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NEWS DEUTSCH

Total North – our partner for satellite communication

Total North will be our partner for satellite communication at the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2019. For years this local specialist company has been providing satellite phones for our crew and it’s great to have them on board once again.

Whilst in Whitehorse and places like Carmacks, Pelly Crossing and Dawson City cell phones work just fine. However, in between there is no cell phone coverage. So, for a race like the MYAU there is no way around using sat phones for communcating from trail or remote checkpoint to race HQ. It is vital for the overall race safety and great to be able to count on the reliable phones and perfect service provided by Total North.

Total North also rent out to athletes. And I strongly recommend any athlete doing an ultra distance to have a sat phone. The SPOT is great for communicating a status but all we get is a „Help“, „Okay“ or „911“. A race participant will not be able to get across any further details using a Generation 3 SPOT. Here a sat phone can not only be a back-up (in case the SPOT fails) but you can actually tell race HQ exactly what is going on.

If you want to rent a sat phone please find the form here:

Sat Phone Rental Form – Total North

With the MYAU and Yukon Quest both leaving from Whitehorse and plenty of athletes on the race roster I do recommend you reserve your phone rather sooner than later.

And please remember, anything that runs with batteries can fail! This is also true for sat phones. So, your number one goal needs to be to stay out of trouble in order to not have to rely on any battery powered technology.

Update on Training Courses

I updated the information on training courses you can take in the Yukon to prepare yourself for the MYAU.

Once again next year there is the course that is organized by Jo and Stewart Stirling. This course will take place for the third time and it is based at Scuttlebutt Lodge, just a few miles away from our 100 mile finish line at Braeburn Lodge. The timing of this 4-day course allows athletes to participate in it and then do the race right afterwards.

The second course is organized by Shelley Gellatly and she has got the support of friends like Jessie Thomson-Gladish and Gillian Smith. This course is now also 4 days long, has got the same timeline and also takes place just before the race. It will be based at the Takhini Hot Springs Hostel.

The reason why there now are two multi-day courses is simple. For a course to be really good, the number of participants needs to be limited. Due to high demand it made sense to have two possible and more extensive courses. That way there should be enough training capacity and we won’t have to turn anybody away who wants to sign up but does not have sufficient experience, yet.

Both courses are also open to athletes who want to participate in other cold weather races. Of course it is possible to come to the Yukon and do a course one year and participate in the MYAU in another year. In case you prefer to do it in two trips.

For more information on the courses please go to the Training Courses info section.

Books to read

As part of preparing for the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra it makes sense to read books about cold weather races and adventures. There are some books that actually deal with the MYAU itself. In our facebook group I asked what books people found useful in their preparations. The suggestions that were made are now featured in our FAQ section.

MYAU 2019 findet vom 3. bis 16. Februar statt

Fast alle Inhalte auf der arctultra.de Website wurden jetzt für den Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2019 aktualisiert. Start ist am 3. Februar in Whitehorse. Das ist einen Tag nachdem die Schlittenhundeteams des Yukon Quest in Richtung Norden aufbrechen.

Nächstes Jahr haben wir zudem wieder eine 430 Meilen-Strecke. Das Zeitlimit für diese Distanz ist 13 Tage. Somit dauert der MYAU bis 16. Februar. Außerdem stehen ein Marathon, 100 und 300 Meilen zur Auswahl.

Die Formulare zur Anmeldung sind jetzt fertig. Wer mich schon kontaktiert hat, bekommt die Unterlagen zeitnah per Email.

Bei Interesse an einer Teilnahme reicht ein kurzer Anruf, oder eine Email. Wie immer, werden die Teilnahmegebühren in zwei Schritten nach oben gehen. Wenn du also schon sicher bist, dass du in 2019 mit dabei sein möchtest, melde dich vor 31. Mai an. Denn danach werden die Startgebühren teurer und ein weiteres Mal nach Ende August.

Donation for Little Footprints, Big Steps

The MYAU marathon participants ran approximately 780 km this year. As promised, per km 1 CAD goes to Little Footprints, Big Steps. I have rounded up the total and just made a donation of CAD 1,000. I am sure Morgan and her team can do many useful things with this money. Thank you to all marathoners for contributing with your great effort on February 1st!

Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2018 final report

Well, where should I start with my final report after a race like this? It is the same procedure as every year I guess, by me saying: “Every MYAU is different and once again we faced new challenges and situations we have not been faced with before”. We had cold temperatures before but this constant cold of – 35 to – 45 degrees Celsius, that was new. No time to relax a little bit. Athletes constantly had to really focus on all aspects involved when trying to stay warm. On day 1 things looked very good. All except one marathon runner finished. And that is quite something! A marathon in these temperatures, with only hot water or tea at the half way mark and self sufficiency on food. That is a big time achievement. So, congratulations to all participants! Like last year 1 CAD per km run will be to the charity Little Footprints. Big Steps.
The ultra athletes all looked good at the marathon finish which premiered at Muktuk Adventures. Pure luxury for the athletes who were actually allowed to go inside a warm building and eat and drink there. In past years we were at Rivendell Farm, a great place, too. However, going inside was not possible. Once again thank you to the entire Muktuk Adventure team for hosting us and making it such a great experience.
It was the first night when the problems began for some. Especially the cold areas just off the Takhini River hurt our participants. Unfortunately, that night also brought us the first cases of frostbite. And it is so difficult to imagine how quickly this happens if you have not been in this kind of cold before. One wrong decision and it hits you before you know it. Temperatures got so cold that we were experiencing difficulties with machinery. Generators broke, ski-doos did not start and with cars/trucks it was not much easier. When we knew that going on the trail would be impossible for the guides, the race came to a halt. Once all repairs were taken care of, we continued. Unfortunately, on the way to Dog Grave Lake and Braeburn, many athletes had to scratch. Our 100 mile race saw 4 finisher and they all arrived looking good. Congratulations to Emanuele Gallo (Italy), Peter Mild (Sweden), Tomas Jelinek (Germany) and Michelle Smith (UK)!
For the 300 milers the suffering continued. Night after night is was extremely cold. I think a very important message was sent by Frode  Lein (Norway) and Asbjorn Bruun (Denmark) when they slowed right down after Braeburn to stay hydrated and dry. It meant that they had no more chance to make the Carmacks cut-off. But sometimes the MYAU turns more into an expedition during which survival really has to be the priority. Yes, a DNF is never easy to accept but if it helps to avoid cold injuries, it’s the better option. Of course that is easier said than done. Almost everything has to be in one’s favour in order to avoid frostbite in these temperatures. Perfect gear, knowing how to use it, changing layers, keeping dry, hydrating and eating, resting and so on. It all has to come together. Like some athletes said, it becomes a process of “continuous problem solving”.
Pretty soon we had only 3 athletes left in the 300 mile race. Jethro de Decker from South Africa, Ilona Gyapay from Canada and Roberto Zanda from Italy. All of them were going strong and looked good when leaving Carmacks. Unfortunately, Roberto got into trouble about half way to McCabe. He was rescued to safety and I would like to thank the entire team, especially Glenn and Spencer Toovey who were out there, found him and did everything right. Also a big thank you to Jo and Diane who helped me with the co-ordination of the rescue. Furthermore, thank you to the RCMP, EMS, helicopter crew and the hospital staff in Whitehorse. I visited Roberto today and he is on his way to recovery. He actually said that he wants to be back!
Jethro had already left for Pelly Farm, when Ilona arrived in Pelly Crossing. Finally, frostbite had gotten a hold of her fingertips, too. Being a xc-skier in the Northwest Territories she was not surprised. She had been more afraid for her feet but these were fine. Nonetheless, her race was over. Her achievement is incredible, though. I have never seen a xc-skier move this fast on the Quest trail. Maybe Enrico Ghidoni but I would have to compare the times to be sure. Jethro in the meantime just kept on going. All smiles and somehow immune to the cold. It has to be said that Jethro had been here before. He participated in Stewart’s survival course and learned some valuable lessons the first time around. This time he got it all down to an art and finished in Pelly Farm. I am positive he could have easily gone back to Pelly Crossing but we did decide to stop the 300 miles at the farm. Congratulations Jethro for getting this far in these kind of conditions!
Thank you to all athletes for having come to the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2018. I hope to see you all again – be it in the Yukon or another ultra adventure!
Thank you to this great crew – on the trail and at the checkpoints! Diane, Julie, Jo, Anja, Martine, Medina, Tania, Branka, Shelley, Richard, Peter, Gavin , Tom, James, Pamela, Stewart, Gary (Young), Gary (Vantell) and Gary (Rusnak), Josh, Joe, Glenn, Spencer, Tony, Robert and Ross. Thank you also to Gillian, Bernard and Hector who took care of the Ken Lake checkpoint.
Thank you to our sponsors Montane, Primus, Yukon Tourism and the many local supporters like Muktuk Adventures, Braeburn Lodge, Carmacks Rec Centre, Kruse family, Selkirk First Nations, Sue and Dale from Pelly Farm, Coast Mountain Sports, Fraserway, Driving Force, Coast High Country Inn,  Total North and Atlin Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Jethro de Decker is our winner

