Emergency Beacon

Dear Friends,

It’s been tough for those still on the trail. Some of you may have wondered what was taking so long  to go 77 miles from White Mountain to Nome. Three mushers have scratched due to a severe ground storm with high winds past White Mountain.  That region has wind tunnels which have affected multiple mushers.  Having come so far on a difficult race, disappointment has to be huge for them.  

You may have read that a musher “activated the emergency beacon.”  Each musher carries a tracking device, usually pinned to the sled bag in a dog bootie.  The emergency beacon is a button that will contact help if a musher has an emergency.  People driving snow machines will come to assist.  Mushers think long and hard before pushing that button, as the rules say you must scratch from the race if you call for help. Gerhardt Thiart had an injury to his leg and had to activate his emergency beacon for help.  

Tracking device and emergency beacon pinned to the sled bag in dog booties

The rescue teams also make sure the dogs make it safely back to a checkpoint until they can be transported home.  

This is one of the hard things about the race.  Sometimes disappointment comes, but having the ability to call for help is very important in the wild weather of Alaska.  That’s what makes even finishing the race to Nome amazing.  We hope those mushers and their teams will get to run the race again in the future.  

Until next time,