Kodiak Killers: 5 Things You Missed On Ultimate Survival Alaska

In leg nine of Ultimate Survival Alaska, the hunters become the hunted, as teams face their fiercest challenge yet: Kodiak brown bears. Dropped on the coast of Kodiak Island, teams sprint for the insertion flag in the middle of an inland lake. Diving through the frigid waters, competitors swim for the flag and a cache of tools to help them in their journey to the LZ. Locked in a four-way tie for first place, which team will prevail?

1. Team Military

First to the insertion flag, Military sets their sights on a cache of fishing poles. With the summer salmon run in full swing, Kodiak rivers are teeming with fresh fish. Low on protein, the team jumps at the opportunity to reel in a feast.


But they have competition. Salmon streams are notorious bear hangouts, and before long, the Military finds out why. Chased downstream, the team must choose to jump off a forty-foot waterfall, or become a hungry brown bear’s next meal. They decide to escape.


2. Team Lower 48 

Coming off their first win without Sweeney, the Lower 48 are out to prove they’re the real deal. They arrive second to the insertion flag and study their map. Kasha isn’t shy about voicing her strong fear of bears, so she and Cluck decide to follow a longer, coastal route to the LZ to avoid bear encounters, complete with staying up at night to keep watch for predators.


But when they’re cliffed-out, the team is forced to head inland, and walks right into a bear den.


3. Team Endurance

The Endurance team comes into leg nine at a severe disadvantage. After Dallas lost his pack and all his gear, they now have one-third fewer supplies. Seeing packrafts at the cache, they decide they can’t make it without them. For one, the rafts can provide a shelter and sleeping surface for Dallas. And two, the team can use them to ride a river highway to the LZ. Once on the water, Endurance makes great time, though the rapids give them trouble.


But soon, the river takes a turn for the worse. They grab their rafts and make it to shore – just before a massive waterfall.


4. Team Alaskans

Last to the flag, the Alaskans begin leg nine behind the pack. Needing to make up time, they decide on a direct route to the LZ – straight through the heart of bear country. The team follows a centuries-old bear trail, dubbed the “bear superhighway.” The trail lives up to its name, as bears block the team’s route at nearly every turn.


They continue their resilient push to extraction, but when Marty gets separated from the team, he comes face-to-face with a predator.


5. And the winner is…

As the clock runs down, Endurance, Lower 48, the Alaskans, and the Military all have a shot at victory. Having escaped the bears, it’s a race to the top of a cliff to the flag.


After several winless legs and a disastrous lost pack, Team Endurance finally grabs another win, putting them ahead three wins to the other teams’ two.


Which team will win next? Don’t forget to make your predictions for each leg of the competition on our Survival Competition Tracker.



  1. Truth Be Told
    February 23, 2015, 2:04 pm

    OK, once again I’m here to set things straight.

    Ultimate Survivor Alaska (USA): The teams were dropped off on Kodiak Island.
    Truth Be Told (TBT): WRONG! The were dropped off on Afognak Island at the head of Phoenix Bay. This is 35 miles north of the closest part of Kodiak Island.

    USA: The teams had to travel 30 miles from the drop-off point to the extraction point.
    TBT: WRONG! It is only 4 miles from the drop-off point at the head of Phoenix Bay to the extraction point at Shields Point.

    If the teams really did travel 30 miles to reach a point that was only 4 miles away, then they are not ones I would want to travel the backcountry with.

    Here’s something else that just doesn’t make any sense. The teams were dropped off on the coastline of Afognak Island at the head of Phoenix Bay. The Endurance team had three packrafts – one for each of them. They decided to bushwhack overland, through bear country. WHY? They were on the coast, just a short, easy 4-mile paddle away from the extraction point. Why didn’t they just paddle north through Phoenix Bay? They had maps of the area that clearly showed the route. Nothing about this supposed “reality” show makes any sense at all.

    Bottom line: 60 hours to go 4 miles?! Yeah, right! Like I’ve documented many times before, this show is NOT a real race. The producers are blatantly lying to you. This show is just a bunch of pre-scripted nonsense that is edited in such as way to make gullible viewers think it’s all real. This show is nothing but a steaming pile of that stuff they showed along the bear trails.

