…almost seventy feet of snow fell on the summit
of the Chilkoot that winter…
—Pierre Berton, The Klondike Fever
FIRST LIGHT AND FEAR jerked me awake at four-thirty. I woke Sharyn and Rhonda, thinking to get a really early start on the day, but Len’s group was up before us. The Belgians of course had already left.
The first three miles were an uphill grind, crossing and recrossing the same creek. Now we left the tree line behind and were at the foot of the Scales, a steep slide of boulders the size of minor planets with edges like steak knives. I looked up and thought, “What’s a Class Four rock scramble, the West Buttress of Denali?”
Author and founder of Storyknife.org.