Magazine article Geographical

Survival of the Fittest

Magazine article Geographical

Survival of the Fittest

Article excerpt

Discovery Channel takes us to Patagonia, where teams from around the world are battling to win the the toughest race on Earth

It is the world's toughest adventure race. Fifty-three teams from 32 countries battle fierce winds, dense forests, freak blizzards and exhausting mountain climbs as they compete over a gruelling 318-kilometre course. During this energy-sapping five-day endurance test they are forced to kayak across a lake, ride horses, trek through thick forest, climb the treacherous peaks of the Andes mountain range and raft down icy rapids. As an added difficulty the teams of four must leave the environment exactly as they found it, which means carrying out everything they take in.

Eco Challenge Argentina follows teams from countries including the USA, New Zealand, Holland, Spain and a British team with Sir Ranulph Fiennes, as they pit their skills and endurance levels against the elements. "This is an expedition race against nature. It's not just a test of physical abilities or athletics, it's really a test of the human spirit," says executive producer Angus Yates.

The programme follows competitors from the beginning of the race at Nahuel Huapi, an enormous lake fed by glaciers in southwest Argentina, near the Chilean border. After paddling 104 kilometres across the freezing lake and hauling their kayaks up steep, gravel hills, the racers reach Rio Limay, where they swim across the fast-flowing river, towing behind them the bags of gear they need for the next leg. …

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