MP-1979.111.18 | Climbing Chilkoot Pass, Klondike Gold Rush, Alaska, 1898

Climbing Chilkoot Pass, Klondike Gold Rush, Alaska, 1898
Edwin Tappan Adney
1898, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
10 x 12 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  climbing Chilkoot Pass (1) , event (101) , event (534) , History (944) , history (162) , Klondike Gold Rush (14) , pack (1) , Photograph (77678) , transportation (338) , Yukon Territory (7)
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Keys to History

This is one of the most famous scenes in Canadian history - goldseekers climbing the last steep part of the Chilkoot Pass in the winter of 1897-98. The image of the men and women bent over as they labour up the steep slope is unforgettable. The line kept moving 24 hours a day, and anyone who dropped out from exhaustion might have to wait 4 hours to get back in line. To do it once was hard, but to do it 20 times was more than some could stand. Coming down was easy. There were deep grooves in the snow, and people slid down on pieces of wood, like toboggans. Here is an image that shows how long the climb was.

Source : Off to the Klondike! The Search for Gold [Web tour], by William R. Morrison, University of Northern British Columbia (see Links)

  • What

    These men are carrying food, clothes and other supplies from Alaska into Canada up the Chilkoot Pass.

  • Where

    The photographer was standing on the American side of the pass, near the top, at the steepest point.

  • When

    The picture was taken in 1898. These supplies would have to last for six to twelve months.

  • Who

    These unnamed men are bent double as they make the dreaded climb. There were women on the trail, too, but none in this picture.