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Yukon Quest 2011 – Day 12 — Why Now?
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Yukon Quest 2011 – Day 12

Yukon Quest trail

Sled DogDallas managed to hang on and win by 33 minutes over Sab with Ken coming in third. Dallas is also the first “rookie” in, although he is a veteran of the Iditarod. The Official Finish time is 11:05PM AKST [2:05AM CST] for an elapsed time of 10 days 11 hours and 53 minutes and an average speed of 5.7 mph.

Ken came in with 7 dogs pulling and one in the sled because of a muscle cramp, but he picked up four ounces of gold as the first team to reach Dawson and finish the race. Hugh was the first into Dawson and Hans was second, but lost it when unable to finish.

Tamara Rose has a problem. She is down to 7 dogs, the minimum required to continue racing. If she loses another one, she will have to scratch. [Correction: you can technically continue with 6 dogs, but the question is: can you climb Eagle and Rosebud with 6?]

Hank DeBruin and his Siberian Huskies Johannes Rygh has the Red Lantern back at Circle.

Hank has the Red Lantern back, and Johannes Rygh has been withdrawn at Circle.

Kelley Griffin’s trip to the Finish was delayed for 30 minutes by a herd of caribou blocking the trail. Better caribou than moose.

The Quest has a lot of video up at Youtube of this year’s race. If you would like to see a really pretty dog team of purebred Siberian Huskies they have Mike Ellis and his huskies arrive in Mile 101 for a sunny rest.

That was “the thrill of victory”, but a day earlier in the same area, they have Sebastian Schnuelle climbs Eagle Summit. Note that he isn’t riding, he is pushing to get it up the hill. Also watch the dogs. They want to pull the sled. What happened to others was that the dogs wanted to turn their backs to the wind and dig into the snow, which is their natural survival instinct. Also note that it is Sab who needs the rest, not the dogs.


1 Dallas Seavey (3)I
2 Sebastian Schnuelle (11)
3 Ken Anderson (18)
4 Brent Sass (22)
5 Kelley Griffin (1)
6 Allen Moore (24)I

Beyond Mile 101

7 Jodi Bailey (17)R

At Mile 101

8 Mike Ellis (5)
9 David Dalton (23)

At Central

10 Tamara Rose (12)I
11 Jerry Joinson (21)R
12 Kyla Durham (14)R

Beyond Circle

13 Hank DeBruin (19)IΦ

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Yukon Quest, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, the small “I” indicates a Quest rookie who has competed in the Iditarod, and the small “R” indicates a total rookie.

Note: This post will be updated during the day, and the map changed on all posts to reflect the current situation.

All posts on the Yukon Quest can be seen by selecting “Yukon Quest” from the Category box on the right sidebar.


1 Tammi { 02.17.11 at 8:32 am }

Correction. The minimum number of dogs to finish the race is 6 dogs. Tamara is a veteranarian and knows what she’s doing. She’ll finish the race, unless something completely unmanagable pops up. 🙂

2 JuanitaM { 02.17.11 at 4:39 pm }

Thanks for the video links – the dogs are really beautiful. It’s refreshing that the Quest isn’t so protective of their filming the way the Iditarod is. You almost feel like you’re there (except for the minus degree weather and all).

Bryan, have you heard any more about what happened to the two dogs that died? I know it just breaks their heart when that happens.

Hope to have more time to keep up with the Iditarod next month. My puppies should be weaned and on their way to adoption by then. What a job keeping up with remains of the day! With my business and their poop, I’m getting frazzled.

3 Bryan { 02.17.11 at 11:37 pm }

I made the correction Tammi. My bad for thinking that you needed more than 6, rather than 6 or more. I wasn’t criticizing Tamara, but being a vet hasn’t stopped half her team being dropped because most of the time it is due to accidents too minor for anyone to notice. A dog cuts a ped on ice, or bangs their leg against something, etc. – there is no way to prevent it.

My concern was that after all she had been through, she might be prevented from finishing because another dog stepped wrong. If the team is feel a bit off, or cranky, it might not want to climb into the wind.

I have been tracking the weather as well as the race, and the current from was building. It looked like it would arrive today, and it did. If it had arrived a bit earlier, the back four might have faced hell on that mountain.

I have been stuck there on Steese Highway when I was in the military at Eielson. We went nowhere for hours in a 10X10 truck waiting for the winds to die so we could see where we were going and have some idea where the road was under the drifts. Topo maps are your friend in cases like that.

Last year’s Red Lantern, Jocelyne LeBlanc, made it from Dawson to Whitehorse with 7 dogs, but that was going the other way with only Solomon’s Dome to climb.

Juanita, the vets determined that Geronomo died of Aspiration Asphyxia, gulping his food and breathing some of it. My family lost a German Shepherd that way. Most dogs just don’t chew their food. They try to take bites that they can swallow, and sometimes they take too much and it blocks the airway or some of it enters the lungs.

There is still no official cause of death for Taco, but I think most people assume it was an unknown heart defect of some kind. You would think that with as many vet checks that Taco has undergone over the years at races and from the kennel, someone would have caught it, but there were apparently no symptoms to see.

Dogs deaths are very unusual for the Quest, when compared to the Iditarod. It may simply be that so many more dogs run the Iditarod, or that the Quest gets better dogs competing because of the fewer checkpoints requiring hardier dogs. Having veteran mushers lose seasoned dogs doesn’t make a lot of sense.

4 hipparchia { 02.20.11 at 1:11 am }

ellis’ siberians are absolutely gorgeous! as is the scenery in that video. almost makes me think that i could live in snow country, and maybe even like it. then along comes a little reminder, like that 2nd video, of why i live here in hurricane alley and am happy to do so.

malamutes are still my favorite of the sleddog breeds, but siberians really are the prettiest of all of them.

5 Bryan { 02.20.11 at 9:40 pm }

Yes, the blue eyes will get you, and the “Alaskan huskie” started as a cross between the Siberian and the Malamute, with other breeds introduced to provide the current characteristics. Malamutes are the Clydesdales of sled dogs, and have their own pulling events. They were certainly more suited to the freight hauling after the temperatures dropped below -20°.

Yeah, listening to the wind on the second video and knowing that it represented -60° wind chills, does take the fun out of sledding, which is why I report from the Gulf Coast.