Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2009 Course

The course for the 2009 Wilderness Classic looks like it'll be a great one. It's the same route that was used in 1994-1996 for the Donnelly to McKinley Village route and then it also covers some of the same ground as the Mentasta to McKinley Village route in 1985-1987. The Mentasta to McKinley Village route was so long and hard on the feet that everyone agreed it shouldn't be done again.

It seemed like the standard Donnelly to McKinley Village course was too short and easy at 140 miles so this year 40-50 miles was added by making the start of the race at the Gerstle River, where it crosses the Alcan Highway. This will definitely make it more difficult and since there's a mandatory checkpoint at Black Rapids where it crosses the Richardson Highway, the temptation to drop out will be very strong.

Imagine that you've just covered the first 45 miles of the race over mountains and through boggy forest in 24 hours, you've only had 2 hours of sleep and you stagger to the Black Rapids checkpoint where people are car camping and drinking beer around a campfire. You're not really going to want to cross the freezing cold Delta River in your packraft and continue another 140 miles through the wilderness. The pull of a warm sleeping bag and cold beer will be strong.

I'll write more about this route in a bit, but in the meantime, here's a link with some great information on the route.

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