Jon Dorn, Backpacker magazine's editor in chief in real life, will soon have an alter ego -- captain of the official media team at this year's Primal Quest in southern Utah, which begins on June 25. Seems Dorn, likely sleep-deprived at the time he thought it up, has decided it's a cool idea to tote along a satellite phone and create a running audioblog of his team's adventures, or misadventures -- whichever can be most accurately remembered.
What is Primal Quest? Billed as "the ultimate test of human endurance, selfless teamwork and relentless determination," it's a 500-mile wilderness race lasting up to 10 days across remote parts of southern Utah (same region that the 1995 Eco-Challenge, which featured SNEWS® co-owner Michael Hodgson as the captain of Team Media, was held).
During the race, co-ed teams of four will navigate through confusing networks of rock canyons, trek through triple-digit desert heat, climb to altitudes of 12,000 feet, paddle whitewater rivers with Class III rapids, swim through frigid slot-canyon pools, and tackle rope courses with thousands of feet of ascending and rappelling. Along the way, they’ll sleep only three to four hours a night, deal with blisters and heat illness, experience wild hallucinations, and receive no outside assistance. Competitors must carry their own food and water, make their own bike repairs, and meet strict cut-off times for every stage. In other words, it's just like a regular multi-day camping trip where everything goes wrong.
Dorn is joined by Stephen Regenold, who is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, and pens a syndicated newspaper column on outdoor adventure called The Gear Junkie; Kirsten Gum, a freelance reporter who's covered the Tour de France, X Games, Paris to Dakar road race, and many other sporting events for OLN and other networks; and Roy Wallack, a veteran of the first Eco-Challenge race as a member of Team Media, and a freelancer who writes regularly for Outside, Men's Journal and Bicycling.
To listen to Dorn's broadcasts (or pleadings for pizza deliveries), which will begin on June 22, go to: www.backpacker.com/PQ (URL won't be live until June 22). During the 1995 Eco-Challenge, Team Media was credited with the rescue of a member of a veteran team of Army Rangers during a particularly heinous desert navigation section…so betting against a media team to not do well probably isn't a very good idea. Go get 'em gang!!!!