Defending Iditarod champion Pete Kaiser was the first to arrive at Rainy Pass today, coming in at 11:35 a.m. on March 9. Travis Beals and Lance Mackey were about 12 minutes behind him. The fourth musher in was Richie Diehl, about an hour and a half later. Others straggled into the checkpoint throughout the afternoon. One of those, Aaron Burmeister, the musher who grew up in Nome and now lives in Fairbanks, left the Finger Lake checkpoint at around noon today. His was the 14th team into Rainy Pass this afternoon. But unlike others who took a break, Burmeister decided to keep on mushing and break trail out of the pass at about 4 p.m. Diehl went out behind him about a half hour later, followed by Kaiser, Brent Sass, and Lance Mackey.
In all, there were 17 sled dog teams who were checked into Rainy Pass by 5 p.m. Behind them, another 13 teams were climbing through the Alaska Range to Rainy Pass, the Iditarod’s highest point. Among them is Jessica Klejka, who left the Finger Lake checkpoint at 2:49 p.m. She should be arriving in Rainy Pass early this evening.