Klondike Derby Events

Events for a Klondike Derby

Adapted by Liam Morland from many Scouters, October 29, 2007

During a Klondike Derby, Scout patrols visit stations (sometimes called "towns") along the route and compete in the various events (sometimes supervised by the "town mayor"). It adds to the derby to give a Klondike flavour to each event. Scouters are each event could be in costume an tell scene-setting stories as patrols arrive.

Some examples:

A patrol's performance at each event will be scored for their level of knowledge or accomplishment and for teamwork. It is suggested that seven points be given for accomplishment and three for teamwork. Scores are totalled and trophies awarded to the patrol with the highest score. There can be trophies for each event and for overall score. Some Derbies put the patrols into categories based on an average of its members' age, years in Scouts, and badge level attained.

Keeping track of scores can be difficult in the winter time since score sheets can get wet and scorekeepers are wearing mitts or gloves. Here are some solutions:

If you know of good Klondike events that are not listed here, please email.

The Events

Bear Bag
Place all food from the sled into a bag and suspend from tree so bears can not steal it during the night. For maximum points food must be at least 4 m above ground, 3 m away from tree, 2 m below any branches, and rope must be against tree trunk until at least 3 m above ground. John M. Rinaldo, SM, Troop 522, East Schodack, NY
Blindfolded Stretcher Carry
Four blindfolded Scouts carry a fifth Scout (not blindfolded) on a stretcher around a course following directions given by the Scout on the stretcher.
Cliff Climb
Using ropes and spars provided, the patrol must lash together a ladder, climb to the top of a short cliff, bringing their sled with them. Patrols should bring whatever ropes, pulleys, etc. they want to help with this. This could be a timed event. For a faster version of this event, make a ladder to be used by all patrols. The Scouts must still figure out how to get the sled up.
Compass Bearing
All members of the patrol sight on an object and report collectively on its bearing; and lay off a bearing and report the object on the bearing. This event may also require a patrol to use a compass to orient a topographic map.
If the event is being held at a camp and the night is clear, each patrol will find north using the stars and identify several constellations.
Dead Horse Carry
Your pack horse has died and you need to get it off the trail. Scouts have to work together as a patrol to lift and carry a ungainly weight wrapped in a tarp.
Fire Lighting and Water Boiling
The patrol is timed in laying and lighting a fire and using it to boil water in a standard container. Bonus points for lighting the fire without matches, e.g. with a flint and steel, magnifying glass, or bow drill. This event could be held at the lunch area. Points could also be given for lunch area clean up.
First Aid and Survival Kit Inspection
Each sled should have a patrol first aid kit. Each Scout should have an BP Kit (emergency/first aid kit) in their knapsack. At the station, the patrol kit and several individuals' kits are examined and Scouts asked to comment on the use of various items.
First Aid and Survival Quiz
Some basic questions on first aid and survival skills. Quiz may distributed at the beginning of the day or at lunchtime, to be submitted later, or be the last event of the day, indoors.
First Aid: Split and Transport
Patrol required to care for a casualty with a broken leg; after splinting, place the casualty correctly on sled for transport. Patrols are responsible for bringing the needed supplies.
Gourmet Lunch
Patrol is responsible for bringing extra food so as to make lunch for a Scouter either the one at the station where they are at lunch time or at the common lunch spot. Quality of the food is graded. This competition will encourage the Scouts to plan good, hot food instead of taking the easy way out and feeling cold and underfed. Points are also given for lunch area cleanup.
Gully Crossing
Each member of the patrol to cross a gully on a thick rope stretched between two trees. If time allows, extra points if the patrol is able to transport its sled across the rope as well. A Scouter must test the installed ropes with their full weight before Scouts cross. Height of ropes must be such that the feet of a Scout hanging by both hands and about to fall will be close to the snow. Snow beneath the ropes must be free of sticks, stumps, rocks, etc. Event with 4 ropes in operation needs 7-8 Scouters, with one or two to control traffic. A Scouter should coach and monitor each Scout traversing on a rope.
