Author Topic: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine  (Read 64613 times)

wshawkins

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2012, 02:15:34 PM »
Is there are another way up to Hanging Valley Mine?


You can reach it going up the Gable Lakes Trailhead.  Its 4 miles to the first Gable Lake and another 1 mile to 1 1/2 miles to the mining road on Mt. Tom.  It’s the same mileage for the Horton Lake trailhead.  They’re both bad trails because of the scree along the trail route.  If you’re going, buy the new “scree” hiking shoes/boots.  They do help, as they grip rocks real good.  I bought some for last season.

I would choose the Horton Lakes route as you can fish at these lakes.  Gable Lakes are fishless.  Good luck if you go.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2012, 09:54:55 AM »
This is the final piece of this Pine Creek Tungsten Mine story and will focus on the mining on Mt. Morgan/Wheeler Ridge area.  This is where over 90% or more of the mining was done.  Mining started in 1918 and as I said it before, manual labor and mules carried the ore to the mill.  They built a rough trail down to the mill so the packers could deliver the ore on mules.  This was a tough job as this was a year around job.  Some of the miners worked on the highest mine, The Adamson Mine, at 13,000 feet elevation in winter! 

To get to the mines, the miners took “The Gray Bus” through Rock Creek over Morgan Pass to Wheeler Ridge.  The bus ride was not for the week of mind, as this was an E-ticket ride.  Many men did not last the week and quit.  Lot of good stories on this subject in the book, “The Mine in the Sky”.

Things slowly improved.  In the late 30’s, early 40’s they built a wooden trams system from the mines to the mill, so mules were no longer needed.  They also built a tram system from the Adamson Mine down to the lower mines.

Finally, they cored 2 miles through the mountain with 2 thousand feet elevation to the mines in the Wheeler Ridge area.  The tram system was no longer needed.  The electric Mules were used until the mill closed down in the early 2000’s.

There were dozens of mine shafts in this area but most are buried now and the area cleaned up.  When I lasted hiked up this valley, you can still hear the wind whistling through some of the old mine shafts.  The mine shafts that are still there are mostly blocked off solid, so not much to look at today.  But if you walk up to the old jeep road to the top of Broken Finger Peak, Adamson Mine still has some mining equipment and adit to look at.


Ore Bin



Mine Entry



On Broken Finger Peak looking at Mt. Morgan



Ore Car at Adamson Mine at 13,000 – “Mine in the Sky”



« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 12:17:05 PM by wshawkins »
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2012, 01:14:53 PM »
The Brownstone Mines would be my choice for a day hike.  Drive down to the end of Pine Creek Road and park at the trailhead parking.  Take the Trailhead for Pine lakes/Italy Pass and follow the mine road to where it ends at about 2 miles.  The mines are on your left up the hill.  Look at the equipment left lying around and check out the mine entrances if you wish. 

The mine itself has extensive workings and many ladders going down deep, deep down into the mountain.  It is pitch-black inside with some scary deep cored shafts you could fall into.  What I’m trying to say is it can be very dangerous to go deep into the mine and I do not recommend it.  The top floor (The mine entrance) is fine as you will see a tool room, some offices, and locker and shower rooms to browse about.  Bring a flashlight or 2 and maybe a bump hat, as the ceilings are low with piping hazards overhead.  Send me a pm if you need more info.

Also get a early start as the trail is exposed all the way to the mine, can get hot!
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2012, 04:43:08 PM »
No, you need to take the Morgan Pass Trailhead which is located at the tungsten mine, which is past the Trailhead parking for Pine Creek Trailhead.  You have to jump a gate in order to start your hike.  After the gate, the switchback road eventually turns into a very steep trail.  At about 3.2 miles, take the cutoff to the right to get to the mines.  But the elevation gain is significant, about 3,000 feet at this point.

Mines are not hard to find.  Most have a barrier blocking the entrances.  When you first enter the canyon, look up to the right and you will first see the Shirley Temple Mine and next to it is the Randolph Scott Mine. Many more movie star mines in the area.   It was very stylish thing to do as movie stars to invest in mines in the 30’s and 40’s.  If you continue about a mile up the canyon you come to the Main Mine Tunnel that goes completely through the mountain to the Pine Creek Tungsten Mill.  At this point you will begin to see what's left of the tram system and ore bins. 

To your right you will see a jeep road that goes to the top of Broken Finger Peak and the Adamson Mine at 13,000 feet.  You will find a lot of mine debris around there, including an open adit or two and ore cars lying about.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

WiseTioga

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2012, 10:37:03 PM »
It seems to me that I remember a bunch of photo posts of a tour inside the mine on the old board. But then maybe I'm having a Sr. Moment or dreaming of another board. Do any of you recall?

