As the eleventh leg of Ultimate Survival Alaska wraps, the three remaining teams are still fighting to be the winner. The score is tied up and the teams are giving it all they’ve got. They will all battle 20 miles of deadly white water rapids to reach the Cook Inlet where they will paddle kayaks across 15 miles of open ocean. Their final feat will be to climb Mt. Augustine, a 4,000 foot volcano. Whoever makes it first takes the title.
Spoiler Alert!! If you want to wait to find out who won Ultimate Survival Alaska, stop reading now!
The Mountaineers are in last place, but as Team Alaska and with native experience, they are confident they can catch up. Meanwhile, Military and Endurance are neck and neck racing down the river. When the river splits, the teams have to make a quick decision, though. With no way to know which is the easier or the faster route, Military goes right and Endurance goes left.
Military is in first place and has chosen the route that they think is the safest, but in minutes, they are in class three rapids. Grady flips his pack raft, forcing Jared to pull off the river and look for his teammate. Endurance, however, is having a smooth fast ride.
Mountaineers also choose to go right and are soon facing the same perilous rapids. The team makes it through, but spots Grady hanging from a log the side of the river, trying to keep his head above the water. Mountaineers quickly mobilize to give him a hand. Tyler paddles over and drags him out of the water. Grady is in stage one hypothermia and they have to build a fire and warm him up. Jared is a quarter mile down the stream and is relieved to catch up with his teammate. The two teams are now tied for last, but at least their debts are even. (It wasn’t that long ago that Military rescued Tyler!)
Endurance, in first, has time to spare and pauses to catch salmon and pack on some protein before the ocean crossing and the climb. In second now, The Mountaineers are also fueling up on fish. Exhausted, the Military immediately hit the sack and rest up.
On the final day, with 11 hours left, everyone shifts into high gear. Endurance is the first to get the sea kayaks, followed by the Mountaineers. Military is less than thrilled to be there last, but after three hours of paddling, they close in on the other two teams. All three teams are going to hit the shore at the same the time.
At the shore, the teams ditch everything they don’t need on this final hike. They also size up their strengths and weaknesses. Endurance knows that Eddie is their weakest link, but they are ready to give him all the support he will need. Eddie makes the amazing confession that five years ago he weighed 320 pounds. That may be true, but if he could overcome that hurdle in order to participate in this incredible race, surely he won’t fail his team.
Marty admits that his age makes him the Mountaineers’ weakest link, but he will use his mountain climbing skills to their best advantage. Military and Endurance take a more gradual climb up while the Mountaineers take a direct and much steeper route.
Military is quickly losing the lead to their biggest rivals, Endurance, but will Eddie be able to keep up their pace? Moutaineers are making good time as well with Marty feeling confident. They surge into the lead in their direct route, but the hike is getting more treacherous. Then they hit a disappointing setback. Marty’s knee gives out and the guys know that their focus is now going to be not to win, but to finish.
Endurance and Military are still in a dead heat, but Military doesn’t have the energy of their well-fed rivals. Eddie is keeping a steady pace as everyone makes the final push to the end. Hiking into the clouds and reaching the peak, Endurance reaches the LZ first, taking the win as the Ultimate Alaskan Survivors.
The celebration doesn’t end with Endurance though. Military is fast behind and the Mountaineers are proud to finish. In the end, everyone is a survivor and a winner. It was an astounding competition and they all may be rivals, but they are also now best of friends. (Although Military wants a rematch!)