Height and Distance Estimation
Patrol estimates the height of a tree or rock face, and a horizontal distance. No climbing is allowed.
Ice Rescue
Each Scout throws a rope to a "victim" who has "fallen through the ice" and retrieves same. Patrol may be asked to demonstrate other forms of ice rescue.
Knife, Axe, and Saw Usage
Each Scout demonstrates safe use in simple firewood collection tasks. They may use a two-person saw to cut a large log.
Scouts tie knots and show they know how to use them.
Patrol demonstrates lashings in the construction of something simple, such as a tripod.
Map Symbols
Patrol identifies a dozen or so standard map symbols. This event may require a patrol to identify features around them and point them out on a topographic map, or vice versa.
Panning for Gold
Patrol uses a tarp co-operatively to toss a "nugget" over a horizontal rope 3 m above the ground. The nugget should be a tennis ball or a larger ball, coloured yellow. It must not be a hard object in case it falls on a Scout's head. The event can be scored by counting the number of consecutive times the nugget gets over the rope.
Patrol Photos
Take a team photo of each patrol with their sled. Do this near the start of the day so that they look excited rather than tired out.
Rope Climb
Each member of the patrol climbs a thick rope to a height of about 3 m. Any method that works, including direct ascent or pyramid of Scouts. Partial points for partial ascents. Everyone who tries should get at least one point.
Rope Square
The patrol, blindfolded, forms a horizontal square with a rope 20 m long. This involves folding the rope in half, then in quarters, and then laying it out in a square.
Side Hill Manoeuvre
Patrol timed in moving its sled without damage over a steep uphill and downhill course. Going up requires co-operation to push sled and use rope around tree to hold sled in place between pushes; going down, use of subsidiary rope around trees for controlled descent of sled. If the course become icy, change the route.
Shelter Building
Using simple materials such as a tarp, rope, and spars, Scouts must build a shelter large enough for the patrol. The Scouts are assessed on time and the quality of the shelter, such as amount of protection, protection from wind, and sturdiness.
Slalom Race
Patrol timed in pulling its sled around a course (100 m) in deep snow on flat ground. Scouters must walk the course several times to check footing, fill holes, etc. Scouts should be able to release their tow rope easily so that they will not be run over or dragged if they fall. Ropes may not be tied around waist.
Sled Balance
Assemble two to three wood skids into a rigid platform and lay it over a large diameter log. The Patrol has to get on the platform with their sled and balance the platform so that neither side touches the ground. Points can be given for establishing balance and for how long they keep it balanced. John Casanave, Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 117, Penns Woods Council, Pennsylvania
Sled Inspection
Sled is inspected for all required equipment and for proper packing; nothing should fall out when the sled is turned over. Every Scout must be wearing appropriate clothing and footwear. This is normally the first event, conducted by the North West Mounted Police before Scouts are allowed into the Yukon.
Smooshboard Race
Patrol members' right feet are tied to one long 2×4; left feet to another. Patrol is timed in walking a course on flat ground.
Snowshoe Race
A relay race while wearing regular snowshoes. The average time per scout is used so patrols of different sizes can fairly compete. Four pairs of snowshoes are sufficient to allow two patrols to compete against each other at one time. While one scout races, the next one gets ready. John M. Rinaldo, SM, Troop 522, East Schodack, NY
Spider Hole
A vertical spider web with a Scout-sized hole approximately 1 m off the ground is constructed between two trees with baler twine. Patrol passes all its members through the hole without destroying the web. Snow beneath webs must be free of sticks, stumps, and rocks.
Track Identification
Patrols must identify which animals made various tacks in the snow.
Tree Identification
Patrol identifies common trees. This is usually done with evergreens, but a greater challenge would include trees that in winter can only be identified by their bark.
Valley of the Snakes
All members of the patrol must stand on a small block of wood or tree stump so that no one is touching the ground.
Other Events
Please email with other event ideas.