May 02, 2013

Andy Bassich and Kate Rorke

Andy Bassich and Kate Rorke 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.

For Andy and Kate, Life Below Zero demands ingenuity. Flexible thinking and a flair for practical experimentation enables them to devise clever ways to make their lives richer. Explore more with the interactive companion,

Photograph by National Geographic Channel


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