This week's episode of Man vs. Wild brings Bear to Patagonia, which is somewhere in south South America. The show opens with Bear excitedly scampering around on a gigantic glacier, which happens to be my least favorite setting for Man vs. Wild missions. Why? Because Bear always pronounces it "glassier," and that's really f*cking annoying. To demonstrate the obnoxiousness, I'm going to call it a "glassier" for the entirety of the column.
Anyway, he shows us that if you get stuck on a glassier without crampons (the spiky things to put on your boots), you can just take your socks and put them on the outside of your shoe for added traction. I'll keep that in mind next time I'm in Patagonia. His first mission this week is to cross the enormous glassier.
Bear decides to venture into a crevasse, so I figure I'm obligated to fill you guys in on his history with crevasses. After becoming the youngest Brit ever to mount Everest, Bear made his triumphant descent. The mountain, perhaps bitter about having its ass kicked by Bear over the past 90 days, put a hidden crevasse in Bear's path. Bear stepped on ice that immediately gave way, and regained consciousness swinging on the end of his rope in the icy abyss. So I'm expecting him to be pretty nervous about confronting this past nemesis.
Bear rappels down into the crevasse, and appears pretty calm about it. Then, when he gets about 40 feet inside it, the meltwater suddenly starts to drench him. The frigid water filling Bear's boots unsettles him and he frantically tries to climb back up, except he's getting hardly any traction from his ice picks and crampons.
After finally escaping the crevasse, Bear is cold and soaking wet, which brings us to this week's Man vs. Wild Quiz!!!!!
Will Bear attempt to get warm by:
A) Getting naked and wringing out his clothes
B) Getting naked and doing pushups
C) Getting naked and molesting the cameramen
D) A and B
The answer is D, although I can't speculate what happened off camera. Bear getting naked has become about as commonplace in MVW as Bear building a fire and Bear eating live animals. Watching him do naked pushups was definitely a highlight of the episode; it looked like he was drilling for oil. Anyway, he gets his blood flowing and continues across the glassier.
Bear's been on the glassier for at least 5 hours, and he's getting thirsty. Rather than get some ice shavings and wait for them to melt, he climbs down into a tunnel that goes beneath the thousands of tons of melting, moving ice. He hastily fills up his canteen and gets the hell out of there, likely because the camera guy was fearful for his life. Bear looked genuinely excited to be there, and referred to it as "the kind of place you'd imagine Superman would live." That's right, Bear just burglarized the Fortress of Solitude for some glacial water. I love Bear. It turns out he didn't really need the water, because he finishes crossing the glassier about 15 minutes later and gets picked up.
The second mission takes Bear to some random desert, amazingly still in Patagonia. It looks like a cold Texas. I'm psyched about this mission from the start, because it features a badass parachute jump. He does five or six backflips, and the producers edited in some guitar riff in the background to make him seem cooler, as if that was even possible. He's also wearing sunglasses, but I think they fell off during the jump because we don't see them again.
Bear again goes searching for water. I'm not sure why he needs to, because he just got the purest water imaginable from the heart of a glassier. His description of the Patagonian steppe sounds pretty hardcore winds can gust up to 120 mph, and it almost never rains. Anyway, he finds a freshwater spring and slurps up muddy, filthy, stagnant water. Bear likens the experience to "drinking from a loo bowl." So far this is the only nasty thing he's ingested, which is disappointing to everyone but Bear.
BADASS ALERT: Bear just scaled a 150-foot wall of bedrock in about an hour. He pushes the envelope more and more each episode. At any point during the climb, if Bear slipped, he would have died. After reaching the top, Bear describes the exhausting, entirely unnecessary ascent as "fun." Bear's tired, cut to commercial.
We come back and Bear is riding on horseback alongside an Argentinian named Raul. No one tells us how the hell he ended up on a horse with Raul, or who the hell Raul is and how he's relevant in any way. They go out searching for puma kills. Add "puma" to the list of annoying things that Bear says. He's gotten on my nerves today, but I can't stay mad at him. It's like having a ditzy blonde for a girlfriend you put up with them because they have certain redeeming qualities. In Bear's case, he redeems himself by eating the cold raw scraps of a dead calf that a puma killed.
Raul takes the rest of the calf home to his family, who will surely rejoice. After the commercial break we don't see him anymore. I miss him already. Bear is now trekking across a vast, cold desert. He sets a goal for himself to find a shelter, build a fire, and get some food. For the shelter he basically just lies down next to a giant rock, so check that one off the list. Bear gets a fire started really quickly using Old Man's Beard, which is some sort of moss / organic gunpowder. Check. The food is the only thing that eludes him he sets up snares using rope from his parachute, but they're still empty come morning. I sorta wish that the camera crew set a rabbit in one of the traps for him like they did in the Scotland episode, because nothing gets my testosterone going like watching Bear violently break a bunny's neck.
Bear continues going the next day, and looks like he's having the time of his life. He somersaults down a mountain, then frolics in a glacial stream for a bit before looking for some food. He digs up some random root and eats it. Boring. The episode ends with Bear walking towards a huge lake, which SPOILER ALERT he's going to try to cross in a homemade raft next week. I'm so amped.
Get pumped for next week's column, too, when I compare and contrast Bear Grylls and Les Stroud.
Until then, here's Bear with his camera crew. Aww.