In the 350-mile adventure race, the first of its kind in Alaska, there is no mercy. In just the second day one team is elliminated when a group member separated his shoulder falling down a crevasse. 

The adventure racing in the heart of Alaska that tests the wills of 20 teams, up to four people each, began June 28 and will end sometime in the next week. Just how long would it take you get through 350 miles of some of the world’s toughest terrain along with its most fearsome predators?

It took just a day for Team Columbia Vidarade, who’s group member fell into a crevasse on top the Eklutna Glacier. Fortunately the others arrested his fall, but he dislocated his shoulder in the process requiring an airlift. The injury meant the team spent a long cold night on the glacier waiting for a helicopter, marking the first team to drop out of the contest. 

The race in Alaska is one in several stops on the annual Adventure Racing World Series, which pits the best adventure racing teams in the world, testing skills of trekking, mountain biking, mountaineering, navigation and kayaking. 

For an organization that has put on adventure races in places all over the globe for the past 10 years, the race in Alaska is a step up for what many contestants are used to. Preceding the race, organizers held two intensive days of crevasse training. There was a pack raft safety and skills lesson and a bear safety instruction.

“I have to say that the “nervous” energy is also at a very high level. Our bear lecture and a few crevasse and packraft scare stories have heightened the tension – either real or imagined,” a spokesperson wrote on the race blog

Contestants received a load of free gear from race sponsors including from the US Army Special Ops Recruiting Battalion.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons