In leg eight of Ultimate Survival Alaska, the teams trek through dense alder thickets, fjord the roaring Coal Creek and scale a 600-foot rock fall to reach the extraction landing zone at Twin Falls. This leg, Grady and Jared are facing a new challenge. Team Military is down a man and an important asset after Rudy broke his ankle at the end of the last leg. It won’t be easy. There are still four legs to go.
The Mountaineers bushwhack through the alders, heading for the closest crossing point of Coal Creek as possible. At the river’s edge, searching for a safe path across the river, nothing is looking passable. It looks like class three rapids, which are incredibly dangerous, but Tyler wants to do try a crossing anyway. He’s tired of bushwhacking. The rest of his teams tries to talk him out of it, but Tyler steps into the river. Within a couple of steps in, he loses his footing and is swept down the river, leaving his team yelling after him until he’s out of sight.
Check out Tyler getting swept away:
Once the Military finally hit the river, they stumble on The Mountaineers who are still looking for Tyler. Mountaineers have been walking the river for a mile without any sign of him and Military joins them. There is no way Military is going to leave a man behind. Unaware of the ongoing manhunt, Endurance pulls ahead, hitting the river at a reasonable crossing point and forging on.
It’s been hours and the other two teams are still looking for Tyler. They find his pack, but still don’t see him. Their concern is deepening. Military builds a signal fire, hoping he’s safe and will see the smoke. However, Tyler never shows up. Military puts out the fire and goes back to searching the river.
While Endurance is moving forward, the other two teams keep looking. Tyler is likely wet and possibly freezing to death. Things are looking incredibly bleak when at last Military spot a blue shirt. Tyler is alive, but crumpled up against the edge of the river, delirious with stage-three hypothermia. They warm Tyler up and signal for The Mountaineers.
With Tyler safe, the two teams start the race back up and part ways. Mountaineers give Tyler a chance to rest. Military decides to move through the night and by morning have closed much of the gap between them and Endurance.
Meanwhile, Endurance is starving for protein. Eddie, depending on his Inupiat bag of tricks, pulls a bit of polar bear fur out to use as a fishing lure. (Check out Eddie making his lure.) The fur is from a bear that Eddie hunted with his own hands, of course. And he hasn’t wasted a bit of it. His fancy lure pays off when he catches the team a grayling.
Walking all night, Military is getting disoriented in the brush and Grady’s compass is broken. Salvaging the polarized disk from the compass, they float it in a cap of water to get general bearings. Fortunately, they were going the right way and haven’t lost any time.
On day three, Endurance keeps their lead, but Military is in striking distance. With two hours left on the clock The Mountaineers are desperately behind and decide to take a shortcut through a treacherous swamp so that they don’t miss the extraction. It pays off as the team pulls forward.
All three teams hit the final push, a steep climb to the extraction. Between their shortcut and mountain climbing skills, somehow The Mountaineers not only take the lead, but the win, with Endurance just barely behind them. Military may have lost, but getting Tyler back and safely to the finish makes everyone feel like winners.
There are only three legs left and any of the three teams could still take the win. Keep your eye on the leaderboard, vote for your favorite team and tune in next week February 16 at 9PM et/pt to Ultimate Survival Alaska: Bear Kingdom!