The last 24 hours has been very rough on the racers and changed the entire outlook of the Quest. If you have been following the Quest on Facebook, you know how scary it got for a bit.
Hugh Neff left Central at 4 am this morning. They sent out snowmachines to look for him at about 5 pm when he hadn't yet reached the 101 Dog Drop. The summit was reported as clear for short periods of time and then fierce blowing winds. Temperatures were bitterly cold through out the day.
Dan Kaduce, who was the next musher to leave Central, ran into problems as well. He and Hugh were found at the treeline just before the summit, but indicated that they were okay and about to attempt the summit again. They did, but both teams turned back around, refusing to continue up Eagle Summit. Sebastian Schnuelle said that when he passed them, Hugh laughed and said, "I knew it would be you!" When Ken Anderson passed them, he tried to help get Hugh's team over the summit, but again, they turned around.
Ok, as I was writing this Bridgett called. It gets even crazier. First the good news. Allen looks fabulous. The team looks great. He is heading out as I am writing this. He did have to drop Viper as we thought. There is a window right now with the weather. Although it is still cold, the wind is calm over Eagle Summit and down towards Central. Allen is gunning for that window.
The crazy news is that it was Bridgett that helped Dan Kaduce when he arrived back in Central. He had waved down a car on the Steese Highway to get back to Central. A judge and a vet used the SP Kennel truck to head back to where Dan had staked out his team along the road. They picked up Dan's team, Hugh and Hugh's team and took them to 101. To put this in context, any outside assistance withdraws you from the race. In order for two VERY tough men and two teams of VERY tough Alaskan Huskies to ask for help, it had to be a life or death matter. All we can say at the moment is that both mushers are safe and they and their dogs are in 101.
Back to the race, Sebastian is still resting at 101 after being the first musher to make the summit. Ken Anderson went through at about 8 pm AST and then Dallas Seavey went through about 9 pm AST. The rumor, though not released by the Quest, is that Ken forgot to sign out of 101, which, if true, would be a 2 hour penalty.
As the Quest Turns!