Primal Quest

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Fixing a sail to the kayak just before the start of Primal Quest 2003.

Primal Quest is an adventure race that has been called one of the most difficult athletic events in the world and was cited as the most prestigious expedition event in North America.[1] Co-ed teams of four trail run, mountain bike, kayak, climb, rappel and mountaineer all while navigating all under their own power. The race has been successfully revived after a 5-year hiatus beginning with the death of adventure racer Nigel Aylott. Each race lasts up to ten days, with winning teams completing the course in approximately six-eight days.The race once featured the largest prize purse in adventure racing.[2]

Each team is required to carry a GPS monitoring device (without offering navigational assistance) which allows race organizers and spectators to track each team real-time via the Internet on the Primal Quest website

Race history[edit]

The first Primal Quest was held in 2002 in Telluride, Colorado. In 2003, the race moved to Lake Tahoe and 2004 featured a course on Orcas Island, in the State of Washington. CBS broadcast highlights of the race in 2003 and 2004 with a full feature episodic series on OLN. Primal Quest was the first expedition adventure race to be featured on major network television.

In June 2006 Primal Quest was hosted in the Utah desert [1]. Disciplines included mountain biking, trekking, horseback riding, technical rope skills, mountaineering, kayaking and white water swimming. Primal Quest Utah was broadcast internationally as four one-hour episodes on ESPN2 and a one-hour recap and finale on ABC Sports. Subsequent races took place in 2008, Montana and 2009, South Dakota with episodes on Outside Television.

Previous races[edit]

2002 Telluride[edit]

  1. SoBe/SmartWool (became Nike ACG/Balance Bar in 2003)
  2. Team Montrail
  3. Team GoLite (became Nike ACG/Balance Bar in 2003)

2003 Lake Tahoe[edit]

  1. Nike ACG/Balance Bar (was SoBe/Smartwool and GoLite)
  2. AROC
  3. Team Seagate

2004 Orcas Island[edit]

  1. (tie) Seagate; Nike ACG/Balance Bar
  2. Tie for 1st, no 2nd place
  3. Holofiber

2006 Moab Utah[edit]

  1. Nike PowerBlast (was Nike ACG/Balance Bar)
  2. GoLite/Timberland
  3. Merrell/Wigwam Adventure

2008 Montana[edit]

  1. Nike (was Nike PowerBlast)
  2. Merrell/Zanfel Adventure
  3. Bones

2009 Badlands South Dakota[edit]

  2. Salomon/Crested Butte
  3. Merrell/Zanfel Adventure

2015 Lake Tahoe California

  1. GODZone
  2. Bones
  3. Journey

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Leadership in the Wild, Forbes, June 26, 2006, p. 37
  2. ^ Primal Quest to return in '06, possibly through Colorado; Adventure racing's premier event could bring unprecedented TV deal, Summit Daily News, August 4, 2005, P. C1