Battling the Unforgiving Terrain of Patagonia

Project Acheron is a spiritual, physical challenge designed to see what these athletes are made of.
© Mark Anders
By Nate Hoppes

“Anybody can come in and kick the shit out of people, we just wanted to make it a little more thoughtful in design," claims Dr. Andy Walshe, Red Bull’s High Performance director.

Project Acheron: Patagonia is designed to challenge athletes holistically – body, mind, and spirit – resulting not only in better athletic performance, but a stronger individual of a higher consciousness, authentically transformed through experiential hardship.

Expedition kayaker Rafa Ortiz, surf ironman Australian Matt Poole, big-wave surfer Ian Walsh and multisport waterman Kai Lenny -- guided by two former Navy Seals -- trekked their way through the unforgiving terrain of Patagonia. Embedded with the crew, award-winning writer and adventure journalist Mark Anders documented the journey, and the trials and tribulations along the way.

"During the planning stages, Walshe and (Former Navy Seal) Pete Naschak affectionately referred to this expedition with the codename HFU, short for: Harden the F*ck Up," recalled Anders. "Of course, for obvious reasons, the official name changed, becoming Project Acheron, a tip of the hat to the River Acheron, also known as the River of Pain, which forms the border to Hell in the 14th-century epic poem known as Dante’s Inferno."

Head over to Red for Mark's entire first hand account from the mission.

Lucky for us, the mission was captured and will be a one-hour special airing Sunday, August 3, at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PST on NBC.

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