Alaska: The 'Ultimate Survival' Test

ABC's Neal Karlinsky gets hands-on training in surviving the frigid wilderness with pure skill.
3:00 | 12/14/13

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Transcript for Alaska: The 'Ultimate Survival' Test
The temperature, single digits. The food whatever they can forage. The shelter, nonexistent. But for the alaska canalaskans, home is where the heart is and surviving is the adventure of a lifetime. Neil karlinski headed out with the survival experts showing us what it means to brave the elements. Reporter: We are mushing sled dogs across the alaskan wilderness, far from the nearest city. Guys, hold up! Reporter: No cars, no food, no shelter spend a lot of the time trying to slow the dogs down. We have come to talkeetna, alaska to find out firsthand is it possible to survive like this. Our guide, let's face it in my case, lifeguards. 26-year-old iditarod champion, unstoppable outdoorsman, and 36-year-old, eddie, native alaska born marathon runner and survival expert. For eddie, I and alaskans, the wilderness is our home. Reporter: Over 48 hours they take us inside their world where building shelters from scratch, starting fires without matches, even building snowshoes from tree branches is no big deal. I would be far more afraid trying to spend a week on my own in new york than I would a week on my own in alaska. Nice and cold. Reporter: Dallas and eddie are two in a motley crue of outdoor survival elite who have put their life skills on the line for the "national geographic" reality show, ultimate survival, alaska. Onetouchest -- toughest competition thousands in the world. Reporter: In the show, teams are dropped into the middle of the alaskan outback with the gear they can carry and often impressive ingenuity to get them out. But in every episode we saw it seems that someone is always on the verge of catastrophe. Not tv catastrophe, but real life danger. In one episode, a contestant named jimmy is feared drowned in a raging river after his boat tips over. Is any of that set up. You guys end up in situations looks look you are about to die on television. The show intentionally put us in dangerous places. The objective of the show. Wasn't to put us in a national park with a paved sidewalk. Was it intentional that we got in a really bad situations, no. We were put in an element where that was a possibility. Very real possibility. In another episode, a contestant falls off his dog sled. Something that during my own sled dog training, dallas told me was nearly impossible to recover from. On the show the guy falls off. Its that real? Definitely not planned. You are never going to intentionally lose a dog team. That its worst case. Dogs they love to run. They're not going to stop for you. Fortunately in that case he was able to catch up with the dog team on foot. Which is a rare feat. Sure enough, our own experience wasn't all smooth sailing. Whoa. You all right? Yeah. You kind of have to walk duck footed in snowshoes. Snowshoeing with dallas and eddie, they told us that staying warm and having something to drink is critic the key right? Warm the core. Heat people from the outside in. Fire, warm clothes et cetera. But then, think if you drink something hot, all of a sudden you are burning up. Reporter: We stomped on snow to clear an area to make a fire and gathered wood with a fold-out saw. Even when everything is soaking wet they showed me, birch bark and moss which are perfect for getting a fire started. This mossy stuff. Use that to start a fire. No matches, no lighter, no problem. I will s cp it is going to act just look a candle. Eddie keeps chap stick and cotton balls on him at all times. Sound strange until you add sparks. There it goes. Both carry a simple flint to scrape with a trusty knife. Soon, we are melting snow over a raging fire. We add pine needles for flavor, a sort of back woods tea. If you put thissen a c in a cup at starbuck's, people would pay $5 for it. Not saying much about this, but people. Busy showing us how to make a snowshoe from branches as the fire was getting started. Snowshoes are critical for walking through deep snow. On the dog sled I learn the art of mushing from dallas. One of the best in the business. The dogs want to go. All I can do to slow them down especially on the turns. Doing really well for a first time dog musher. Takes it to it pretty naturally. Reporter: On ultimate survival alaska they're constantly on the move over mountains, across rivers, all on a tiny supply of uncooked rice and beans. Supplied by the show and plus whatever they can catch. Dallas and eddie build a solid shelter in the trees for us. Like it is nothing. As night falls on our adventure, eddie shows me his survival necklace. All way want to have ape leatherman. You have footools. Knife sharpener. Miniled light. The flint. Eddie starts a chapstick and cotton ball fire. In terms of survival skills, this is number one. Being able to start a fire. Absolutely. If you have ability to build a fire that is going to buy you a lot of time. Awe off sitting in the glow of a warm fire on a freezing night, eating beans and rice from melted snow, everything tasted good, and anything seemed possible for these two. For them this series is a way to show off their reality. Troupe survivor, somebody scan go into the wood with a knife and flint, and, stay there as long as he wants. Report A new season of ultimate survival alaska premiere, sunday, december 15 on national

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