  2. ange91
    February 23, 2015, 2:38 pm

    We all like this show. We don’t even know who you are. And if they had to go thru the bear country, well if that was part of the challenge then so be it. Sometimes we don’t want to know the particulars. This is a fun show. I’m going to look into this further to see if you know what you are talking about. I heard different and also from the Cameraman…

  3. Realist
    February 23, 2015, 3:12 pm

    sounds like that guy^(truth be told) is a pretty big hater. If you know so much where is your show. Facts are facts NatGeo has a huge reputation for factual information gathering and telling. I don’t think they want to tarnish it by producing a complete fake show. If that where the case NatGeo could just have the jerry springer show move to the network. I guess I just feel that if you have such an amazing ability for terrain association that you don’t even need a map to know your location in any place in Alaska that’s pretty impressive. You should have lead with that skill set on your application for the show. If you hate it so much don’t watch it. If you think your that good do it. Bottom line. If you want plan out a two month expedition anywhere in the world and you and me can go heads up in a race I’m more than capable and ready. realist out

  4. Truth Be Told
    February 24, 2015, 2:44 pm

    OK, Ange91 and Realist – I don’t want to start a flame war here. That won’t prove or solve anything. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching the show (heck, I paid for it on Amazon) because it is entertaining. However, what really gets me riled up is the fact that episode after episode, the producers totally twist the facts. If this was on the Fox channel, then I’d be more understanding of the lies and deceit, but this is on the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CHANNEL! They are supposed to be the last great bastion of geographic knowledge and accuracy! Now, I understand that NatGeo does not actually produce this show themselves – an independent production company makes the show and then sells it to NatGeo to be shown and promoted under the NatGeo name. However, for NatGeo to continually allow the geographic inaccuracies to be presented, that’s just totally irresponsible as far as I’m concerned. It seems to me that NatGeo should tell the producers to get the facts straight or NatGeo will quit buying the show from them. Until NatGeo does this, their brand and trust will be tarnished.

    Now to address the question of whether or not I know what I’m talking about when I write my reviews. Yes, I do know, otherwise I wouldn’t write what I do. So how do I know what I know? It’s easy, and you can do the same. First, open up Google Earth. Then go to USGS.gov and go to the section where they have Alaska topo maps. Next, watch the show and whenever they show the teams opening up their maps, look up the same map on the USGS site and then match that up with the view in Google Earth. It’s not rocket science – anyone can do it. This is precisely how I know for a fact that in this episode, the teams were on Afognak Island instead of Kodiak Island, as we’re told by the producers. At the 4:11, 5:54, and 36:13 minute marks, it clearly shows the teams holding the Afognak B-1 and Afognak B-2 topo maps. These maps are of Afognak Island, NOT Kodiak Island.

    So, how did I surmise that the teams started near the head of Phoenix Bay and ended at Shields Point? Again, let’s examine the evidence, in the form of the topo maps that the teams are shown holding. At the 5:54 minute mark, the Alaska team is holding their maps. The map on the bottom is the Afognak B-1 map, and the map at the top is the Afognak B-2 map. Now, open up the same maps on the USGS.gov site and match them up with the maps that the team is holding. The Alaska team’s B-1 map shows a hand-written note near the head of Phoenix Bay. Given that they have just arrived at the start point flag and picked up their maps, and that at the end of the show the teams are on a point of land above the ocean, it makes sense that the hand-written note on the B-1 map, near the head of Phoenix Bay, is the actual starting point of this episode. In addition, at the 36:13 minute mark, the Endurance team is also shown holding the Afognak B-1 map. You can plainly see that it is showing Phoenix Bay, and on the Endurance team’s map there’s clearly shown an “X” on the map at the head of Phoenix Bay. This appears to be additional evidence that the start point was near the head of Phoenix Bay.

    Next, to narrow down the location of the extraction point. At the 4:13 minute mark, the Lower 48 team is holding the Afognak B-2 map. You can see a hand-written note (although unfortunately, it is not legible) on the margin of the map just below the tip of Shields Point. This would indicate that the extraction point would be somewhere in the general vicinity of the hand-written note. And given that at the end of the episode, the teams are shown on a grassy point above the ocean, this gives strong evidence that the extraction point was Shields Point, or some point of land in the vicinity of Shields Point. This assumption is further supported by the fact that at the beginning of the show, the narrator says “On this leg, the teams will cross 30 miles…to the extraction point at the northern-most tip of the island.” Now at first, it’s difficult to know if this statement is correct or not. But given the facts that the team’s maps were of the Phoenix Bay area, and that at the end of the program they are shown standing on a grassy hill on the coastline, it makes sense that they are indeed on or near the northern tip of the island. And that in turn would put them at Shields Point, which is only about 4 miles north of their drop-off point near the head of Phoenix Bay.

    Now, here’s something else I’d like to clarify. I don’t hold anything against the people on the teams. There’s no question that they are out there doing some incredible, dangerous, fun stuff. I’ve done my share of traveling the Alaska backcountry (hiking, kayaking, mountaineering, glacier travel, bushwhacking, etc.) so I know they are truly being physically challenged. What I take issue with is solely the production and editing of the show. It is the producers of this show who are making the decisions to exaggerate the truth and to deliberately mislead and lie to the viewing public. Why don’t they just tell us the truth? What would be so wrong with that? It would still be an interesting and entertaining show. Instead, they intentionally lie, episode after episode. And when it’s so easy to fact-check using Google Earth and the topo maps, it makes me wonder what it is they’re trying to hide. It just casts a shadow over everything they present in this program.

    So some will say, “Hey, it’s just a show. I don’t care if it’s accurate or not”. That is exactly the attitude that is causing so many problems today. For example, when politicians lie, so many people will just dismiss it because, you know, that’s just what politicians do. When the news media distorts the facts, people just dismiss it because, “Hey, you know, that’s just what the media does”. But the critical thing is, these politicians and media have influence and power, and this influence and power can directly affect everything in our lives. So when we get to the point that few people care about accuracy and the truth, then it’s all downhill from there.

  5. Michael
    February 24, 2015, 2:48 pm

    I hate to admit it but TBT is mostly right. I just rewatched the episode and there is a point where Dallas is holding a map and they are pointing towards an area near phoenix bay and the map they show the teams routes on is clearly a different area. (Kind of looks like the north west part of kodiak island

  6. Truth Be Told
    February 25, 2015, 2:33 pm

    The Afognak B-1 map is the one that has Phoenix Bay on it. That’s the map that Ben is holding at the 36:13 minute mark. The other map is the Afognak B-2 map. This is the next map to the west of the B-1 map. At the 4:11 minute mark, the Lower 48 team opens up their Afognak B-2 map, and while the screen quality is not good enough to read the text on the map, it still shows enough detail in the land and water that you can confirm this is the Afognak B-2 map, which is for Afognak Island, rather than Kodiak Island. None of the maps that the teams are shown holding are for Kodiak Island – they are all Afognak Island.

    Another factor that points to them being on Afognak Island rather than Kodiak Island is that Kodiak is very mountainous, while Afognak is much less mountainous. While Afognak does have some mountains that get above treeline, the majority of It is flatter, lower elevation forested hills. Afognak is less rugged than Kodiak and just has an overall appearance that is dramatically different than Kodiak Island. All the views in the episode that show the terrain definitely fit more with Afognak Island instead of Kodiak Island.

    So I’m 100% certain that, given the maps the teams are shown holding and the terrain they’re shown navigating, this episode took place on Afognak Island, not Kodiak Island.

  7. Kat
    United States
    February 26, 2015, 8:24 pm

    TBT if this show is such a farce why are you watching it and why is it so important to you to try to ruin it for those who are enjoying the show.

  8. Truth Be Told
    February 27, 2015, 3:00 pm

    Kat, I guess you missed the part in my previous post where I said that I watch the show because it is interesting. Just because there are things in it that I disagree with does not mean that I should not watch it.

    Now, to address your other comment regarding your belief that I’m trying to “ruin it for those who are enjoying the show.” First, I’m not trying to “ruin it” for anyone. It’s just that I care about the truth, and when National Geographic, a well-respected organization whose century-old mission is to spread geographic knowledge and accuracy, sponsors and promotes a program with such blatant geographic inaccuracies, I can’t just sit by and let it slide. If hearing the truth “ruins it” for you – that the truth doesn’t matter – then that’s a really sad statement about our society. When did truth become a bad thing?

  9. curious
    March 1, 2015, 11:38 am

    In the series with the bears, it would seem that the camera team was also in danger, especially with the military teams’ run-in with the bear after catching salmon. How did the camera team remain safe during this episode?

  10. Coach
    March 2, 2015, 2:15 am

    TBT, I too watch the show with my spouse. We both have issues with the “scripting” of the show. It’s Alaska, the forced “drama” is absolutely rating driven. People falling out of kayaks, shooting a fish in the boat (putting a hole in the boat), not wearing cramp-ons on ice, hanging from an ice-pick by one arm. please! The show is quickly becoming another “Alaskan Bush People”.I think we’re going to stick to watching the Kilchers.

  11. Scott
    March 3, 2015, 9:48 pm

    Wow, I’m just getting caught up with the new series, and thank you Truth be Told for the in-depth info. I agree that if Nat Geo is doing it, they should keep the information accurate. This episode had me on edge the whole time!! Thanks for your research.

  12. Jeremy
    United Arab Emirates
    March 17, 2015, 3:58 am

    Thanks to TBT. Nat Geo needs to be more transparent.