Front Kuskokwim 300 pack closes in on Kalskag

by Ben Matheson on January 18, 2014

Jeff King was the first musher to leave Kalskag heading towards Tuluksak.

Jeff King was the first musher to leave Kalskag heading towards Tuluksak.

Rohn Buser is expected to be the second musher to leave Kalskag and head towards Tuluksak.

Rohn Buser is expected to be the second musher to leave Kalskag and head towards Tuluksak.

Paul Gebhardt appears to be in third place as the first mushers depart Kalskag towards Tuluksak.

Paul Gebhardt appears to be in third place as the first mushers depart Kalskag towards Tuluksak.

Three past champions left Aniak within about 20 minutes of each other as the race advances downriver and mushers finish their mandatory rest hours. 2013 champion Jeff King was the first out at 2:36, followed four minutes later by Rohn Buser. Paul Gebhardt was out 17 minute minutes later. Both King and Buser rested four hours in Kalskag and one in Aniak. Gebhardt split his five hours of rest between three hours at Kalskag and two in Aniak.

All three of those teams must rest one more hour before leaving Kalskag inbound. The trail down the river from Aniak to Kalskag was reported earlier today to have shelf ice, open water, and overflow.

Norwegian Joar Ulsom appears to have banked his required six hours of rest: four in Kalskag and two in Aniak. He departed Aniak an hour and eleven minutes behind Gebhardt. Ulsom dropped four dogs in Aniak and is now running nine. Rounding out the top ten who have left Aniak, Cim Smyth, Pete Kaiser, Jake Berkowitz, Tony Browning, Martin Buser, and John Baker all chose to complete their 6 six hours before departing the checkpoint. The next required rest is four hours in Tuluksak before the final 50 miles into Bethel.

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