Yukon Nuggets

  • A winter scene showing a group of buildings at Ross River. Date: ca. 1930. Yukon Archives. Claude & Mary Tidd fonds, #7285.

1907 Yukon Nuggets

Christie Pass


There's a beautiful pass which connects the Keele River in the Northwest Territories to the Ross River in the Yukon. It was named by dominion surveyor Joseph Keele in 1907 for a brave Yukon bushman who had more than one incredible adventure in his colourful life.

James Christie was born in 1874, in Perth, Scotland. He emigrated to the Canadian Prairies and, in 1898, became one of the few to make it to the Klondike via the almost impossible inland route from Edmonton.

Part of his travels took him through the pass which now bears his name. He prospected in the Yukon for many years - mostly in the Ross River district. It was near Christie Pass, in 1909, that he was attacked by a huge grizzly bear. His skull and jaw were fractured, his right arm broken and his thigh terribly mangled. Yet he managed to walk seven miles in sub-zero temperatures to a temporary camp.

Here, his partner poured the only medicine they had, Scotch Whiskey, into Christie - and with the help of local native people rushed him by dog sled on a four-day trip to the small community of Lansing.

Here the local trader and his wife nursed Christie's wounds for two months. On New Year's day he was taken on 17-day dog sled trip to Dawson City and later moved to Victoria where he finally, after six months, received proper medical help.

Christie was back in the Yukon that same summer prospecting. When World War I broke out in 1914, Christie was one of the first Canadians to enlist in the PPCLI's. He fought valiantly in France and was awarded the Military Cross, one of the few Canadians to win this highest of military honours.


James Christie returned to the Yukon after the war and continued prospecting until his old wounds got the better of him. He retired to Salt Spring Island in BC.



A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin.

Les McLaughlin

Les McLaughlin

As storyteller, radio man, and music producer, Les proved a passionate preserver of Yukon heritage throughout his life — nowhere more evident than as the author and voice of CKRW’s “Yukon Nuggets,” from its inception until his passing in 2011.