Riding five horses and leading five more, three young New York men, their guide, and a camp cook, entered the untamed vastness of the Bitteroot Mountains. They expected the trip to be the adventure of a lifetime, but it was already September. As the hunters made their way up the Lolo Trail in 1893, they were unaware of the coming record snows that would trigger a cruel, controversial decision.
Snowbound is the true story of the Carlin party, whose ill luck and bad judgment drove decent men to an ethical dilemma that intrigued the nation and can still raise an argument wherever people rub shoulders with wilderness. This gripping narrative is the story of a desperate struggle to get out of the mountains with a sick man and of the heroic efforts of various army units to rescue them.
Ladd Hamilton has brought rich narrative detail and crackling tension to an intriguing episode in Northwest history. Hamilton gives flesh and bone to his characters, setting the reader down among them as the battle the elements and their own failures, caught between the imprisoning mountains and an unforgiving river.
248 pages (1997)
“Hamilton’s descriptions of the Lolo Trail and the Lochsa River make it seem as if he were there as the snow got deeper, as the hunters tried to raft out, as their food ran out and as they walked to exhaustion.”—Associated Press
“Hamilton relates the action so well, you’ll want to read through to the last page before you put it down…A detailed, well-paced re-creation…No one emerges unscathed here, except Hamilton, whose yarn-spinning reconstruction is a pleasure.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Combining a reporter’s devotion to detail with a yarn-spinner’s talent for building suspense, Ladd Hamilton has crafted from the true tale of the Carlin party a riveting, often chilling book that’s timeless in its portrayal of human frailties and nature’s capriciousness… Rich and haunting.”—Seattle Weekly
“Mr. Hamilton has mastered the challenge of combining fact with narrative, remaining true to the historical record while providing the reader with a story that is both fascinating and insightful…The word images Hamilton presents are as clear as vintage photographs, and the dialogue and inner thoughts ring true with the turn-of-the-century phrase and attitudes the author so skillfully reconstructs. Snowbound is an excellent read, taking us on an adventurous journey into the Idaho wilderness”—Latah Legacy
“Even if you know the story and its tragic outcome, Ladd Hamilton handles it with such finesse that the book is difficult to put down—Montana Magazine
“A powerful recreation of a Northwest wilderness saga that outraged the nation in 1893.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Hamilton weaves the documented facts into a captivating re-creation of the harrowing story.”—Spokesman Review