Episode 18 - How to mine gold, stampeder style
Getting to the Klondike and finding a claim was only the start of your mining adventure. You then had to learn how to get the gold out of the frozen muck under your feet. The Sourdoughs had developed a huge range of ingenious techniques, and the stampeders in Dawson kept on innovating. Pans, rockers, sluice boxes, steam points and more. But until the arrival of the industrial dredges, all of these methods had one thing in common: back breaking manual labour.
Photo: Underground mining in the Klondike.
Mining tools from Gold Fields of the Klondike by John Leonard. The rocker is labelled as a "miner's cradle"
Sketch of multiple lengths of sluice box in action, from Gold Fields of the Klondike by John Leonard
Layers of frozen gravel on an Eldorado claim, from Gold Fields of the Klondike by John Leonard
Sources, maps & reading
The Klondike Stampede by Tappan Adney
Early Days on the Yukon by William Ogilvie, the memoirs of the first surveyor of the Yukon Territory and full of memorable anecdotes and first-hand accounts of key events and personalities.
The Yukon Story by Walter R. Hamilton
Photo of Keish or Skookum Jim on his claim at Bonanza Creek, around 1898, from University of Washington Libraries
Dredge No. 4 historic site from Parks Canada
Photo above in the public domain from Wikipedia Commons.