Saturday, April 23, 2011
Out of the Wild: Venezuela - surviving Roraima
Could you survive on Venezuela's remote Mount Roraima if you were flown to the top of the mountain by helicopter with a group of strangers and a few supplies?
That was the challenge set on US reality show "Out of the Wild", produced by the Discovery Channel.
Basically, nine ordinary US citizens were taken to the border between Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana and helicoptered to the top of Roraima with the aim of getting off the famous table-top mountain, known as a tepui in the language of the local Pemon tribe, and making their way back to civilization.
The show is not like "Survivor" or "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here", nobody was voted off by the public, but anybody could leave at any time if the challenge got too tough for them by activating a button on their GPS devices.
The lack of food, damp conditions and gruelling 70-mile hike down the mountain, across the savannah and through dense jungle put even the toughest participants to the test.
US Army Captain Nick Albini, a combat veteran, lost almost 30 pounds during the nearly three weeks it took to complete the trial.
He said afterwards, that it was a much tougher adventure than he had ever dreamed:
"I ate bugs for eight days straight without eating any meat - insects, worms, grasshoppers, spiders, grubworms, scorpions..."
Veteran travel journalist Ryan Van Duzer was also put to the test, calling his time in Venezuela "the most difficult mental and physical challenge of my life," although he said he enjoyed "stretching my limits... to the max."
Could you do it?