WARNING SPOILERS! If you haven’t watched episode three, stop reading now!
In the third leg of Season Two, the teams are dropped into Turner Lake at a remote corner of Tongass National Forrest. Once across the lake, the teams will have cross thick forest, waterfalls, and navigate the rough open waters of Steven’s Passage to reach the extraction landing zone on Admiralty Island.
Endurance is still smarting from not having a win and determined to grab and keep a lead in this leg. It’s a nice thought, but Military finds an immediate advantage. Using a trek pole and snow shoes to make a third paddle, the extra manpower gives them a narrow lead.
The Woodsmen decide to take it slow and easy, banking on the fact that another team might make a disastrous decision that gives them the lead. (And maybe jinxed themselves by saying this.) Mountaineers, in last place, decide it’s more important to wet a fishing line and energize with some protein. Fortunately, they can do it from the shore. It would be best if Marty to didn’t shoot another boat. Meanwhile, they aren’t the only ones worrying about keeping their boats in one piece.
Endurance is staring down a canoe-smashing waterfall. Dallas decides to rappel down first, setting a line to send down the canoe. Easing down the seventy foot drop while being pummeled by water is no easy feat. The team watches in horror as Dallas takes a slip and has a bad fall. Fortunately, Dallas is close to the bottom and when he finds himself unscathed, shakes it off.
Meanwhile, Military takes a big gamble on one of the waterfalls. Rather than lower the canoe down, Rudy suggests they throw it over to save time. It may be the only way to regain the lead, so Jared and Grady think good thoughts and chuck the canoe, which amazingly survives whole.
On Day Two Endurance holds onto first place with Military bringing in a close second. The Woodsmen are in third, but use their pack rafts to make an outrigger for the canoe, giving it more stability for ocean paddling. With a solid canoe, they are looking like they’ll quickly catch up. Military, looking to scout a route to Steven’s Passage, sends Grady up a steep cliff for a bird’s eye view. His slow and careful climb takes time they don’t have to lose, which becomes apparent when they realize that The Mountaineers are paddling up fast. Grady makes a split second decision to leap from the cliff into the water. (Just watching it will make you shiver.) He swims for the boat and for a moment they stay ahead.
Day Three leaves the four teams in a tight race to the extraction point. First place Endurance and second place Moutaineers are taking a longer, but faster route to the LZ while close behind, third place Military and fourth place Woodsmen take a direct but difficult route through dense forest. Unfortunately for Endurance, the tide takes one of their paddles. Going in circles won’t get them anywhere, so they find a piece of driftwood that they craft into a makeshift second paddle and hit the water.
The Woodsmen are quickly taking the lead on the way to the LZ with their gussied up canoe. They are the first to hit Admiralty Island. However, the dense forest they choose to bushwhack through proves too much for Jimmy. He takes a nasty fall, twisting his knee so badly that he can no longer walk. The team agonizes over what to do, but there is no choice but to call for Jimmy to be extracted. There are hugs and tears, but we all know that it’s game over for The Woodsmen.
Floundering with their makeshift paddle, The Endurance Team watches in frustration as The Mountaineers blast past. Using their lead, The Mountaineers are the first to an old railroad cart which they use to speed their canoe to the other side of the mountains. Endurance has the same plan, Sean can run ahead and bring back the cart. Sean is not amused that Marty has hidden the cart in the brush, but at least he finds it.
It looks like it could be any of the remaining three team’s race, but it’s The Military who gets the bear barrel full of snacks and takes first place. The Mountaineers pull up close behind. Endurance arrives with only minutes to spare and plenty of frustration in third.
As the plane arrives, the teams realize that The Woodsmen aren’t going to make it, but Alaska is hard and unforgiving place. Marty notes that it’s a humble reminder that any of them could be taken off the board at any time.
So will the remaining three teams survive the next leg? With the competitors facing jagged peaks, snow-covered glaciers and deadly canyon crossings, anyone could make a mistake. Tune in to Ultimate Survival Alaska: Climb From Hell on Sunday, January 5 9PM et/pt and don’t miss it!