What You Missed on Ultimate Survival Alaska: River of Doom

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.

Saving Tyler
Saving Tyler

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!


  1. Darren
    February 10, 2014, 11:34 pm

    Tyler’s river mishap staged? Episode 9- river of doom. Check out the video! Tyler is see. Entering the river wearing a bright blue, self inflatable, life vest with a yellow rip cord handle. He slips, tries to grab the closest boulder, then is washed away. Up until grabbing the boulder, Tyler is wearing the life vest with his back pack on over it. As the camera angle switches, and all the subsequent river footage follows, the life vest is GONE!!!

  2. Marc R
    Los Angeles
    February 11, 2014, 9:35 pm

    I’m curious how these guys make such rookie mistakes? Why wouldn’t Tyler tie off to one of the guys so as not to get swept down the river? Or, do the boat trick again where he paddles the boat to the other side with a rope and sends the boat back and forth to his team mates? Also, how is it a disadvantage for the Military to have only 2 guys? Wouldn’t they move faster through obstacles? So many holes in this show. Why not just have these guys race? Let the drama unfold if something actually happens. Alaska is drama enough. Poor Producing…..

  3. W. Ellington
    February 16, 2014, 4:09 am

    This is not the only show that NatGeo is making that has obvious errors in it.
    Example: The Mick Dodge series. I was watching one episode on that show last night were old Dodge came across a women who’s truck stopped running on her. He claimed that there was corrosion on the battery terminal and knocked it off and the truck started right up. Unfortunately for the show there are 2 errors with that. A vehicle will not stop running unless your alternator or voltage regulator for the alternator has died if you have bad or a corroded battery terminal, in fact you can leave your truck or car running and take the battery cable off and it will keep running because the alternator is the only thing supplying electrical power if it is working correctly while the engine is running. An additionally, that terminal he was working on was not even corroded if you took the time to look closely at it…lol.
    I have been questioning the things that NatGeo is doing lately with some of these so called reality shows. Something stinks in the production area.

  4. Gary ODonnell
    February 16, 2014, 7:43 am

    This show continues to amaze me on lengths they will go to stage this show. We do you even begin with this episode? Tyler being swept away has to be one of the worst staged scenes of the entire season. There is absolutely no way he would be swept miles down the river and then be found in a bush in the river a few feet from shore. Give me a break. That was beyond stupid. I could continue but I think we all know there is nothing real with this show.

  5. kt mack
    February 16, 2014, 11:16 pm

    I missed show when military lost a member. Why were they not disqualified like the woodsman?

  6. SFC Toby
    February 19, 2014, 11:17 pm

    Seriously fake… The military guys have lost their map and broke their compass. Oh no!! What are they gonna do? Umm the good idea fairy tells me they need to use the Suunto Core watches they are wearing; since they have built in compasses. Seriously staged!

  7. Elen
    February 27, 2014, 4:42 pm

    Enjoying watching this show even though so much is staged. The minute the military man was holding the map I knew it was going to blow away. You can call all of the mishaps before they happen. Who wouldn’t know that teams would end up tied with 3 apiece?