As can be plainly seen by the diminished status of the portal, it won’t be long before this mine is no longer accessible. Given the activity of the seasonal creek and the significant amounts of water that pour into this mine every year, I’d guess no more than a season or two... As such, I’m very glad we got the chance to visit as we may well be the last visitors to this mine. Ever. And this is very likely the only video footage that exists of this mine. I find that to be somewhat sad, but the mountains and deserts are absolutely filled with historic mines like this that have been lost forever. I’ve seen mind-blowing old photographs from the inside of mines not far from the one seen in this video. Perhaps they are still impressive underground, but they are no longer accessible and, on the surface, there is little trace of them and the men that struggled, sweated and bled there. At least we were able to get into this mine in its final days to capture what will soon be gone.
So, what was the deal with the ore chute? Ore chutes are supposed to be free of obstructions with sides as smooth as possible to facilitate the ore easily sliding down them to the waiting ore carts below. The large ore chute in this mine seemed to break those rules. The sides were not smooth and those boards laid across the supports would get in the way of ore or waste rock being dropped down (if the impact didn’t break the boards). Given the quality of the woodwork, I do not have the impression that the miners didn’t know what they were doing. So, I really don’t know what was going on there. Any ideas?
I’m also a bit puzzled by the function of that fantastic wood-lined raise. I understand the purpose of the wood in preventing rock from sloughing off the sides and it looked really cool to have all sides of the square covered. However, what was the real purpose of that structure in the first place? So, the miners could access an upper level? Well, obviously, but what did they do when they got up there? There was no ore chute to drop ore down. So, what were they doing up there and why was such a large opening necessary if it was just providing access to the miners? If it connects to the workings accessed by the ore chute, what is the need for the raise since the miners could have just climbed up the manway next to the ore chute to access those workings? I hate unanswered questions like these as we will likely never know the answer.
This is the first time that I have explored an abandoned mine in this part of the Sierra Nevada. The region was off of my radar, but after a very precise tip from a viewer, I saw quite quickly that overlooking this area had been a mistake. Having already picked a lot of the low-hanging fruit around us, tips from viewers are becoming increasingly important (hint hint). We don’t have the money or time to run off to Nevada, Alaska, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, Slovenia, etc. every week for a new video. So, we need that local knowledge to help steer us toward some good mines to explore!
All of these videos are uploaded in HD, so adjust those settings to ramp up the quality! It really does make a difference.
You can see the gear that I use for mine exploring here: https://bit.ly/2wqcBDD
You can click here for my full playlist of abandoned mines: https://goo.gl/TEKq9L
Thanks for watching!
Growing up in California’s “Gold Rush Country” made it easy to take all of the history around us for granted. However, abandoned mine sites have a lot working against them – nature, vandals, scrappers and various government agencies… The old prospectors and miners that used to roam our lonely mountains and toil away deep underground are disappearing quickly as well.
These losses finally caught our attention and we felt compelled to make an effort to document as many of the ghost towns and abandoned mines that we could before that colorful niche of our history is gone forever. But, you know what? We enjoy doing it! This is exploring history firsthand – bushwhacking down steep canyons and over rough mountains, figuring out the techniques the miners used and the equipment they worked with, seeing the innovations they came up with, discovering lost mines that no one has been in for a century, wandering through ghost towns where the only sound is the wind... These journeys allow a feeling of connection to a time when the world was a very different place. And I’d love to think that in some small way we are paying tribute to those hardy miners that worked these mines before we were even born.
So, yes, in short, we are adit addicts… I hope you’ll join us on these adventures!