Meet the Seldovia Author: Janice Wyland

| September 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

by Shirley Hurley

11,318 Feet;  a Climax in My Life

JanWylandA book signing held September 7th at the Hurley residence was a great success according to Janice Wyland  (or otherwise known to local friends as “Jan”).  Seventeen community residents attended and everyone received a personal signed copy of Jan’s first book containing stories depicting her life as a child growing up in the remote mining town of Climax in the Colorado Rockies.

Climax was the sight of the world’s largest molybdenum mine and except for the carved hillside of the mining sight, it would appear as any other high Alpine winter resort.  The name was derived because it climaxed the efforts of the Colorado and Southern Railway (now Burlington) to fling a branch line over the continental divide. It was America’s loftiest post office and Colorado’s richest mining camp, supplying three quarters of the world’s supply.  During WWII, the FBI closed Climax to all but fingerprinted residents and trusted visitors.  The town was also selected in 1940 as the site of the High Altitude Observatory operated jointly by Harvard University and the University of Colorado under the supervision of the Air Force and Navy.

Children born in Climax were the only members of the community who were entirely comfortable in the thick atmosphere.  Even old-timers sometimes suffered from mountain sickness.  In 1965 the residential houses were all transported to the town of Leadville, leaving only the mining buildings standing.

Climax Photo

Here are a few interesting facts about living the “High Life”:

  • Water boils at 190 instead of 212 degrees.
  • It takes 7 minutes to boil a 3 minute egg.
  • 45 minutes to boil corn on the cob
  • 1 and ½ hour to boil potatoes.
  • The air is so thin that cakes and hot breads rise too quickly and then collapse into inedible gluey messes unless fat, sugar and baking powder is reduced according to a mathematical formula.   However, the home brewing of beer is actually aided by the altitude. Home brew at sea level takes 8 days to mature, but in Climax only 4 days.  The air pressure, however, is so great it takes skill to uncap a bottle of the home-brew without half of it hitting the ceiling.

Today, Climax, atop Fremont Pass near the ski and mining villages of Copper Mountain and Leadville, Colorado, is considered a ghost town.   However, on May 10, 2012 after a seventeen  year closure, the Climax mine was reopened and has resumed shipment of molybdenum.

If you are in Seldovia, give Jan a call at 234-7462 to purchase an autographed copy for only $8.00!

It is also available here on Amazon!

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