Avalanche survival story

On April 3, 1898 there was an Avalanche on the Chilkoot Pass that buried 80-100 people. I have unique names of 85 people who were reported buried and suffocated to death.
However there were several survival stories. There was a dog and an ox who were dug up after several days who seemed none too upset by the experience. There reportedly was a woman who had been buried head-down and was “hysterical” when dug out (who wouldn’t be?). But the best story of all is that of Vernie Woodward and her beau Al Joppe. Joppe was pulled from the snow and Vernie was shown his lifeless body. But she had not come this far to bury her man. So she “flung herself hysterically upon Joppe’s limp figure” [why do men love the word hysterical?] She yelled at him to return to her, moved his arms and legs, rubbed his back and breathed warm air into his lungs and prayed. For three hours she persisted despite men trying to drag her away, and LO! Joppe suddenly opened his eyes and spoke her name! Voila!

Seen above is a profile of the trail, picture going up this in spring with tons of snow hanging above you.

from Pierre Berton, The Klondike Fever p 265-266.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *