As you may guess from their name, Team Lower 48 represent the lower 48 states.
The rookie team may have cut their teeth elsewhere from the Northern wilderness, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be fierce competitors. The oldest of the group, legendary mountain climber James Sweeney, brings decades of experience from scaling the world’s highest peaks. He is joined by professional skier Kasha Rigby and professional kayaker Scott “Cluck” McCleskey to round out the team’s skill sets. Although new to Alaska, collectively the team brings experience in all terrains to the competition.
Meet Ultimate Survival Alaska‘s newest team:
For Catherine “Kasha” Rigby, there’s nothing like being the first person to ski a run. An accomplished ski mountaineer, Kasha holds multiple first descents on mountains around the world, just one aspect of her decades-long pursuit of the world’s toughest expeditions.
In her pursuit of her mission – to climb and ski down mountains that have never been skied before – she’s traversed the highest mountains and the most remote regions of every continent.She’s used to carrying all of her own gear, including ropes, axes, crampons and skis. Rigby is well-versed in ice and rock climbing, skills that will come in handy in Alaska’s treacherous terrain.
But the professional kayaker who takes on the world’s biggest whitewater welcomes the challenge of the mountains, bringing to the table his passion for the outdoors and his survival knowledge. A true man of the outdoors, Cluck has lost a number of friends to the treachery of the river, providing him with a renewed respect for Mother Nature. In his own words, “Don’t disrespect nature, or nature will equalize you.”
He may be on Team Lower 48, but James Sweeney is no Alaskan rookie. Known for his climbing and adventures in Alaska, the veteran mountain climber lived in the state for 31 years and knows its terrain well.
What sets Sweeney apart is his pursuit of nature’s challenges; he prefers steep, rocky climbs to summiting the highest peaks. This thirst for adventure has proven dangerous in the past for Sweeney. In 1989, he sustained severe injuries after a fall while climbing a sheer ice wall and had to endure seven avalanches and a large crevasse before reaching safety. But today he’s in the best shape of his life, and relishes the opportunity to “whoop on the young guys” on Ultimate Survival Alaska.
Learn more about Team Lower 48 in the video profile below, and don’t miss the Ultimate Survival Alaska premiere THIS Sunday, January 4 at 9/8c.