12 pm Update:
Halfway through the 1,000-mile sled-dog race, and more than a third of the mushers have left the 2018 Yukon Quest.
Severin Cathry was the latest to do so officially. However, he is still on the trail. The Swiss rookie was in last position when he pressed the SOS button on his race-tracking device at 6:40 pm (PST) last night.
According to Race Marshal Doug Harris, an EMT and a veterinarian responded to the call and determined both Cathry and his dog team were in fit condition to continue should they wish.
“The musher decided that he was going to mush into Dawson City. So he rested at Clinton Creek hospitality cabin, and now he’s en route from there to Dawson, which would be perhaps a 60-mile run at the most, and I think the last time I looked he was at probably mile 42 of that.”
Per Quest rules, if the SOS button is activated during the race, the musher and team must be withdrawn. Harris declined to speculate on Cathry’s decision to push the button.
Veterinary staff will examine the remains of Hugh Neff’s dog, Bobby, whose death was announced this morning. Harris says a more detailed examination will be conducted after the Quest to determine the cause of death.
Neff told Harris of his intention to scratch from the race before Bobby’s death:
“About noon yesterday he was at the Clinton Creek hospitality cabin, and he had access to a satellite phone, and he contacted me. He mentioned he was running a younger team of dogs and that his intention was to take a long rest there and then continue into Dawson City, and he would probably be scratching once he got to Dawson City.”
Neff called Harris again this morning to inform him Bobby had died. According to Harris, Bobby was one of the older, veteran dogs on Neff’s team.
Allen Moore is so far the only musher to have completed his 36-hour layover in Dawson City. He hit the trail again at 8:30 (PST) this morning.
All but two of the 17 remaining mushers have checked into Dawson City.
Image at top: Hugh Neff and his team during the 2015 Kobuk 440. Photo: Francesa Fenzi/KNOM.