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Thread: What to watch for going in?

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  1. #1
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    captain

    Dec 2016
    ohio
    bounty hunter time ranger
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    What to watch for going in?

    This a call out to experienced hard rockers. I have watched a lot of mine videos and listen to what to look for in minerals and formations and such. One thing i noticed is that some glance over the perils that one may encounter going in or when inside. I know there are a multitude of dangers mining and going into abandoned mines is a big risk. Can some of you give a quick list of things that will keep you out.
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  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2012
    Maryland
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    I've had some experience, but not tons. Dry rotted timbers will ruin your day. Lack of oxygen. Poisonous gasses in the mines, venomous snakes, lizards and spiders, shafts that may be covered by wood and a little dirt and all but invisible until you step on one, which would be the last thing you do. And many places today wild animals that would think of you as a tasty snack, or even smaller rabid ones.

    If you go, take a few people with you. If you can't do that, don't go. At least one has to stay out of the mine to call 911 hoping you have cell coverage there. Always take an emergency beacon also.
    63bkpkr and mytimetoshine like this.

  3. #3
    Charter Member
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    Period Six Mining and Exploration, LLC

    Aug 2010
    Southeast Arizona
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    Lots of material on the floor from the ribs and back is a sure fire way to make me evaluate if it is worth going in. Like I said before, I know where there is a mine full of equipment we desperately need but the ribs and the back are seriously unstable.

    Rotten timbers will ruin your day. Its rather hard to tell if a timber is rotten just by looking at it. I have some here that look solid but aren't even worth burning for a fire outside at night.

    So are bowed and cracked timbers. They can give way at anytime. Even a small brush against them could be all it takes and your in a deep grave.

    Roof bolts sticking out or laying on the floor is a bad sign. By this I mean it looks like the roof bolts have backed out some or have backed out completely. THAT is a sure fire sign that the back is ready to come in on ya.

    A false floor over a winze will definitely ruin your day. Which is why I recommend carrying a scaling bar to test to area in front of you. Some of those are a long damn drop.

    Bad air in another one. I carry a air monitor with me when I go in. They are not cheap for a decent one, but it is better than the alternative.

    Critters of all sorts. You wouldn't believe what will call an old mine shaft home. Another reason for carrying that scaling bar.

    Old explosives. This one is kinds self explanatory.

    If I think of more I'll post them up.
    63bkpkr, russau and tamrock like this.
    Mining is how I make my living. I turn mountains into dust on a daily basis.

  4. #4
    Charter Member
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    Period Six Mining and Exploration, LLC

    Aug 2010
    Southeast Arizona
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    Carry at least three light sources with ya too. I use one similiar to this as a main source.

    63bkpkr and russau like this.
    Mining is how I make my living. I turn mountains into dust on a daily basis.

  5. #5
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    Tommy

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    Ann Arbor
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    Dust settles on the floor but its water and looks like a floor BATS SNAKES ECT
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  6. #6
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    captain

    Dec 2016
    ohio
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    I do lack company in my endeavors and when someone does come its for panning not rock slamming. Being a tunnel rat with a Kbar and a 45.is not supposed to be a hobby. Looking for old booby traps takes fineness and experience. I'm trying to learn from others warnings.

  7. #7
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    TerryrSoloman.com

    May 2010
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    Javalina, cougars, bears, racoons, bobcats, mountain goats, rattlesnakes, witches.. you know, bad stuff. Stay out, stay alive!
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  8. #8
    us
    Northern California

    Aug 2007
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    Some very good lists of various precautions! The one that caught my attention was old explosives. I was high on a hill above Bodie, CA in its early days of being a park, up where from the valley view it looked like a bunch of Outhouses on the hill. None of the buildings were locked or had any signs on them so I went into one. Once inside I saw an all steel wheelbarrow leaning against the wall. I swiveled it away from the wall to see maybe three very old boxes of things that looked like flares with the paper all rotted off of them. I also noticed Lots of a water clear jelly like substance oozing from each stick. I slowly returned the wheelbarrow to its original position and Left the building. Pure Nitroglycerin is fairly unstable especially with the heat out there in Bodie.

