Thompson Pass is a 2,805 foot-high (855 meter-high) gap in the Chugach Mountains northeast of Valdez, Alaska. It is the snowiest place in Alaska, recording 551.5 inches (1,401 cm) of snow per year on average. In the winter of 1952–1953, 974.5 inches (2,475 cm) of snow fell-the most ever recorded in one season at one location in Alaska. The pass also holds the Alaska record for the most snow in a single day: 62 inches (160 cm) fell on December 29, 1955.
The pass was named in 1899 by U.S. Army captain William Abercrombie "in compliment to Hon. Frank Thomson, of Pennsylvania", but he spelled the name "Thompson" on his sketched map, and that spelling stuck. The pass had been used by Alaska Native Ahtna people for generations prior to Abercrombie's arrival, but he marked and defined a trail through the pass for use by Klondike Gold Rush miners. His route, which became the Valdez-Eagle Trail, later was used by the Washington-Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System, which strung cables through Thompson Pass. The path through the pass continued to be improved, and automobiles first drove the entire length of the trail in 1913. By that point, it had become the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail, and it was renamed the Richardson Road in 1919.