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Thirteen teams will have to conquer challenges both mental and physical in order to win $150,000 and three new cars. Who will accomplish the impossible?

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Host Dave Salmoni
Creator Mark Burnett
EP Mark Burnett
Lisa Hennessy
Packager Mark Burnett Productions
Origins Morocco
Web abc.com/expedition
Airs 9p ET Thurs, ABC

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Sun! Sand! Sahara!: Stage 1
June 23

Thirteen teams of three are going to attempt the impossible, traversing the sands of Morocco for a shot at winning $150,000 and three new 2012 Ford Explorers. The teams will have to be physically and mentally at the top of their game. If not, they could be on the way home with nothing. It's an adventure seen... maybe once or twice on TV before.


Our 13 teams (thanks, Wikipedia)...

- California Girls: Christina Chin (24, Davis, CA, Corporate PR), Brittany Smith (24, Rancho Murieta, CA. Aspiring Pro Golfer), and Natalie Smith (25, Woodland, CA. Teacher/Coach). Friends who met while attending the University of California, Davis.

- The Cops: Robert Robillard (43, Concord, MA. Police Lieutenant), Dani Henderson (34, Marlborough, MA. Police Officer), and James Vaglica (49, Billerica, MA. Police Sergeant). Three police officers from Massachusetts.

- The Country Boys: Nicholas Coughlin (28, Clinton, MS. Internet Marketing/Entrepreneur), Jason Cronin (37, Pensacola Beach, FL. Business Owner/Entrepreneur)
Chad Robinson (27, Bolton, MS. Real Estate Investor)

- The Fab 3: Ryan Allen Carrillo (36, Los Angeles, CA. Business Owner), Kari Gibson (26, Los Angeles, CA. Model), and AJ Gibson (30, Los Angeles, CA. Mortgage Consultant). Kari and AJ are siblings. AJ and Ryan used to be a couple but are now friends. All three are roommates.

- The Fishermen: Gus, Nino & Joe Sanfilippo (48, 43, and 44 from Gloucester, MA). Gus and Nino are brothers and Joe is their cousin. All three are crew on the fishing boat Captain Dominic.

- The Football Players: Akbar Gbaja-Biamila (31, Los Angeles, CA. Broadcaster), Robert Ortiz (27, Solana Beach, CA. Business Owner), and Ricky Sharpe (31, Costa Mesa, CA. Health and Fitness Consultant). All three are former professional football players who first met while playing for San Diego State University.

- Grandpa's Warriors: Dick, Steven & Samantha Smith (69, 48, and 23). Store managers from Illinois. Samantha is Steven's daughter, Dick is Steven's father.

- The Gypsies: John Post (25, Pensacola Beach, FL. Sustainable Farmer), Taylor Filasky (31, San Diego, CA. Video Producer), and Eric Bach (26, San Francisco, CA. Entrepreneur)

- Latin Persuasion: Dashia Imperiale (44, New York, NY. Fitness Instructor), Raven Garcia (30, Bronx, NY. Freelance Writer), and Mai Reyes (38, New York, NY. Manager). Friends and co-workers.

- Mom's Army: Eleanor "Ellie" Vanderbeck (52, Reading, PA. Bookkeeper), Ruthie Vanderbeck (28, Reading, PA. Realtor), and Abbie Vanderbeck (30, Norwalk, CT. Nanny). Army sisters Ruthie and Abbie are Ellie's daughters.

- New York Firemen: Kevin "Fathead" Coursey (39), Rob Keiley (34), and Mike Egan (34). Firefighters from New York.

- No Limits: Erik Weihenmayer (42, Golden, CO. Motivational Speaker/Writer), Jeff Evans (41, Boulder, CO. Motivational Speaker/Physician Assistant), and Aaron "Ike" Isaacson (33, Topeka, KS. Soldier). Jeff is Erik's climbing guide on mountaineering expeditions. Erik is blind.

- Team Kansas: Lindsey Haymond (27, Houston, TX. Teacher), Kelsey Fuller (22, Overland Park, KS. Student), and Mackenzie Fuller (18, Overland Park, KS. Student). Sisters from Kansas.

They'll have to have courage, teamwork, and character to survive this tour... And we start with an area of Morocco guarded by... local Berber warriors. Nice. With their blessing, we're off. Remember: "Choose your companions before choosing the road." That's important, because if one team member quits, the entire team is out.

The rules are simple: the race is divided into 10 stages, each with a series of checkpoints leading to a finish line. The last team to cross the finish line of a stage is eliminated. The team that crosses the finish line at the end of stage 10 will win $50,000 and a Ford Explorer for EACH team member!

Worth playing for?

First up, a trip to the sand dune, then look west for your first checkpoint... a camel outpost.

And with the Berber's gunfire... the Expedition... IS ON!

It is 95 degrees out, and the teams are wishing that they worked out a little bit more. Each team is on their own set of trekking poles, and that helps them get to the top of the dune. First up... the Gypsies. They arrive at the first checkpoint and get this clue...