WT 


saudust

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2012, 12:05:57 PM »
Thanks for the links, sierraslugger.  Great pictures and fun reading.
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

sierraslugger

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2012, 12:34:06 PM »
I forgot about this website. It has pictures of the inside of the mine.
http://www.ripleysghosttowns.com/pinecreekmine.html

WiseTioga

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2012, 09:36:46 PM »
Sierraslugger;

Thank you. Those were the posts that I was thinking of.

W.T.

IW

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2012, 07:59:43 PM »
Great story and pics.   Now I'll have to get out my Mine in the Sky and read it once more.

I exchanged a few e-mails with the author when I first read the book.   He was in Alaska at the time but had been in Bishop and Rock Creek the previous summer.   If I remember correctly his father still lived in the area.

I wonder how many others on this board have DRIVEN to the top of Morgan Pass as I have a couple of times before the road form Mosquito Flats was blasted shut...???   We never ventured down the other side and just walked down to fish.   The back side was gravely and we were afraid we couldn't pull back up from the Pine Creek side with only 2 wheel drive of our 1928 Franklin.   And then we'd have to drive all the way down to 395 and back to Tom's Place and back up the canyon, then a dirt road to the Rock Creek Lake STORE and around the lake and up the old branch of the Sand Canyon Road to our cabin.

IW

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2012, 02:39:53 PM »
My father, who built our cabin at Rock Creek in 1946, taught Geology.   I went on only one student field trip with him which went into Death Valley.   He had arranged via a geologist friend I believe, to take a trip down into a mine.   He told the half dozen female students who were on the field trip to wear a hat and hide their hair under the hat and to hide their breasts with a binding or a baggy shirt and not to say anything.   

And I remember riding down into the mine and each of us had a hard hat.  I remember how dark it was when they turned off the few lamps on the hard hats for 5 minutes...   

Fortunately none of the miners realized that there were HEAVENS FORBID WOMEN in the mine!    I'm sure that the tunnels all collapsed after we left!!!


Mimi McKell

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #36 on: August 10, 2012, 11:57:07 AM »
Does anyone know where I can get a copy of "Mine in the Sky"? 

wshawkins

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2012, 11:32:30 AM »
I see there is one for sale at The Store @ Rock Creek Lake through Amazon for $999.98.  That’s just crazy and it’s a used book!

http://astore.amazon.com/rockcreeklakecal/detail/1888125349
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Claremont Dude

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2012, 11:10:55 PM »
Does anyone know where I can get a copy of "Mine in the Sky"?

It's available online for $32.95 at the following site:
http://www.qbd.com.au/product/9781888125344-Mine_in_the_Sky_by_Joseph_M_Kurtak.htm
"Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."- Henry David Thoreau

tizak

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2012, 10:11:49 AM »
Was at Horton / Tungstar / Mt. Tom first week of August 2012 (third annual trip) and spent time examining much of the abandoned mine equipment. Looks to me like the big engines at the mine site - one 6 cyl and one 4 cyl, both mated to compressors - were gas fueled. Could be wrong but did see a carburetor on the 6 cyl which would indicate a gas fired system. Both had an IR logo on their radiator shrouds which is likely the mark of Ingersoll Rand - makes sense with the compressors involved. The engines are massive and we noted a sled downhill that appeared to have about 8 or 10 drums on and around it. Assumed this was a collection of 55 gal. fuel drums that had been left behind when things were abandoned. Must have been quite a task to get fuel up to the engines in that steep and loose terrain.

Pics from our trip this year:

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=tizak820&target=ALBUM&id=5776732496939550081&authkey=Gv1sRgCMT64trf7pXfcg&feat=email

tizak

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #40 on: August 21, 2012, 10:22:47 AM »
Just found this info on the Tungstar Mine:


Tungstar Mine
http://mineral-resources.findthedata.org/l/8938/Tungstar

Year of First Production:   1939
Discovery Year:              1936
Production Years:      1939 - 1945

IW

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #41 on: January 24, 2013, 05:46:44 PM »
She was told that she would be the first woman ever to enter the mine!  Some of the miners were very upset about her entering the mine as they were superstitious about a women being in the mine.  She went in anyway!  She thought the year was about 1976.

---------------------------------------
My father, a Geologist teaching at UCSB at the time took me along on one of the twice a year trips with college geology students.   I was probably in 11 th grade at the time which would have been mid 1953 or 54.   There were 5 suburban carryalls and several student cars.   Perhaps 6 or 7 students were women.  The trip was in the Death Valley area.

