“Race to the Midnight Sun”
World’s Toughest and Alluring Marathon Paddling Race – 715 km / 444 miles from Whitehorse to Dawson City, Yukon The 23rd YRQ dates are to be determined. Please check back in the beginning of September.
Dedicated to the memory of Ingrid Wilcox – Paddle On!
Ingrid’s favorite race photo of her paddling in 2011 with a lake sunset, image by Harry Kern
WHAT AN EPIC RACE! – That was a very fast river, eh! The course record and several other class RECORDS were broken despite head winds on the lake, several swims in the river (rapids were approaching Class 4), and a variety of wind and rain storms. Of the 105 teams that started the race, 62 teams finished the full YRQ, and 5 finished the new Half Quest. Our safety boat crews on the river and volunteers on shore worked overtime to make sure everyone survived (there were some close calls), along with the valuable help of paddlers out there and their support teams. Link to complete Results under the 2022 Race Tracker above, check out these great photos from Mark Kelly Photography, and keep tabs on our Facebook and Instagram accounts for more stories. Congrats to everyone involved in helping getting the Yukon River Quest back on the river in 2022!
Welcome to the official Yukon River Quest web site. The Yukon River Quest is an annual marathon paddling race. Paddlers come from around the world to test their endurance, racing day and night to the Klondike on one of North America’s great rivers. It is open to solo and tandem canoes and kayaks, solo stand-up paddle boards (SUP0, and bigger C4 and Voyageur canoes. Please fully explore our site for information on how to participate in this great event, whether as a racer, a member of a support crew, or as a volunteer. The Yukon River passes through Five First Nations on our race route: Kwanlin Dun, Ta’an Kwachan Council, Little Salmon/Carmacks, Selkirk, and Trondek Hwechin. Our race honours their culture and those who have lived off the river and nurtured it for centuries. To learn more about First Nations heritage on the river, see this River History from Yukon Schools. And for an in-depth account of Yukon First Peoples, read this ECHO (Ethnographic, Cultural, Historical Overview) handbook.
UPDATED PADDLER ADVISORY (06-16-22): Dear Racers, It is important that you clearly understand local conditions on the Yukon River and what that means should you choose to race.
- Flow levels are very high. This, along with the amount of debris, means that paddling conditions will be challenging
- Paddling from where the Teslin enters the Yukon River to Carmacks will be especially challenging; checkpoints are every 50-70 km and it will be difficult, if not impossible in some areas, to find places to pull off the water between checkpoints. If you planned to stop between checkpoints for bathroom breaks, for e.g., that may not be possible.
- We are particularly concerned with solo paddlers and strongly recommend buddying up with other teams during the race. We can help you find paddling buddies if necessary. This is especially important the first night when you travel past the Teslin River.
- Little Salmon checkpoint, around 250 paddling kms from Whitehorse, is the first checkpoint with road access where your support crew could pick you up. Remote checkpoints will not carry you out of the bush except in emergency situations (e.g., heart attacks, serious injury, etc)
- If you do not have strong paddling skills, wilderness experience and the ability to be completely self-sufficient for at least 24 hours, you should seriously reconsider paddling this year.
- There have been requests for deferrals and refunds. We appreciate this is a concern but do not want it to be a factor in your decision making. The board will discuss this after the race and will share their decision then.
While the race provides checkpoints with power boats, and tracks of each team, this does not guarantee that your team can be quickly reached in the event of an emergency. This is a wilderness event. Your own skills and experience are key, particularly this year. Thank you. Stephen Mooney, Race Marshall and Deb Bartlette, President and Assistant Race Marshall
HIGH WATER ADVISORY (06-14-22): After several days of heavy rain, water levels in the Yukon River and its tributaries are rising faster than anticipated. Fast flowing water with floating debris and “sweepers” can present challenges to even the skilled paddler. Competing in the YRQ under such conditions demands a high degree of care. Every team and each individual should self-assess whether they possess the required skills to compete this year. It is strongly recommended that only paddlers with significant skills and experience in fast-flowing water participate in the 2022 YRQ. – Stephen Mooney, Race Marshall and Deb Bartlette, President and Asst. Race Marshall
CARMACKS CP UPDATE (06-10-22): We’ve been closely monitoring conditions and trends for the last two weeks. Based on this, the Board has decided on some minor changes to the race format. We will not be using the Bridge Site at Carmacks. Instead, all teams will stop at Coalmine Campground. Minto remains unchanged and will be utilized as originally planned. The high water flow on the Yukon River does increase some risks. You’ll need to watch for debris in the water, larger boils and so on. As always, final instructions on procedures for the race will be provided at the racer briefings on Tuesday, June 21. See you in Whitehorse soon!
