Welcome to Alaska’s Six Mile Creek.
And don’t let the “creek” part fool you; the stream is one of Alaska’s most dangerous waterways, a ruthless gauntlet of rocks and whitewater. On leg four of Ultimate Survival Alaska, the four teams must choose whether to brave Six Mile Creek or traverse a grueling mountain pass. Then, the teams must brave Turnagain Arm, an ocean inlet known for tidal waves and deadly quicksand, to reach the LZ. If you thought Alaska’s snow and ice were its only geographical challenges, think again.
The challenge begins with a bang with a race across a gorge to the expedition maps, giving the teams the option of crossing slacklines hanging one hundred feet in the air, or braving the raging rapids below. The prize? Three boats to navigate the unforgiving “creek.”
1. Team Military
Desperately needing a win after four straight losses, Team Military jumps into this challenge with a newfound urgency. While the other teams ponder the best ways to cross the gorge, Military isn’t wasting any time. Foregoing the slack lines, the men rush to the edge and – yikes! – jump directly into the rapids below.
Military swims to the insertion flag first, and choose the big three-man raft over the two smaller, more tippy canoes. They head out into the turbulent waters of Six Mile Creek, where Jared, a former Navy SEAL, takes charge navigating his teammates safely through the massive whitewater. Battling successfully against the powerful currents, the team soon emerges into the lead.
2. Team Alaskans
After winning leg three, the Alaskans are feeling confident. After scoping out a good spot, the team plunges into the frigid river water at the same time as Team Military and swims to the insertion flag.
The team secures the last remaining boats, the two inflatable canoes. But when the team embarks down the deadly rapids, the unreliable canoes don’t treat them well, flipping and sending Tyler and Marty flying into the whitewater. Barely making it out unscathed, the team lashes their boats together and tentatively navigates the river through to the ocean.
3. Team Endurance
Coming off their first loss of the season, Team Endurance is looking to rebuild their momentum and regain the top spot. Faced with their first challenge, crossing the gorge, Endurance chooses a dryer option, pushing across the slack lines.
The dicey traverse takes longer than expected, and the team arrives third to the insertion flag. But missing out on the rafts isn’t a problem for Endurance, who decide to use their athleticism to their advantage. Their plan will take them climb high above the thick forest and through the mountain pass on foot, a plan that works until Mother Nature gets in the way. Endurance gets caught in a brutal storm, and the team becomes frustrated.
4. Team Lower 48
With three legs under their belt and no wins, the team is still looking for some unifying spirit. Pro kayaker Cluck is excited to see three boats available. But after losing time while crossing the slack lines over the canyon, Cluck watches Alaskans and Military swim to the rafts, knowing his team will have to walk. Lower 48 have missed the boat – literally.
The team resorts to taking the overland route, and Sweeney leads the charge through the lowlands. He’s an experienced mountaineer, and uses his knowledge of the land to avoid the massive storm that’s slogging down Team Endurance. But their progress comes to a screeching halt with the team is suddenly boxed in on either side by two raging rivers, and the team argues about how to traverse them. Sweeney isn’t pleased with their decision to forge the waters.
5. And the winner is…
On the final stretch, the Alaskans are first to arrive at the menacing Turnagain Arm, a forty-five mile long narrow inlet with some of the most extreme tides on Earth. By paddling right into the path of the incoming bore tide, they plan to ride the wave all the way to the LZ. But they lose the wave, and begin getting sucked backwards.
Meanwhile, the second-place Team Military is in a sticky situation. With the bore tide bearing down on them, the team attempted a land portage – right through some quicksand.
Both teams end up losing ground with their risky water crossings, making it a close race with all four teams racing on foot towards the flag. And while Team Lower 48 was disappointed they missed out on the canoes in the first challenge, their strategic land route propelled them to their first win.
Which team will win next? Don’t forget to make your predictions for each leg of the competition on our Survival Competition Tracker.