Letter from a prospector recounting the arduous journey over Chilkoot Pass to reach the Yukon gold fields. Unidentified author.
Letter from a prospector recounting the arduous journey over Chilkoot Pass to reach the Yukon gold fields

Letter from a prospector recounting the arduous journey over Chilkoot Pass to reach the Yukon gold fields

Sheep Camp on Chilkoot Trail near Dyea, Alaska: 1898. Unbound. This four-page, unsigned letter was sent to “Friend Alice” by a prospector while in route to the gold fields from the Alaskan port of Dyea. Two stereoviews of the climb are included. Very good +. Item #009070

In the late summer of 1896 when news reached San Francisco and Seattle that gold was discovered in Northwest Canada, it began a stampede of over 100,000 prospectors. Of the two ways to reach the gold fields, the Chilkoot trail, was shorter but far steeper and much more dangerous. It soon became apparent that many who chose the Chilkoot were unprepared to survive the arduous terrain and harsh weather, so the North-West Mounted Police refused to allow prospectors to proceed until they had assembled a year’s worth (about a ton) of food, supplies, and equipment on the Canadian side of the 3,800 foot pass.

This letter recounts the strenuous 33-mile climbs made by a prospector, carrying packs of 50-75 pounds on each trip up the mountain. He describes the weather, “a regular blizzard at times,” noting that “accidents are happening all the time and hardly a day passes without one or more victim coming out over the trail on his last journey.” He also provides a detailed description of his effort to help recover bodies after the “great snow slide” of April 2nd which killed at least 68 men; the avalanche covered “2½ acres . . . 10 to 25 feet deep.”

A terrific first-hand account of the Klondike Gold Rush at the height of the stampede.

Price: $800.00