From a recent trip i took to Nevada!
1/3/11 – Sultan Mine, Goodsprings, NV
I met up with Joanne at about 10am and followed down I-15 south. After 20 miles, we turned off on a road and quickly turned off onto a dirt road. After 30 minutes of offroading, we approached the mine. Tailings could be see all over the mountain range.
The Sultan mine has 4 or 5 levels, and the minerals worked were lead and zinc. I could not see any veins, so I assume the minerals were dispersed in the host rock.
After following numerous drifts to the end (and seeing many many ore chutes) we approached the slope. At first, i thought, holy crap, this is deep. I then devised the plan: tie off to two solid anchors and climb the ladder down that paralled the slope rails. This way, if the ladder broke, we would be safely on rope. To give you an idea, even with my powerful light, the bottom could not be seen.
i went first, checking the air meter and carefully climbing and rappelling down. I discovered three levels accessed by the slope. Ore was hauled out each level and dumped into chutes. The chutes had handles (“made in san francisco” cast into the iron) which would then dump the ore into the slope cars to be taken out of the mine.
Each level had numerous tunnels, all tracked, with ore chutes all over. Some sights included blasting cap containers, carbide containers, oil cans, fuse, and numerous broken dynamite boxes. After exploring for 4-5 hours, we climbed the rickety ladder to the top, noticing how it was barely attached, using ascenders for safety. It was scary that at the bottom of the slope, even screaming at the top of my lungs, i could barely be heard at the top. We hiked out, taking some beautiful photos of the valley and the tipple/hopper before making our way back to the jeep.
1/4/11 – Accident Mine – Goodsprings, NV
This mine was way up on the opposite side of the mountain range of the Sultan mine. The ore mined here was also zinc and lead. In this mine, the vein appeared to be sandstone with layers and pockets of lead/zinc. I have some nice samples to show the group, including a 5 pound chuck of lead.
Upon arriving, I knew this mine would be a challenge to get to. Joanne mentioned that she found the old miners trail to get to the mine, which was much easier than going straight up the side of the mountain. The mine consists of a main winding slope and numerous chutes, with three tracked drifts off the main slope. The slope was not steep, and was easily walkable. Ore was mined, then dumped into slope cars which were hauled out by a winch, which is still there in an extremely well preserved state. We spent about 4-5 hours again in this mine, following every drift to the end.
Due to the mine being at such high elevation, it was necessary for the ore to be lowered down to the bottom of the mountain via elevated tram! The ore carts were hoisted to the top of the slope, and then either by gravity or animal power, dragged and then dumped into a hopper/tipple. From there, some kind of bucket was filled and taken down by cable, as the huge 1″ thick cable still is there in perfect condition! Also notable about this mine (and I assume all western mines) is the presence of old rusty equipment and cans outside. The lack of rainfall allows all the trash to be preserved, so one can see what the miners were using and eating.
It was an exciting trip, I met a new friend and was able to explore two relatively large, well preserved mines. I can’t wait for my next trip out to Las Vegas to explore more mines!
Please visit the following abandonedmines.net links to view all the photos!