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13 Posts

Posted - 05/16/2010 :  10:56:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good topic Duane. I have run many races over the years from 4 miles to 1000 miles. I do grant that there may be a need for some mandatory gear on a race that is a continuous format race that will take you far from the checkpoints. This gear should be for safety of dogs and mushers. For example: Cold weather sleeping bag(a for-real bag, not the snoopy bags I see in many sleds) first aid kit, booties, and a knife. I have never used or known anyone to use the snowshoes on a race, even when it snowed 2 feet in 24 hours in the 2000 tustumena. I think that originally the iditarod started those requirements when teams took 3-4 weeks to finish and they would get stranded between checkpoints. A race that is less than a day should require a sled bag, a knife, a hook, and a snubline that can be tied off to an object. The rest of the stuff should be at the mushers discretion. People are allowed to do all sorts of foolish things in this world, and sometimes going out on the trail with less stuff than you need may be a good way for someone to learn a valuable life lesson.
When I ran Iditarod I never ever unpacked or used my snowshoes, my axe, my sleeping bag. I sure will not need them in a race that is smaller in mileage than the fur rondy.
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155 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  11:09:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've only been in sprint races, but as both a musher and volunteer Search and Rescue member, I will add my two cents worth.

I is not a great scene finding a stranded snowmobiler in a snowstorm with no hat and his socks on his hands because he was all messed up from hypothermia.

In a whiteout a musher could get lost even on a marked trail, or they could have a crash, bad dog fight, injury, lost team or team quitting on them. An unprepared musher caught out with avoidable hypothermia, frostbite, or with their dogs suffering, would give a race bad press.

I imagine if a team is a few hours overdue, it would be searched for by snowmobile. However, being prepared for an unexpected night out wouldn't be a bad idea. I know mushers don't appreciate being coddled, but without a good screen to keep out the few unprepared folks, there should be mandatory gear.

I would recommend that all the mandatory gear be brought to the race site, but that the race marshall can reduce what is actually carried in the sled if the weather is good. A pre-race inspection should be a must, including weighing any dog food. I would highly recommend the following gear be mandatory, and most of this doesn't weigh much:

Fair weather:
knife (and wire cutter if using metal gangline)
a whistle that doesn't freak the dogs out
small folding saw or hatchet
waterproof and windproof matches/lighter and dryer lint/birchbark for fire starting
dog booties
chemical handwarmers
extra hat, gloves and socks in a large ziploc bag without holes
first aid kit
snub line
space blanket (should be worn around torso, under outer clothes, as close to the skin as possible)
a large orange garbage bag (to be worn over top of everything, with just a tiny hole cut for breathing if it is cold or snowing. It keeps the heat in, precip out and doubles as a signal device)

The smaller items should be on the body of the musher in pockets or a fanny pack.

If it gets dark or precipitation is forecast within 2 hours of the anticipated finish of the last team add:
a tarp, about 8X10 feet and 30 feet strong string or thin rope to make a shelter
sleeping bag
one meal of dog food per dog
1 L or quart of water and a few granola bars or equivalent
a small metal container for melting snow
24 h dose of any required medication

I've never seen this on any equipment list, but it would be a good idea to have a picture of your loved ones. It would help with the psychological aspects of getting stranded.

I would forgo requiring a full sized axe or snowshoes.

Mushers should be encouraged to stay put and signal if they are lost or stranded rather than trying to walk out.

Our Search and Rescue team does a lot of work with public events and sports events, including rowing regattas, triathlons and X-country ski races, where we bring all the people and gear to evacuate injured people to an ambulance. It would not be a bad idea to have a SAR team on standby at a sled dog race. They can double as first aiders for the folks around the start and finish line.
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375 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  11:39:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"I've never seen this on any equipment list, but it would be a good idea to have a picture of your loved ones. It would help with the psychological aspects of getting stranded."

What do you need a picture for? Your going to be stranded out there with them! (It's a joke, for those that take me seriously)

Doug Soles

"What is right is not always popular, and what is popular is not always right."

Northern Dream Dog Sledding
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414 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2010 :  10:01:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Right on Doug;probably you have the majority with you anyway.

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321 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2010 :  11:26:54 AM  Show Profile  Visit REDHEAD's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Remember Craftsbury... we were required to carry a photo of our true companion!

- Rhonda

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414 Posts

Posted - 05/21/2010 :  9:26:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Forgot about that Rhonda, could never figure that one out; don't tell my wife but I always took a picture of one of my dogs.

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1484 Posts

Posted - 05/24/2010 :  3:53:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by iwai

As a matter of fact Snowshoes are important...they do make a comfy bench...

Another use for snowshoes provided by Joe May:

Judy Bergemann
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