In this week’s Ultimate Survival Alaska doubleheader episode, the teams battle thorns and tundra to claim another win. The teams will attempt to bushwhack, packraft and horseback-ride their way to the flags, battling injuries and infighting along the way. With the competition’s halfway mark behind them, which team can maintain their momentum into the competition’s later challenges?
In leg six, teams are inserted into the heart of Alaskan gold country for some bushwhacking through a thorny gauntlet of devil’s club, a spiky plant that plagues hikers throughout Alaska. After navigating through the thorns, the teams will cross Glacier Creek and trek through historic gold rush territory to reach the LZ at an old mine.
1. Endurance: First to reach the insertion flag, Dallas grabs two machetes and leads Endurance through a tough stretch of devil’s club. When they reach the alpine, mountain expert Ben takes charge. He charts a route across a high ridge. Everything is going to plan until the team gets cliffed out late in the day. With no way down to the forest below, the team takes shelter in a crack between rocks. As time ticks off the clock, Endurance faces the threat of elimination as they desperately search for a way off the high mountain. A fallen tree trunk looks like their best bet.
2. Alaskans: Arriving second to the flag, the Alaskans have the most experience navigating the thick rainforest. The team powers through the nasty throng of devil’s club, while the team members take advantage of their knowledge of the terrain. Marty tries his luck with his signature gold pan, and Vern cooks the devil’s club into a nutritious stew. On the final day, the team comes across an old miners cable strung across a raging river, and taking a gamble, they decide to traverse it.
3. Military: Riding the momentum from their first win in leg five, Military reaches the flag third and marches straight for the peaks above. Charging through the pain, the team pushes through the devil’s club. Arriving first at the crest of the mountains, they face a steep descent on the opposite side. Rather than attempt a long, slow hike down the slope, the team leaps straight down, sliding down the grassy incline on their backsides.
When they reach the river canyon, the men head for a cache of packrafts. Launching into the rapids, the team is far ahead of the others, until Jared’s boat pops, slowing them down significantly.
3. Lower 48: After five tumultuous legs, the team begins this challenge on the brink of collapse. Sweeney is fed up with his team’s lack of communication, and with Kasha and Cluck leading the way, the team is surrounded thick devil’s club before long. That night Sweeney goes rogue, announcing he will hike to the extraction flag on his own. It’s a big gamble for the team; Sweeney will have to navigate alone in bear country, and if they don’t all make it to the LZ before extraction, the team will be eliminated.
5. And the winner is…
Jared’s boat may have sprung a leak mid-river, but with the other teams struggling with their own challenges, Team Military is still able to maintain their momentum. They reach the flag first, winning their second leg in a row.
The seventh leg of the competition takes the teams to Mount McKinley’s remote tundra, known known for being some of the most brutal, inhospitable terrain in Alaska. The teams will brave the remote wilderness portrayed in the book and film, “Into the Wild,” navigating harsh tundra and thick forests in the path of doomed explorer Chris McCandless. Racing to the insertion flag, teams can choose from a cache of vehicles to take across the rugged tundra: four-wheeled ATVs, Argos (amphibious tracked vehicles) and horses.
1. Alaskans: First to the flag, the Alaskans make an unconventional choice. Knowing horses can travel where vehicles can’t, they pass up the faster motorized vehicles in favor of the horses – which, unlike the ATVs, never run out of gas. Playing the slow and steady strategy, the team pushes through the forest, heading to the “Magic Bus,” the somber structure where Chris McCandless passed away over twenty years ago.
2. Military: The Military arrive second to the flag and choose an Argo. Although the vehicle’s tracked wheels are sturdy, it’s not as fast as the four-wheeled ATVs, resulting in the team losing ground to their competitors. In an effort to catch up, Daniel hits the gas, and Jared flies off.
The team charges on through the tundra, only to be set back again when the Argo runs out of gas. Stranded in deep, soggy terrain, the Military must push forward on foot.
3. Endurance: Determined to break their losing streak after starting strong, Endurance snags the four-wheeled ATVs. They race off from the flag and pass the Military in no time. Lel, the smallest of the group, struggles to keep control as the team blasts through deep creeks. Finally, they’re forced to ditch their vehicles at an impassable river. Marching through the tundra on foot, they arrive at the Teklanika River – the powerful torrent that trapped Chris McCandless. Boldly charging through it, the team becomes swept up in the devastating current.
4. Lower 48: After Sweeney went rogue and left the team in leg six, Lower 48 starts this challenge on shaky ground. They arrive last to the flag, and are left with the remaining Argo. Sweeney is reluctant to get into what he considers to be a slow and bumpy machine, and before long, the vehicle gets stuck in the trees. Tensions run high, with Sweeney complains that riding in the Argo injured his hip and back. And soon, he refuses to go forward.
5. And the winner is…
In this leg, one team wins – and another loses big. Team Alaska’s bet on their horses pays off, as they pull ahead and reach the flag first, creating a three-way tie with Military and Endurance for first place.
But for Lower 48, one fewer win is the least of their problems. After reaching the flag, Sweeney confers with the show’s producers and decided to leave the competition, as a result of his injuries. Because they reached the flag together, the Lower 48 team earns the right to continue, but Kasha and Cluck will go it alone.
Which team will win next? Don’t forget to make your predictions for each leg of the competition on our Survival Competition Tracker.