My father had arranged for us to have a mine tour and warned the women the night before to wrap their upper body tightly enough to hide the fact that they were women and put on a loose sweat shirt or similar and keep in the groups of male students.   They all had to put their hair up and get it under caps and NOT SPEAK during the tour.   Telling them that if found out they'd be tossed out and that women were bad luck in the mine and my father didn't want later field trips to be denied the chance to go into a working mine.

Fortunately they weren't discovered and the tin hats with lamp on them went over the caps and in the dim light it would have been hard to tell that they were women.   I remember we went into the mine in mine carts and then down into lower levels of the mine and for a couple of minutes shut off all our lights to see what real darkness was.   


wshawkins

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #42 on: January 25, 2013, 06:39:58 AM »
Because mines were such dangerous places and luck played a large role in the miners’ well-being, a great deal of lore developed around signs of luck, especially bad luck.  One such bit of lore involves women.  In general, women in or near a mine were considered bad luck.  Perhaps this belief arose because historically women only came to the mines in times of tragedy, looking for lost loved ones.  A red-haired woman was considered particularly bad for red-haired women were considered omens of death.  If a red-haired woman enters a mine, there will be a death among the miners within six months.

Mine Superstitions die hard.  IW, good thing nobody noticed the women as that would have really upset the miners!






« Last Edit: October 01, 2013, 01:08:09 PM by wshawkins »
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Big Ed

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #43 on: February 20, 2014, 08:30:39 PM »
Check out these links to Dave McCoy's web site.
http://www.davemccoyphoto.com/70-a-wild-adventure-at-pine-creek-part-1/
http://www.davemccoyphoto.com/71-more-from-the-pine-creek-mine-site/
http://www.davemccoyphoto.com/72-the-final-images-from-pine-creek/

I walked up from Pine Creek to Lower Morgan Lake in about 2001, that road was a good pull, it was raining too. Never been up to the mines though, thanks for sharing the pictures. 

wshawkins

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2014, 06:50:32 AM »
The gate is locked at the end of the road to the mine.  You’ll need permission to get access.  There is a guard/caretaker who lives there 24/7.  You can access the trails to Wheeler Ridge, Morgan lakes or the Pine Lakes, depending on where you want to go.  But no access to the mine.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

RLBarnes

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #45 on: May 31, 2015, 12:23:59 PM »
Just found this site, my grandfather John Crookshank or (Cruickshank) worked in the mine during WWII he came from South Dakota's Homestake Gold mlne in Lead close to Deadwood.
He died at the mine in the sky on December 17th or 18th 1944. He is buried in Bishop cemetery. My mother was a senior at Bishop High school, it was her birthday, her Dad came down for her birthday, and went back up to mine to go on graveyard shift, His partner he worked with found him sitting on bench crew room thought he was asleep. Died of a heart attack.
Sad story, would have liked to have known my grandfather.

TEX

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #46 on: May 31, 2015, 12:49:57 PM »
Welcome RL. I thank you for the insight and also your grandfather for working something worthwhile to give us an opportunity to look into the past. Any other info is eagerly awaiting for.
This is a great place. Info; history and just good people.  Next time in Bishop I'll look him up. I just passed there a week ago.  On a side note, I missed my exit in France and ended up in Italy (my heritage) Got stuck in traffic and turned as soon as I could. Ended up in Buggio. At the end of the road was a cemetery. Gorgeous headstones.  They people were living to be over 100 a hundred yrs ago...
The E.S. is where I come to get back to sanity and to the real me.

wshawkins

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #47 on: June 01, 2015, 06:58:57 AM »
Pine Creek Tungsten Mine become one of the world's great tungsten mines.  Pine Creek tungsten supplied much of the defense needs of the United States during World War II and made a substantial contribution to the country's stockpile of strategic metals.  Not too shabby and defiantly something to be proud of that your grandfather contributed to such an important job for the war’s effort.

A help wanted ad I pulled from the Inyo Register archives from the war years to work in the mine.  Very busy time for the mine with over 250 men working the mine during this time period and I’m told that was a decent wage back then.

 
Help Wanted Ad for Pine Creek Tungsten Mine during the War Years
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WiseTioga

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #48 on: September 07, 2015, 05:21:33 PM »
If anyone is interested I have a 2004 4th. Edition copy of Mine In The Sky in As New Condition that I would be willing to let go for $40.00 + Postage (U.S.P.S. Money Order). These are selling for $60.00 + on Amazon. PM me if interested.

Gary C.

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Re: The Story of the Pine Creek Tungsten Mine
« Reply #49 on: October 23, 2017, 02:48:53 AM »
I saw this video on the HST site and thought it would fit in here nicely. I'm not sure how to put it directly to the site but here is a link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BSDrocE6u4