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Chilkoot Pass

Chilkoot Pass

[chil-koot]
Chilkoot Pass, alt. c.3,500 ft (1,070 m), in the Coast Mts., on the British Columbia-Alaska line. The Chilkoot people long used it to pass between the Pacific coast and the Yukon River valley. Whites first traversed the pass in 1878, and after the Klondike gold strike (1896), it became a much-used route from Skagway, Alaska, to the interior.

Chilkoot Pass (el. 1067 m./3500 ft.) is a high mountain pass through the Coast Mountains in the U.S. state of Alaska and British Columbia, Canada. It is the highest point along the Chilkoot Trail that leads from Dyea, Alaska to Bennett Lake, British Columbia. The Chilkoot Trail was a route used by the Tlingit for trade and later by prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush.

During the gold rush, three tramways and several surface hoists operated briefly over the pass. When the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad was built in neighboring White Pass, the Chilkoot Pass route fell out of favor.

The name Chilkoot is one version of Chilkat, the name of the Tlingit group that used the trail for commerce. The Chilkat River is also named after this group.

The Pass and the Trail are administered by the national park services of the U.S. and Canada. On the B.C. side, it is administered as Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site. On the Alaska side, it's one unit of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. In the summer of 1998, the Site and the Park united to form Klondike Gold Rush International Historical Park. Modern-day visitors can hike the 33-mile trail after registering and paying a fee.

"Take the oath again, Daylight," the same voice cried. "I sure will. I first come over Chilcoot in '83. I went out over the Pass in a fall blizzard, with a rag of a shirt and a cup of raw flour. I got my grub-stake in Juneau that winter, and in the spring I went over the Pass once more. And once more the famine drew me out. Next spring I went in again, and I swore then that I'd never come out till I made my stake. Well, I ain't made it, and here I am. And I ain't going out now. I get the mail and I come right back. I won't stop the night at Dyea. I'll hit up Chilcoot soon as I change the dogs and get the mail and grub. And so I swear once more, by the mill-tails of hell and the head of John the Baptist, I'll never hit for the Outside till I make my pile. And I tell you-all, here and now, it's got to be an almighty big pile."
Jack London, Burning Daylight (1910)

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