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Iditarod 2013 - Over Rainy Pass

Aaron Burmeister mushing up Rainy Pass March 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Jessie Royer mushes up Rainy Pass March 4, 2013.
Loren Holmes photo
Lance Mackey mushing up Rainy Pass March 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Lance Mackey nearing the top of Rainy Pass March 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Paul Gebhardt mushing over Rainy Pass March 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Aliy Zirkle going over the top of Rainy Pass March 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
DeeDee Jonrowe going over Rainy Pass March 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Jeff King going over the top of Rainy Pass March 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Karin Hendrickson topping Rainy Pass March 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
In this timelapse, a musher's headlamp lights the trail over Rainy Pass under an aurora display March 4, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

Iditarod mushers slowly made their way up and over Rainy Pass, then down into the sometimes treacherous Dalzell Gorge Tuesday, with leaders pushing on toward Nikolai and Takotna overnight.

As the race proceeded on ground, Alaska pararescuers were recovering the bodies of three Eagle River, Alaska, residents who'd been flying out along the trail, toward the Takotna checkpoint just beyond Rainy Pass, when their plane disappeared on Monday. Guardian angels of the Alaska Air National Guard on Tuesday spotted the Cessna 182's wreckage at about 4,000-feet above sea level, Tuesday, as back-of-the-pack mushers cautiously went up and over.

Pilot Michael Schoder of Anchorage, who flew a Super Cub through Rainy Pass Monday morning, called it "one of the wildest rides" he'd ever had.

"You seriously had to have your shit together. ... Basically a huge down draft down the Dalzell (Gorge) all the way to Rohn. I was seeing wind of 50 mph and moderate to severe turbulence. I came eastbound (back toward Anchorage) at 1 p.m. at 6,000 feet. Better -- but still intense," Schoder said via email.