2021 Trip Reports - Rondy Outbound: Tecopa Area Mines
Rondy Outbound: Tecopa Area Mines
Trip Leader Jay Lawrence • Photos by Janet Austin and Jay Lawrence
After the Sunday morning meeting at the Rondy we assembled a motley crew of explorers and head down Highway 95 to the Old Spanish Trail Highway, then struck out on dirt toward Tecopa, following the southern edge of the Nopah Range. The group included Lindsay and Michelle Woods, Janet and Pete Austin, Brett Henrich, Pat Nelson, Ed Jack, Dave Hess, Dave Burdick, Craig Baker, Paul Rourman, Marian Johns and me.
Our first stop was the east entrance of the War Eagle Mine. Several of us poked our heads into the mine entrance but we were not there to explore the interior. This entrance only hints at the extensive (and dangerous to explore) tunneling, air shafts, elevator drops and excavation inside this mine. We would see several other access points miles away later in the day. It would be an understatement to say that these mountains are riddled with holes. On an earlier visit I met a group of mine explorers who had been under-ground here for a week and they felt they had barely started exploring.
Next we visited the remains of Lower Noonday Camp where local ore was processed before transport by rail. Gravity and time have beat up the old ore chute, but a large iron tank and several water runs remain.
We headed around the corner of the Nopahs to the west entrance with a stop for lunch. Several folks elected to run the loop up to and under the huge ore chute that marks the primary entrance to the War Eagle. It is a massive structure and still in remarkable shape after being abandoned for more than 65 years.
Around the next corner we found the Columbia Mine lower entrance and upper entrance with its big ore chute and tram track remains along with a slightly used Oldsmobile carcass. Several folks drove and hiked to the ore chute. The small turnaround limited the number of cars that could get up that road and the dropoffs make any mistake a big one.
We hit the Old Spanish Trail Highway and pavement again at Tecopa and said our goodbyes to the people who were headed out. Ed Jack, Pat Nelson, Dave Hess, Dave Burdick, Pete and Janet Austin and I continued on to Ibex Springs and the two talc mine sites there. One of the few buildings that was standing only last year has collapsed. The doghouse over the spring is still in OK shape and the small water tank remain. We ran into big washouts, ran out of road and ran out of daylight so more exploration would have to wait for another day. We had a full day with great people and beautiful weather. We headed back to Highway 127 and wished each other safe travels when we hit the pavement and unlocked hubs. ~ Jay