    Yup, lots of stuff to watch out for in old mines or mine buildings!....................63bkpkr

    One other thing I've run across was once I was walking on the ties of a narrow gauge track in a mine out in the Cali Desert. I realized my flashlight was doing a very poor job of illuminating the floor at my feet. I shined it on the wall and it was fine, I shone it on the floor and it went very weak. Kneeling down on the tracks I quickly realized what was happening. The roof of the tunnel below had collapsed and my light was shining into the tunnel below. Very touchy stuff!

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    Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm

  9. #9
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    Period Six Mining and Exploration LLC

    Mar 2015
    Sonoran Desert of AZ
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    Bad backs (ceilings/roofs) in mines, cracked timbers, warped logs, bad air, decomposed rock that looks good but flakes off nothing to it. All manners of critters calling them home. Hordes of flies. Gas from the enchiladas from the night prior; a true killer.

    Snakes. I ******* hate snakes. Killed three rattlers the last time I was out. Two in one mine, and another thought it was cute to crawl down by the camp.

    Got in a shoot out with somewhere between 12 and 15 javelinas in a mine, when my revolver only carried 5 shots. They kept moving right along until a piglet ran into my leg and started squealing. Last few shots convinced them to move along. They came down that adit so fast, if you didn't have your pistol up and pointed you wouldn't have had time to draw it. I carry a Glock model 40, 10mm, now.

    Water. I DO NOT like water in a mine. You never know when a step could be enough to release that bubble of CO2 sitting under a few boards or just under the lip of a submerged overhang.

    This is a fun spot in a new mine we have. That's 70-80 tons, easily, of rock broke loose from the back being held up by those inadequate stulls. Know how you get past it? You crawl over the pile of rubble that's broken loose from the back of the rock shelf those stulls are standing on. So yeah, you have to crawl through a narrow spot where the pressure from those top rocks has caused the lower rocks to break apart. Good times.

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  10. #10

    Mar 2016
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    In reference to the thread above, I have often asked myself what discovery would make the risk worth taking AND how likely the payoff would be.

    I have taken some risks that most would not think of doing. I would never crawl under that death trap. Too risky for me.
    gold tramp and tamrock like this.
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  11. #11
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    Gold Tramp

    Dec 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by IMAUDIGGER View Post
    In reference to the thread above, I have often asked myself what discovery would make the risk worth taking AND how likely the payoff would be.

    I have taken some risks that most would not think of doing. I would never crawl under that death trap. Too risky for me.
    Most times pictures make it look much worse than real life.
    I just stay out, unless I'm getting a decent paycheck in CASH money.

    Worse we ever ran into was a mother bobcat coming oughta of a drift, ken was the only one dumb enough to go in side. He came running out, just in the entrance up top in the timber was 3 kittens.
    I yelled at old boy told him moms over here in the bushes and is not happy.

    We left out real fast like, had my young son with me we didn't want a run in with a ticked off mother cat.
    Paiute mnt prospecting trip.
    Gt......

  12. #12

    Mar 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by gold tramp View Post
    Most times pictures make it look much worse than real life.
    I just stay out, unless I'm getting a decent paycheck in CASH money.

    Worse we ever ran into was a mother bobcat coming oughta of a drift, ken was the only one dumb enough to go in side. He came running out, just in the entrance up top in the timber was 3 kittens.
    I yelled at old boy told him moms over here in the bushes and is not happy.

    We left out real fast like, had my young son with me we didn't want a run in with a ticked off mother cat.
    Paiute mnt prospecting trip.
    Gt......
    Getting sprayed by skunk while belly crawling into a drift tunnel is my only animal encounter so far. If the dogs had not followed us in, we probably would have been fine.
    All treasures found with permission on private property or on active mining claims.

  13. #13

    Aug 2015
    Las Vegas, NV
    54
    122 times
    Prospecting
    Blackchipjim,

    We explore a lot of old mines so there's not a lot that keeps us out, but here are a few things I watch for.

