Abandoned Mines

Argentina Mine & Red Cloud Mine

Red Cloud Mine

Red Cloud Mine was a gold mine around the turn of the century. The shafts are mostly bat gated or collapsed, but we found the ruins of a cyanide leach plant with a pot leaf painted on the side.

a headframe laying on its side

The Argentina Mine

The Argentina Mining Complex was in operation from 1927-1962 and produced a whole hell of a lot of lead and zinc and other stuff.  A cool aerial tramway was used to haul the ore from the numerous mines on the mountain down to the town & railroad. A sad story happened at the Argentina Mine in 2002, clearly illustrating why nerds should not be let out of the house. Stay tuned for gory details.

We stumbled upon this extensive mining complex on accident and in pieces. From the wash below we saw 10-15 tailings piles, beckoning us up to them. After a stressful drive involving Anthony pushing the truck up a steep hill to make up for the lack of 4WD, paired a good walk along the ridgeline of a mountain, we made it to the mines. Of course, none of these mines were accessible; they were all boarded up or went straight down.  Only one opening held any hope of an exploration, with it’s century old ladder extending horizontally above a hole that is plenty deep, I’m sure. We did not go into that one.

in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have attempted to drive this road

hiking across the ridgeline to see what's up with these tailings piles

Towards the end of the line of tailings piles was an overturned, rusty skeleton of a car. We tried desperately (ok we weren’t desperate) to figure out how in the hell it had gotten there, because the only road in the area (the one we were on) did not provide the right trajectory. We followed our road to the saddle of the mountain, looking for another road the car could have rolled off of. Instead, we found the Argentina mining complex. Across the canyon, on the mountainside opposite of us, was a collapsed wooden structure. Extending down the hill from the ruins in two parallel lines were the markings of rust from where cables had lain. We followed a faint path down our mountain to get a closer look at the structure.

This is where we stumbled on more mine adits.

We skipped the first walk-in but couldn’t resist the cold air of the second one. Hopping over the barbed wire fence telling us to stay out, we scrambled down into the adit.

The floor was covered in plastic sheeting with periodic messages scribbled onto it. I cant decide; bat research, or guano mining?

The adit dead-ended within a hundred feet at an ore chute,

and we re-emerged at ground level.

“1306,”Anthony read off the spray-painted numbers over an adjoining adit. “USGS identifies them by numbers, sometimes I can look up information based on that.”

Continuing on our quest to see the structure on the other mountain, we came across this pile of awesome.

Anthony figured the puzzle out; this was an aerial pulley system used to haul ore from the mines on the other side of the mountain to town. The pulley cables stretched across the wash to the station on the other mountain.

Cool! We hiked back to the car, without an answer as the the car’s origin, and found the road heading up to the second station. There was no access up there, but below it was this huge, multi-level foundation.

Anthony had hiked to the foundation before & claimed there was nothing much to see, and we were both adventured out by this point anyways. After stopping to check out this grave (a dog, Max) we headed back to Vegas to do some research.

This page has an awesome picture of the pulley system about 10 years ago when the second station was still standing.

In 2002, a bunch of Seattle-based, Microsoft-employeed nerds headed out to Las Vegas for an intense adventure game creatively called “The Game.” The Game led Bob Lord & his team into the Goodsprings cemetery. Following a clue found there, they headed to specific GPS coordinates. The clue bore a message, “1306 is clearly marked. Enter ONLY 1306. Do NOT enter others.”

For some reason, Lord decided to re-calculate the coordinates. When his GPS signaled his arrival at his re-calculated coordinates, it was in front of an opening. A mine opening. Focused on the instructions to ‘enter’ something, Bob ignored the rest of the clue’s instructions, as well as the numbers 1296 & the words “no! no! no!” spray-painted above the opening. He walked inside the mine shaft. With the glow of the GPS unit as his only light, it’s not surprising that he didn’t notice the floor of the adit dropping away into a 30 foot vertical shaft. He fell, head first. (How did he get head first?!)

He lived, but will never recover. The vertebra in his neck were shattered, rendering him severely brain damaged & nearly quadriplegic; he retains use of one pinky. He is completely blind in one eye and can barely see out of the other. His wife says he is not the same man; Bob Lord isn’t there anymore.

Of course, the blame was set on the creators of The Game. I want to feel bad for this guy, but really…he knew the game (sorry, The Game) he was playing was risky…he’d already done a bunch of crazy stunts to get this far. He didn’t follow the crystal-clear directions given to him, and walked into a mine adit with no flashlight…I don’t think I know anybody who is dumb enough to walk into a mine with no light. But Lord maintains that his team betrayed his trust; “They led me into a dangerous minefield without telling me because they thought it would be more fun that way.” A dangerous minefield….but who led him into the mine?

Come on. Even I managed to go into the right adit.

Alright, enough berating the disabled. I’m for sure going to hell.

Here’s an article about The Accident.

Enjoy more pictures by me.


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