Alaska Life

Frostbitten racer plans to send his amputated toes to Yukon bar for its signature cocktail

A man who lost three of his toes because of severe frostbite after a long-distance backcountry race in February will send the amputated digits to a Dawson City bar for good use, according to Canada's CBC News.

Nick Griffiths ended up with frostbite while competing in the Yukon Arctic Ultra race in Canada. Griffiths had three toes amputated this week, and told CBC that the Downtown Hotel Sourdough Saloon asked for them.

"They basically said, 'Can we have them if you're not going to need them anymore?' " Griffiths, who lives in England, told CBC. "It's sort of recycling taken to the extreme."

The saloon in Dawson City — a town in the Yukon about 65 miles east of the Alaska-Canada border — makes a drink called the "Sourtoe Cocktail," which consists of a shot of liquor garnished with a preserved human toe. Patrons aren't meant to swallow the toe, though. The bar keeps a few of the digits on hand, according to CBC.

[Human toe stolen from cocktail returned to Yukon bar, with letter of apology]

The Yukon Arctic Ultra starts in Whitehorse and has a 100-mile option and a 300-mile option, according to CBC News. This year's race was so extremely cold that at one point, it was put on hold as racers dropped out due to hypothermia and frostbite. Some sought hospital treatment.

Griffiths now has his toes in jars at home.


"So I just need to try and find a way of getting them to Canada," Griffiths told CBC.

Last summer, someone stole a toe from the Dawson City bar but later returned it in the mail with an apology letter. In 2013, a man swallowed the toe from his drink and paid the then-$500 fine for doing so.

Annie Zak

Annie Zak was a business reporter for the ADN between 2015 and 2019.