Yukon Quest

The Yukon Quest, officially the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, is a 1984 vision was to start long-distance sled dog race that stretches over approximately 1000 miles ( 1600 km ) through Alaska and Canada between Fairbanks ( Alaska) and Whitehorse ( Canada). The race takes place every year in February; in even-numbered years, it leads from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, in years with odd numbers in the reverse direction.

The Yukon Quest is reminiscent of the historical role of the trail in the study of American and Canadian North, and to the gold prospectors, trappers and postman who opened up the country without the help of modern means of transport.

It is considered the hardest or heaviest dog sled race in the world and competes with the Iditarod, which is considered to be the longest sled dog race. Participation is subject to the condition that the musher and his team to a " self-sufficient unit " is that is able to accept the challenge of hostile environmental conditions in a variety of terrain.

In the Yukon Quest in 2011, which was launched on 5 February in Whitehorse, drove on 15 February, the 23 -year-old Yukon Quest rookie Dallas Seavey, a first in the goal of Fairbanks. Makes him the youngest winner of all time. Sebastian Schnuelle was second with a distance of 33 minutes. The last participants arrived four days later.


Although the first Yukon Quest in 1984 took place, but it has its origins in the days of the Klondike Gold Rush in the second half of the 19th century. The Yukon River, with over 3 000 km, the ninth largest waterway in the world, it was the fastest and most important connection between the Klondike River in the Yukon and the gold claims in the interior of Alaska. Where the gold seekers were successful, created settlements, such as Circle City, Forty Mile, and over time, cities like Fairbanks or Dawson. Whitehorse was an important trading center for the supplies of gold seekers.

To maintain the connection between the individual settlements, we used the frozen river as a transportation route, especially as Postdienstweg by dogsled. Post an entrepreneur, as Percy de Wolf and Charlie Biedermann, carried the cargoes by dog sled from Eagle ( Alaska ) to Dawson and to the smaller settlements, throughout the year, in any weather and at temperatures down to -50 ° C. It is a way of " Trail " that ran from Fairbanks in Alaska over a mountain range to Circle City, from there along the Yukon River to Dawson and another mountain range to Whitehorse developed.

With the emergence in the 20th century, aircraft transports, which supplemented the railway routes newly created, the dog sled could no longer compete soon and so the rides were less and less, until they were all set. The last official trip took place in 1963. The historic trail would be forgotten, if not the beginning of the year 1983, the Chemical Engineering from Fairbanks had developed Roger Williams and his colleagues LeRoy Shank, Ron Rosser and Willie Libb the Yukon Quest. The first race was held on 25 February 1984 and was won by Sonny Lindner.


Already in the 1970s, it was thought repeatedly about it in Alaska to establish another sled dog race as an alternative to the existing long-distance sled dog race Iditarod. They decided to call the race " Yukon Quest " to provide the previously enormous significance of the Yukon River in the foreground, which was also called the "Highway of the North". "Quest" is the English name given to a Sweetheart (and sense ) seeking.


The race takes place every year in February. An odd annual figures, runs from Whitehorse to Fairbanks, on even-numbered years in the reverse direction, from Fairbanks to Whitehorse. The route follows the historic route of the Klondike Gold Rush, which runs largely parallel to today's Klondike Highway. The route over frozen rivers, four ridges and lying through isolated settlements. In some sections there are crevasses. The temperature falls this time of year up to -60 ° F (-51 ° C), the wind can at a higher altitude speeds of 50 miles per hour take (80 km / h) and more.

The distance is about 1016 miles ( 1635 km ), the race lasts, depending on the weather and condition of the mushers and their teams, ten to 14 days.

Whitehorse - Braeburn

( Distance: 160 km, time: an average of 12 to 18 hours )

The start line is located on First Avenue in Whitehorse, near the White Pass and Yukon Route building, which now houses the Yukon Quest Management. The trail leads initially to streets, then through wooded areas with slopes and sharp curves. Even at temperatures of -30 ° C or even lower, some sites may be covered with knee-deep water. Then there is a source or a river has broken the ice. This phenomenon is called " overflow" and is typical for this first part, even if it also occurs on the other.

The first control point is Braeburn Lodge, where many mushers still not insert a pause

Other sections

The other sections of Braeburn lead to Pelly Crossing 124 km, from there to Dawson about 323 km further to Eagle (237 km), from there to Central (375 km) and finally Two Rivers (85 km) to Fairbanks.

Changes in route

The route from 1984 was different than it is today. There was only one dog change position and that at mile 101 instead of the through driving of Braeburn Lodge went the route 60 miles ( 97 km) wide between Whitehorse and Minto over Lake Laberge. Originally there was a checkpoint near Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks. This breakpoint was moved near Angel Creek after mushers had complained that the hot springs represented a danger that the dogs were wet, which in the extreme temperatures posed a health risk for them. 1994, the control points were Biedermann 's Cabin ( Slaven 's Cabin replaced ) and McCabe Creek inserted. In 1995, the target point in Whitehorse was moved from Lake Laberge near the Takhini River, there was a route change at King Solomon 's Dome to the south of Dawson and the introduction of a dog change position at Scroggie Creek on the banks of the Stewart River. In 1996 the route was led by Pelly Crossing, where another checkpoint was set up; the Lake Laberge - range was replaced by a path through Braeburn and along the Dawson - Whitehorse Overland Trail. In 1997, the mushers were diverted because of the dam project Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project on the City of North Pole, Alaska, before it went on to Fairbanks. This redirection was repealed in 2009, the route now led instead by Two Rivers. 2010 Dogs exchange has been set up to a full checkpoint at Mile 101.


The musher must carry their own equipment on the sled and have no outside help ( except other mushers ) are obtained. Only in Dawson, where about the middle distance is a forced break must be inserted several hours. The mushers have the individual control points at which they may be stored provisions happen and must not deviate from the predetermined paths. When rule violations they risk a penalty in the form of a forced break, a reduction in the premium victories or, at worst, result in disqualification.

The musher may carry for survival between the control points up to 250 pounds (113 kg) of equipment and food for themselves and their animals. You may at the checkpoints and other designated places ( dog drops - dogs exchange offices ) to leave dogs, but not replace. The slides are also not to be replaced.

Help the mushers may only assume from other participants, except in Dawson, the site of forced break.

At all checkpoints and dogs exchange offices veterinarians to ensure the health of the animals and take care of abandoned dogs. At each checkpoint, the race director or racing judges are present; they are entitled to take dogs for medical or other reasons, dropping out of the race.


The winner of the first race of the 1984 Sonny Lindner in a field of 26 teams. The longest race took place in 1988 when Ty Halvorson came after 20 days, 8 hours and 29 minutes last through the target. As the first woman won Aliy Zirkle in 2000 the race in 10 days, 22 hours and 57 minutes. 2007 Lance Mackey was the first musher won both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod Trail, a feat he could repeat the following year. He was also the first to have won the Yukon Quest four times. Hans Gatt, it became the first three times, 2010, he also scored his fourth victory. In the race of 2009, two teams came almost simultaneously to the finish, Sebastian Schnuelle beat the second-placed Hugh Neff, only four minutes. The fastest race took place in 2010, as a native of Austria Hans Gatt aufstellte the new record time of 9 days and 26 minutes. So far, the recent winner is the winner of 2011, the 23 -year-old Yukon Quest rookie Dallas Seavey.


  • For the description of the route was, inter alia, the report by Klaus Scherer: The Curse of the Yukon - by dogsled guides across Alaska. (NDR ) was used.