Jethro De Decker arrived at Pelly Farm 03:45 this morning. He is perfectly fine and could have easily gone back to Pelly Crossing. However, we decided to make the farm our finish line. This means Jethro is our one and only finisher for the longest distance.

Ilona had also reached Pelly Crossing later last night. She had impressed us with her incredible skills on xc-skis and I will be honest, I never thought it was possible to move this fast with xc-skis on the trail we have (this is not a xc-ski track!) and in these kind of temperatures. I guess it did help that Ilona is from the Northwest Territories. So, she knew exactly what to expect. However, even to her the frostbite caught up on this last stretch and she had to stop. She herself was very surprised that it was actually her fingertips and not her toes where she was expecting it more to happen.

In the meantime, Roberto Zanda had to be brought to hospital. His frostbite is more severe and he will get treatment for several days. So far I have no further news. I am not sure if I can talk to him today. If it is possible and he want to let everyone know how he is doing I will share it with all of you.

It was a tough year. For the athletes and the crew. Later on today I will write a longer statement/summary. An important part of my summary will be my thoughts on the many cases of frostbite we have had this year. I would like to invite all this year’s participants to share their thoughts with me and everybody else following us here or on facebook. I will likely get a lot of questions in the next few days as to why we do what we do, what we thing about this extreme cold and so on? And I can of course only guess what you, the athletes, think. Some feedback I already got and it was very positive. But I have not spoken to everyone. If you want you can email me or send a private message on facebook.

Jethro de Decker reaches McCabe

At 16:05 Jethro de Decker reached our McCabe checkpoint. Temperatures are still around – 40 degrees Celsius. He has got no frostbite and looked good when coming into the CP. He is now resting and was planning on heading out again soon.

The crew checked on Ilona in the afternoon and they said she was really enjoying it. She should be in McCabe soon. Roberto Zanda in the meantime is closing the gap a bit and will be in McCabe in the early morning hours if he continues at his current speed.

Further back Frode and Asbjorn had to stop their race as they could not make the cut-off time.  I admire their decision to rest, dry gear and hydrate. It meant they lost valuable time but they do not have a single problem. They made the conscious decision to be slow but safe. Rather than pushing and possibly getting in trouble. That probably was not easy. They got a ride with Bernard and Hector back to Whitehorse.

Ania, Martine and James are waiting for the athletes in McCabe and the rest of the crew will be in Pelly Crossing over night.

300 mile race down to 5 athletes

Like on all the other days we have seen temperatures down to – 40 degrees Celsius during the day. In all 14 previous races we have not had anything like that. For the athletes it meant still no chance to „relax“ but a continuous worry about always doing everything right.

When Jovica reached Ken Lake we received the news shortly after that he can’t continue. As was the case with so many others, frostbite finally got him. He is now back in Whitehorse where he will start treatment and recovery.

In the meantime Jethro de Decker reached Carmacks and Ilona Gyapay is only a short distance away. Roberto Zanda is 17 miles out and should make the Carmacks cut-off (as he is getting time credit for Dog Grave Lake). Frode Lein and Asbjorn Bruun reached Ken Lake. They get a time credit, too. However, they may not get to Carmacks in time.

If you want to see some more new photos, please have a look at our gallery which was just updated.