Monday, 14 February 2011

A total lack of envy

Where last year's Yukon Quest's weather was unusually mild and fair, this year has been more par for the course - varying degrees of brutal. When I read about Hans Gatt going through the overflow, it sent shivers down my back (and not because it's cold inside). I've seen that situation before, and rarely does it end well for the person who goes through - especially in this weather. Right now, the remaining teams are headed for Eagle Summit.

The thing you need to know about Eagle Summit is that as brutal as the low-laying areas can be - it's -50F in the village of Eagle right now - Eagle Summit is worse. It's got all the cold, plus torrential winds that eat through everything. It's not uncommon for the air to be so thick with blowing snow that you turn into a walking snowman, but there to be so little snow on the trail that your snowgo is bumping and scraping the whole way. I've been caught out in a groundstorm out there before, and really the only thing you can do is hide down behind whatever passes for shelter, and wait it out. Some clever soul described the weather as "Visibility -10 feet:" Visibility is so low you not only don't know where you're going, but you have no idea where you've been.

With all due respect to the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest is the most difficult race to be had.

Dangit, I don't have any of my pictures of Eagle Summit on this computer. But just imagine some sort of winter-hellscape, and you're pretty close.

1 comment:

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