The Official Completion Point
The equivalent of the Canadian Pacific Railway's "Last Spike" in the mountains of British Columbia or the "Golden Spike" of the American Transcontinental Railroad in the desert of Utah. Situated on the southside of Sheep Mountain, overlooking Kluane Lake, Soldier’s Summit, like many significant sites from the era of construction, is no longer actually on the road. Soon after the end of the war, an easier route around Sheep Mountain was blasted out at its base, making for a picturesque winding passage similar to the path the highway takes around Muncho Lake. Today, the historic site has restricted vehicle access and is accessible to most people only by foot up a rugged trail.
The Alaska Highway was officially opened in a ceremony at Soldier’s Summit on November 20, 1942 attended by representatives of the US military and the Canadian Government. Included in this installation is a recording of the CBC’s live radio broadcast of this event along with images of the ceremony. Archival photographs taken during various stages of construction in the area are contrasted with contemporary images shot in November of 2004. Soldier’s Summit is one of the few sites left where one can get a sense of what the original road was like with its heavy stone bed and, at times, wild undulations, in constant risk of deterioration. The original road built by the US Army Corps of Engineers truly was a "pioneer" road that required almost immediate upgrading and rerouting. Ironically, the path across the side of Sheep Mountain to the "summit" was one of the first to be abandoned.