January 14, 2017

Goodsprings, Nevada

The Goodsprings district is in Nevada, just across the line from California. The hordes driving to Las Vegas roar right past it, and it is now developing into an area of homes for people who have gotten fed up with the big city. As a result, the old mines near this burgeoning "bedroom community" are getting attention from people eager to close them up.

Once upon a time ...

Now, let me relate a tail of mine exploring from around 1976 or so. My friend Paul Gross and I had decided to spend the Christmas Holiday week roaming the desert near Death Valley, and found ourselves in Goodsprings, Nevada. Back then the place was the middle of nowhere and all the mines were open and unmolested. We awoke after a beautiful night on the desert and after breakfast climbed down the ladder of a nearby incline shaft. We were carrying small packs with water, food, a spare light, carbide, and tools for collecting mineral specimens. We were wearing boots, old sturdy clothes, and hard hats with carbide lamps attached. We never saw the light of day again for over 12 hours. We surely covered miles and it was like every mine was connected to every other underground. It was unique in that we dropped down a shaft 100 feet and then just roamed laterally, up and down raises now and then and covered miles underground. We popped up in the open air, the sky was dark and full of stars, and we were on the side of a hill with no idea where our camp or vehicle were. It was a really great experience, and only now do I realize how special it was. I said, "Lets hike to the top of this hill and see if we can get our bearings", and sure enough on the other side down in the valley was my old International Scout and our camp and that ended a fine day underground.

I revisited this area (the Yellow Pine Mine) in the winter of 2001. All of these mines have now been bulldozed shut. The entire area has changed and nothing like this is possible anymore. Camping is still pleasant, but there is the bizzare yet interesting phenomena of the huge beam of light from the casino pyramid in Las Vegas. Also, I don't remember the endless stream of jet airliners, going to and from Las Vegas 25 years ago.

Yellow Pine Mine

This was one of the big producers in the area. I have used USGS Professional Paper 162 as a reference to this area (1931), but Bulletin 1010 would also be worth finding and looking at. Note that the link for "mine map" does not seem to work for me. This is "Investigation of the Yellow Pine Zinc-Lead Mine, Clark County, Nevada".

The "mine explorers" say the following about the #3 shaft (which I have called the Prairie Flower):

This was a significant shaft that extended down to the 900 level. The wooden structure has collapsed into the shaft. Tony rappelled down finding a blockage at about 100 feet and another impassible blockage at around 200 feet. When we explored the 900 level of the mine we found that the drift leading to this shaft was completely collapsed and impassible.

Feedback? Questions? Drop me a line!

Tom's Old Mine Info / tom@mmto.org