the cameras are not rolling.


I am not condoning anything, I am watching it to see the life styles of different  people.


I also agree I would like to see more of each individual. Too much time on this because I do not know what each person agreed to when signing up.


JOY K.
JOY K.

Andy, 

Read that you came from DC area. I lived in Northern VA and understand why you left. Since you are good at creating things, have you ever considered giving occasional lectures on how to TRULY repurpose things? Admire what you and Kate do.

Bobo Uzala
Bobo Uzala

Hi Andy,


I really enjoy watching Life Below Zero.  You do an excellent job with your home and taking care of everything!  I like to watch how you come up with all kinds of solutions to building and fixing things with what you have on hand.  You are an inspiration to guys and gals everywhere! 


Kate, you are awesome!  Not only are you really pretty, you do a great job with all the little tasks around the house.  It's best that you listen to Andy and do what he tells you because he's got a lot of backwoods experience.  You do a great job of assisting Andy, keep that up and you'll have a better chance of surviving in Alaska!

E O
E O

Kate would benefit from reading Lundy Bancroft's book:  Why does he do that...Inside the minds of angry and controlling men.

She is an abused woman.  My heart goes out to her.  Abusers often target people of good conscience and compassion and empathy.  She must be an incredible woman to have maintained her spirit despite the disgusting behaviors Andy unleashes and dumps on her.  I am sure he THINKS he is a "real man".


Cynnie C.
Cynnie C.

Dear Andy and Kate. I love you guys,

Thank you both for allowing us to take a small

Peek into your lives. Your pups are awesome !!

Kate I understand Andy's frustrations and his venting.

No one is perfect, no one. People need to learn that.

If you don't like it, walk away and don't watch!

Kate wears her big girl panties and can take it.

Personally, if that's Andy's only issue, Go Andy!!

The both work hard to live in their perfect home.

But if Andy wasn't there, Kate wouldn't be there.

Xoxo to Kate & Andy

Cynnie

Lucy Loo
Lucy Loo

I am shocked at those defending Andy's abusive behavior. They have no idea about domestic violence. To say Kate is a grown woman and can leave if she wants proves this fact. I suggest they research they psychology of battered woman's syndrome. I don't fast forward Andy's segment because I love to see Kate smiling beautifully in spite of Andy. Yelling, controlling, starving and depriving basic needs is the same as physical abuse. What disturbs me most is, if this is how he behaves on camera. I shutter to think of how he treats her when he's not on his best behavior. IT'S NEVER OK MISTREAT OR DISRESPECT ANYONE AT ANY TIME!!!

Kate M.
Kate M.

I just finished watching the premiere episode of the new season.  Was blown away by how fantastic your fishing boat works and how many fish you catch.  Loved viewing the entire process from beginning to end but would love to know how many days it actually took.  Always wondered about those frozen fish the dogs eat.  ADORE your dogs.  They're treated well and are lucky to have you.  ...and vice versa!


I enjoy your show.  Love you two.  Thanks for letting us take a peek into your lives.. 

Yolanda Pomposello
Yolanda Pomposello

Whenever Andy is on the show I fast forward on my DVR until he is gone.   What a jerk.

Lynn Manderson
Lynn Manderson

I usually watch all of this show, and enjoy most of what I see. However, I will now be excluding any part of the show that includes watching this man "Andy" treat his intelligent wife Kate, as if she is one of his dogs! Anyone can have a bad day, but that seems to be the norm for him, and taking his frustrations out on this woman is not my idea of entertainment. He is disrespectful to her, first of all as his wife, and secondly, as another human being trying to live in such a challenging environment. She works very hard too, and I don't hear her degrading and verbally abusing him. I am afraid to think of how he treats her off camera, if this is what he shows the viewers. I repeat, This is Not Entertainment.

Gary Hoskins
Gary Hoskins

Thought this was more about Andy and "Kate". Need to balance the info here, Kate is an equal partner, where is she from what's her story?

judy isbell
judy isbell

I do not like the way he speaks to his wife!

Ella Preuninger
Ella Preuninger

With all the negative comments about Andy, I have to say he is THE hardest worker I have ever seen. Please work a little harder at keeping your temper in check.  Aside from everything else, it is not HEALTHY!!! Love you guys.

k oconn
k oconn

Andy is a jerk and a bully.  He needs anger management classes.  I'd just love to see Kate speak up and put him in his place which is not far from the outhouse!

Gueneth Johnson
Gueneth Johnson

PPeople who critize about how Andy speaks to Kate never spent 24?7 working 10n1 with there husband. When Andy looses his temper he is not yelling at Kate his wife he is yellinfg at the guy who is helping him and not the woman he loves.I know because my husband an I moved to maine and built a house and a campgroung. We,ve been married 55 years.Been there done that !

Pithole Hermit
Pithole Hermit

@Thomas Giella Actually if you have watched the show, Andy IS very liberal.  AND he is a jerk to anyone with open eyes regardless of what politics you think are involved.  And I am very conservative and Andy's behavior is just wrong and hopefully he is not representative of white males.  Not like me or anyone that I know.

Christian La Salle
Christian La Salle

Nobody is a victim here. Kate Chooses to be there. More importantly, feel bad for that woman's Skin and.hair !, Dear.God send her some moisturizer and hair products ! Anyone know her age? He is 54, that arctic climate makes her look 70 !

Gus Gilliland
Gus Gilliland

@Lucy Loo  wow you are awesome. you never have a bad day or have a laps in good sense, you never curse and act with poor judgement. Lucy how do you do it. the planet i live on has all kinds of people that act poorly most of the time and they do it in private and public. most of the time they don't even know they have offended. Your planet must be far more advanced than earth. 

E O
E O

@Lucy Loo I am so with you.  Kate is an abused woman and Andy is an abuser.  I agree with you that if this is how he behaves on camera (abusers generally hide their behavior from others wanting to look like great people to outsiders) I shudder too.

If he does not beat on her but instead on other things she may not realize that she is a battered women. 


E O
E O

@Lynn Manderson Lynn this man is an abuser.  I agree that his behaviors are disgusting.  Perhaps with others pointing out that they "SEE" him, he will face himself his issues and make amends to his incredible wife who has privileged him with her love.

E O
E O

@Gary Hoskins Really have you noticed how he speaks/treats his wife.  She is not an equal partner.  She is his punching bag.

E O
E O

@Ella Preuninger Andy does not have a problem keeping his temper in check, he does so when it is convenient for him.  He is an abuser who has a hard time keeping the abuse in check since he feels it is his privilege to dump on his wife. 

E O
E O

@Ella Preuninger Unless you have a lot of experience with people who are caught in abuse, you can not understand how difficult it is to leave once the trap has been sprung.  Many women(primarily)  and men alike have lost their lives in this very endeavor.

Lucy Loo
Lucy Loo

Your standards are pitifully low if you believe it's okay to be abusive just because you're with a spouse 24/7. No thanks. I prefer a loving, kind and patient husband and I'd accept nothing less.