    - At the adit or collar, are there large timbers that are about to fall in? These are the same as "widow makers" in a forest. The timbers weigh a lot and one falling on you can seriously injure or kill you. Even a slight bump can dislodge them.

    - At the adit or collar, are there large rocks or boulders that overhang your path of travel? Depending on their size and height, can be more dangerous than the timbers.

    - Evaluate how dangerous it is to access the mine. We have visited some mines where we had to skirt around a shaft to make our way into a drift. One slip can lead to a long fall.

    - Are there signs that others have been in and out of the mine? Tracks leading in and out of a mine indicate that others have been in there. It's no guarantee that the mine is "safe", but your odds have improved.

    - Do you have to climb up a precarious route to enter the mine. Climbing up is much easier than climbing down. Don't get yourself into a situation where you are stranded at the mine opening and can't get safely back down.


    Although your post requested information about what would keep me out, I would like to add a few thoughts about preparation before heading in.

    - Make sure someone knows EXACTLY where you are and when you expect to be back. Years ago I was in search and rescue. It can take days to locate someone's abandoned vehicle based on a vague location like, "I'll be out around Goodsprings somewhere." If you are lost or injured in a mine, you may not have days to wait before they can locate your vehicle, figure out where you are, and organize a rescue. We use a Spot tracker to send the exact lat/lon before we enter a mine, then we send an "OK" message as soon as we exit. If we move to another location, we start the process over. If we are overdue, rescue crews have our exact location. Also, keep in mind that many search and rescue organizations will not have a cave/mine rescue team. It will take additional time for a trained team to get to your location.

    - Don't go solo. This one just makes sense. Have someone with you in case something goes wrong. My preferred number is three. If one person gets injured, one goes for help while the second stays with the injured party.

    - Never go underground without proper lights. I never go in a mine without at least two lights...and that's just to stick my head in for a quick look around. If I'm going out of sight of the entrance, it's three lights plus extra batteries for every light. Two lights are head mounted, and one is hand held. My backup headlamp is in my backpack and my hand held is in my front pocket. If you need to scramble up or down, trying to hold your flashlight and climb at the same time is not a good idea. Know how to change batteries in complete darkness.

    - Do not go underground without a helmet of some sort. It doesn't have to be a climbing helmet like we wear. A hard hat with a chin strap will do, or an old skateboard helmet. I started out wearing a bicycle helmet. You can bump your head hard enough to knock yourself unconscious. You can also be knocked out by a falling rock. Lastly, your helmet is where you mount your headlamp so you have your hands free.

    - Take water with you EVERY time you go into a mine. No one plans to be in a car wreck and no one plans to be stuck in a mine. The water you take may be what keeps you alive during a rescue.

    - Dress appropriately. Long pants, long sleeved shirt, and gloves will help protect you from scratches, scrapes, and ever present nails.

    - If you are serious about wanting to go underground, see if you can find someone in your area who is an experienced mine explorer. Get some basic experience with someone that knows their way around. Like all things in life, watch out for the idiots who want to "teach" you!

    I don't encourage people to explore old mines. It's dangerous, but so is riding a motorcycle, skydiving, and scuba diving. If you are going to do it, these are a few things you should consider.

    Joanne

  14. #14

    Apr 2013
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    150 times
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    There are plenty risks and dangers. Common sense goes a long way. Before even entering the portal of an adit or a shaft do a critter check. Throw a rock in and poke around for snakes. Many times rattlesnakes do not make a sound so be wary of them

    The portal is normally the most dangerous part and is the most likely to be or ready to collapse.
    A steep incline shaft can be hard to get out of without at least ropes or other climbing gear.. also be wary of dead air pockets. Like the bottom of a shaft or the end of a drift can be pretty low on 02 and when you get in the area it can get used up quick.

    Totally depends on the mine..if its multi levels and has a lot of winzes and stopes its a lot more dangerous than a simple shaft or adit.

  15. #15
    us
    captain

    Dec 2016
    ohio
    bounty hunter time ranger
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    Thanks for a lot of actual experiences of mine dangers. I think I'm a little late to the game to venture into mines. I would only go with an experienced person for sure and into one within my physical ability.

 

 
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