REGISTRATION UPDATE (06-02-22): Registration closed just before midnight on June 1, and we officially have 119 teams with 249 paddlers signed up to race on June 22. Check out the Racer Bios under the tab above and watch for a Press Release soon with team breakdowns and more information.
Registration opened in November. We had three registration openings to help us deal with an expanded field of 150 boats! Voyageurs and C4 boats began entering their teams on Nov. 1 at 14:00 Whitehorse time; tandem canoes and kayaks may on Nov. 8, and solo kayaks, canoes and SUPs on Nov. 15. Teams paid $50 at the start to get on a temporary pending wait list, and then were fully registered in March. See details in 2022 PRESS RELEASE. We also are now part of the Ultra Paddle League. Check out their YRQ Video on Facebook promoting the race. Registration closed on June 1, 2022. View our latest newsletters in NEWS and race updates on our Facebook page.
BE PREPARED – THIS IS A TOUGH WILDERNESS PADDLING RACE! READ RULES & RACER GUIDE: Become familiar with the full YRQ RULES (updated 04/22) and the new HALF QUEST RULES. Note: These COVID Rules are subject to change as we get closer to the race. Read the Preamble about what you will experience out there, and how to prepare for this tough wilderness race. Also check out the RACER GUIDE and various items under the RULES & PREPARATION drop-down menu above, such as following best practices on the river and while camping, how much food and fluids are needed to sustain you in a long river race, and other essential tips to help you finish; racer and support crew briefings; and our FAQs to learn more about navigation, insurance requirements, how to support your team at Carmacks, how to get back from Dawson, and more. Support crews need to become familiar with all of this information to help your team prepare and stay safe! Check out the SUPPORT CREWS link above.
CURRENT COVID HEALTH & TRAVEL MANDATES: Check often!
YRMPA AGM REPORT: BOARD ELECTIONS, RACE DIRECTOR HIRED – Our 2022 AGM was held via Zoom on November 24, 2021. The new executive is Deb Bartlette, president; Spencer Edelman, vp; Jason Beinsch, secretary; Lidwien Hanrath, treasure; Peter Coates, past president. Anne Jessup, Stan Fordyce and Stephen Mooney were re-elected to seats. Newly elected were Beinsch and Krista Mroz, replacing long-time board members Jeff Brady and Al Foster. Our newly hired Race Director Mia Lee was also introduced. See more about Yukon River Marathon Paddlers Association, our vision and mission statements, and a link to draft AGM minutes on the ABOUT US page. Regular board meetings are usually held on the third Wednesday of the month. See schedule in Calendar.
PREVIOUS RACE REVIEW: RECORD FIELD IN 2019! – A record 117 teams started the 21st annual YRQ at noon on Wednesday, June 26, and 86 teams finished by 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 30. A total of 31 teams (26.5%) scratched during the race (an additional team withdrew just before the start). Most of the scratches were in Carmacks, as several teams were fatigued and/or unable to make the cutoff time there on the evening of June 27. Only 3 teams scratched past Carmacks. Thirteen countries were represented: Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia, Netherlands, Norway (new), United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Papua New Guinea (new), France, Austria, and Ireland. Pull up 2019 Results and replay the race on our RACE TRACKER page, courtesy of Yukon 1000 Software, and see photos in our GALLERY and posted on our YRQ FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM pages. Read our AWARDS PRESS RELEASE. There was no race in 2020 due to COVID, and a limited race in 2021 was cancelled at the last minute due to flooding. Many of those teams deferred to 2022.
VOLUNTEERS – LIFEBLOOD OF THE YRQ: This race does not happen without our great volunteers, nearly 200 of them! Want to get involved for the 2021 race? Sign in on our new VOLUNTEER page and then view the different jobs available. It’s never too early or too late to volunteer, and it’s fun! If you do enough time with us, you will get a shirt, and see your name in a big THANK YOU AD in the Whitehorse Star later this summer. And PLEASE THANK OUR VOLUNTEERS WHEN YOU SEE THEM. THEY ARE THERE TO HELP!
THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS – SUPPORT THE YRQ: We have a lot of great sponsors who help us immensely in making this a great race. Please view our SPONSOR PAGE for a list of everyone big and small, including this past year’s BIB SPONSORS! We have several sponsorship levels to show your support for the race. Our Sponsorship packet and provisions are currently under revision and should be available some time this winter.
BECOME A MEMBER OF YRMPA: Join the Yukon River Marathon Paddlers Association for just $20 a year (adults) or $10 a year (juniors 18 & under) by clicking on the Membership photo button above. Email the race office for details or attend our next AGM and consider joining the YRMPA Board to help us plan the race. Meetings are monthly most of the year on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, and more frequent the two months before the race. See our current board & executive and read our Vision, Values and Mission statements on our ABOUT US page.