Adandoned Mineshaft

Due to my 8-year-old’s obsession with Minecraft, the abandoned mineshafts found in the game are an everyday topic of discussion around the house. He is saving up to buy a pickaxe — no joke. Since we needed a day trip for the long weekend, I thought we’d visit some actual mines in the Silver Island Mountains near the Utah-Nevada border. We followed an old road most of the way up a minor mountain and found the remains of either a processing facility or living quarters, and several mine shafts higher up. One of these apparently goes all the way through the mountain but we didn’t do much more than poke our heads in, since it was difficult to gauge how dangerous it was. This area was mined from the 1870s through the 1930s. Since the pathway connecting the mine shafts with the highest vehicle access was too narrow and steep for vehicles, we were forced to assume that ore was transported downhill using some combination of human and animal power — the level of physical effort implied here seemed to be lost on the 8-year-old, who wants a pickaxe more than ever. We saw a pair of pronghorn antelope — but failed to get decent pictures.

Lamus Peak:

Built-up trail used to move ore downhill through rugged country:

Mine shaft:

Another one, with some nice copper ore right at the entrance:

And a lot of nothing in the distance:


6 responses to “Adandoned Mineshaft”

  1. Ben- looks great. Sam, are you a spelunker at all? My ex-colleague who was previously on the IU faculty loved the caving in that area.

  2. My grandfather was born about 60 miles to the west at Spruce Mountain. Some of the old mining claims stayed in the family until ww2.

    I think Spruce Mt originally had some sort of cable car to transport ore down the mountian. Don’t asume there wasn’t something like that before, even if there is no sign now.

    Old mine tunnels are very dangerous to enter.

  3. Ralph, thanks for the note! I’d love to hike Spruce Mountain sometime, but it’s a bit more of a drive from SLC than so many other mountains. I heard somewhere that there were some cable cars in the Silver Islands — could have been on Lamus, I don’t know.

  4. John, I’ve been caving once so far in Indiana. Unfortunately, some delays in the cave led us to an unintended introduction to the cave rescue team when we got back to the entrance. 🙂 It was fun, though, so I plan to go again.