To survive a journey across the unforgiving desert, you're going to need the right camping equipment AND three camels. You must select three camels for your journey and load them with bedding and firewood before heading off to your next checkpoint, located at the Lone Palm camp.

And 10 minutes in, and we already have a team mixing languages up. Last I heard Arabic was not French.

Camels are known to be a) the "ships of the desert" and b) stubborn as a mule. Getting one to cooperate is a challenge. Getting three... is good television.

Back on the dune, it's 100 degrees. Chad of the Country Boys and Mai of the Latinas are starting to feel the pressure. They're going to have to dig deep or else they're done. Chad pushes himself up the dune.

It's 105, and the Gypsies, Fab 3, and Football Players are in the lead, but No Limits is catching up. In the back, Grandpa's Warriors, Mom's Army, and Latin Persuasion, who are currently in last place. And with their ability to put arguing first and teamwork last, rightly so.

All of the teams head out on their camels to the Lone Palm. No Limits and Fab 3 are the first to arrive at...

Find water the local way! All the materials you need are here. To complete this challenge you must have one full J-jug of water before leaving this checkpoint.

Where to find the water in 107 degree heat? Fab 3 figure out that the best water would be in the sand. So they start digging. The Gypsies are the first to help out. One by one, the teams dig until the Fab 3 hits a spring! And the Football Players arrive at the hole and do the only honorable thing... take a bit for themselves. Fab 3 is the first to complete the challenge.

The next step, leaving their camels behind and climbing the rocky terrains of the Todra Mountains, where they will find their next clue.

The leaving order: Fab 3, Football Players, No Limits, and the Gypsies. The middle teams are taking full advantage of the holes that the lead teams have left behind.

And Latin Persuasion is still... Latin Explosion. The Country Boys are starting to keep pace, while the locals are starting to get irritated at Latin Persuasion. The only way they're going to get through the expedition is if they work together... Mai.

Meanwhile, we have three distinct groups - The leaders (Fab 3, Football Players, No Limits, and Gypsies), the middle pack (Fishermen, Cops, Kansas, NY Firemen, and California Girls), and those in the back (Mom's Army, Country Boys, Grandpa's Warriors, and in dead last, Latin Persuasion), almost an hour behind the others.

On the mountain, the teams are faced with inclines, loose rocks, and ever-changing terrain.

The lead teams find this clue...

What goes up must come down! Time to face your fears. The only way to get down from here is straight down 30 stories. Strap in and rappel down the face of the Todra Gorge - one of the highest rappels in Northern Africa. Once the entire team has reached the bottom, follow the dry riverbed to the next Checkpoint at the center of Snake Valley.

Gypsies are in the lead, and they cruise down the gorge wall easily. Fab 3... not so much. Kari has an unforeseen fear of heights that she must conquer. She did... and now her team are in second place. Akbar of the Football Players doesn't have that fear, so much as the fear of going backwards. He struggles, while Erik of No Limits easily makes it down.

Gypsies are the first to make it to...

To reveal the location of the Finish Line, you must watch the snake charmer's routine. Count the number of snakes revealed, and choose a box with the number of your choice outside. Choose wisely, and you will receive directions to the Finish Line.

And yes, the snakes are real.

The Gypsies think they've seen 11. If they are correct, they will trek five miles to the Finish Line. If not, they'll be sent 30 minutes off course until they see a "Wrong Way" sign.

So far, the number of choice is 11. No Limits go with 10 instead... Will it cost them the race?

Speaking of 10, Mom's Army reach the rock wall face. And Mom Ellie is starting to freeze. She finally gets down to the ground, though. Behind them, Latin Frustration, err, Persuasion. All of the teams, excluding Grandpa's Warriors, have finished the rappel.

The lead teams (except for No Limits) have picked the instructions in Box 11. No Limits went with 10. They... chose incorrectly.


The Gypsies are the first team to check in, giving them the win in Stage 1, followed by Fab 3 and the Football Players.

No Limits counts correctly the second time around, giving them fourth place.

Meanwhile, it's a race between Latin Persuasion and Grandpa's Warriors to avoid last place. Meanwhile, as the sun begins to set, Team Kansas, Fishermen, No Limits, and Country Boys cross, followed by NY Firemen, California Girls, Cops, and Mom's Army.

Only two teams remain. Who'll be the first to meet Dave at the Finish Line?

The sun has set, making the terrain that much more perilous. Grandpa sees flags, but he couldn't tell if they're last or next to last. ...

... They are NEXT to last! Which means that the Expedition is over for Latin Expulsion. Their constant bickering ends up costing them dearly. They won't be leaving tonight, though. They will be evacuated in the morning.

And as they leave on the chopper, the reality of the situation sets in for the remaining teams. If they're going to win, they're going to have to give it their all... and then some.

2) FAB 3

To see this episode in its entirety, go to hulu.com/expedition-impossible or visit the show page at abc.com/expeditionimpossible.