La Caverna del Oro

MD

Jr. Member
Apr 4, 2005
73
3
I've been doing some research. I came across La Caverna del Oro. Although I've live here all my life, I've never heard of it. I found it really fascinating. There isn't a lot of information on the web. I thought it might stir some discussion.
---Located in Southern Colorado at about 12,000 feet.
---Around 1900, Elisha Horn stumbled across a skeleton clad in Spanish armor. An arrow was still sticking out of its bony back. A red cross was painted above a nearby cave entrance (the red cross can still be seen).
---It was left alone until 1920. A 105 year old Mexican woman reported that her family explored it when she was a child. She said there is gold behind oak doors.
---Among finds, are a skeleton chained by the neck, a hammer, and a rope-bucket-pulley system.
---The Spaniards probably used it as fort in the 1600's.
---The cave is huge with many passageways and rooms. It has not been completely explored or mapped.
So, were the Spanish mining the cave for gold or was it just a fort? Did they enslave Native Americans to mine gold nearby? If so, where? Why did they leave?
 

Robby Comstock

Jr. Member
Feb 11, 2008
23
0
Colorado Springs
MD

I have read about La Caverna del Oro but dont remember reading that it was a fort. Everything else you state I have read. It would be fun to make it up there some time to see the markings and the entrance. From what I have read I have it marked out on Google earth.
 

Mojave

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Nov 19, 2006
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Louisville Colorado
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Hi. I have alot of info on it filed away somewhere. I think the way it goes, was that the tribe caved in the main entrance long ago. The entrance has been found, but it cannot be reopened without major damage and/or collapse. However, there have been several other entrances found, and much of it has been explored to depths (i think) in excess of 500 feet, where there is nothing but slime and water. There were a few levels that had some old tools, though, found on the way down. No-one found any doors or any other chambers..

The last I heard was another opening had been found, and was scheduled to be explored, but that was a couple of years ago, and I haven't heard anymore. I imagine they didn't find anything, since I haven't heard.

I could forward you what I have on the subject if you want. Good reading anyway. I wouldn't mind "poking around" up there, for sure.

Chris
 

jewelerdave

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Aug 29, 2007
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debugging this one there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. The local Indians in Colorado had no use for gold. didnt work it, didnt keep it, no reason to hide it. they were nomadic.
2. It was not until the Spanish had brought in horses and that horses had spread around that the "plains Indians" came about. The area had Puebos to the south but even they had no gold.
3. There were parties of Spanish that searched and it is believed they got as far north as Wyoming. But Anyone who lives around here could imagine what it was like 400 years ago, a lonly horrible place. no establishments or resources at the time.
4. The Colorado Mountains of the 1600s would have been far more dangerous, isolated and of little interest to the Spanish at the time. They were viewed as a barrier and a forbidding place to avoid. No Indians encountered would have had any natural resources that they would have been interested in. They didnt farm, they didnt heard. the Spanish had no interest in "uncivilized" natives They were looking for an empire to bulid, this would require civilized small city states etc. Hence they only reason why the kept the Pueblos they did as even those were remote in Northern Mexico and there was little resources.

5. There is no gold found in Natural limestone caves in Colorado, you cant mine gold nuggets from limestone deposits. You would need either a intrusive quartz vein or a paleo placer.

6. 12,000 feet up on the side of a mountain with no trees, water, food sources close by. makes for an ineffective fort or defensive position. it also makes for a bad hiding place as barren fields of Rocky craigs and openings and harsh snow storms that can happen even in July makes it the worst possible place to be good for anything long term.

7. The Indians did not trust the Spanish and would say anything and everything to get them to move on They had a reputation. The only reason why the Spanish sent parties north was due to the local inhabitants sending them on wild chases that %100 of the time ended up in the loss of lots of Money, resources, men and time. And the garroting of Indians found to be telling lies.

8. The tale seems to fabulous in its re telling. Of all the gold and silver and other things found in the new world. It was always sent back to Spain. or at least 90% of it for Spain. Gold and silver was of little or no use in the Early Americas. You got it back home as fast as you could to keep it safe. So it either ended up in Spain. or on the ocean floor in a shipwreck.

9. If it was explored and things like skeletons and Spanish armor and doors were found. Why no trace today? It sounds more like a tale that was made up 100 years ago then anything solid. A good story always sells something.

10. the red Cross on the rock, now is so faded one can hardly tell its there. but reports from 80 years ago describe it as being vivid...Paint. no matter of what era, left on the side of an extreem place like a 12000 foot mountain that is windblown, snowed up and has temperature extreams from -30 below to up to 90 in summer. Just does not last 100 200 or even 300 years. Medevil castles used to be painted, and they are just rock now. Why would a small mark from the same era be different. And why would the Spanish be traveling around with red paint in the first place? And if your hiding something...why put a big red X on the spot? sounds too story book to me.

But has enough to capture the imagination of say "Investors" or people willing to spend money on hopes of finding a vast treasure high in the wild west mountains. Something that any sucker back east would be willing to plop down money for as a venture. Its been done many times. They money just was not enough, they have to get more supplies to go "deeper" to find the treasure. Just a little more money and I am sure I can find it, and more time...it goes on and on and on. I am debunking it as a fraud/scam.
 

RGINN

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The 'fort' was supposedly below the cave entrance. The cave is very dangerous and not for amateurs. Some of the Spanish explorers were no better than me at mineral identification and thought they had something when they probably didn't. Still, the San Luis Valley is a cool place. We camp down there once or twice a year. I haven't seen any UFO's or been mutilated yet.
 

Leones Corazon

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Mar 26, 2006
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I have seen gold deposits in odd places here on the western slope....ie: geologic anomolies as in folds under sandstone that one would not normaly associate with said area....and there is evidence of mining by early man...whom that would be is a mystery yet to be unraveled.

As far as UFO's....i have more than my fair share 10 miles from the house....

DW
 

RGINN

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You're right, Leones Corazon. Gold is where you find it, and sometimes it does defy established geology. Not often. Still, La Cavernan del Oro is a good story. There's probably something to it, but I wouldn't invest any money in it. More important than UFO's, Fruita had Mike the Headless Chicken!
 

Leones Corazon

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I wouldn't put much into the story myself....however if indeed there is something to it it will be marked well. And paint...please...everything i have ever seen done my the spanish was done to be a permanent fixture....ie: steel chisel....crosses...fletched arrows...etc. That being said should one find certain marks (remember it takes lichen a long while to get going and it can obscure even the best marks) i'd follow them and see where it takes you.


Yes we do have ye olde Mike the headless chicken festival here in fruita.
As far as the UFO's....i can't explain what i have seen...so its either not from this
world...or our gov's latest toy...more of a curiousity these days.

DW
 

hagerman

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Mar 17, 2008
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Oregon
I have heard a alot of stories about a cave with spanish skeletons and gold in them. From the storys i have read, they all point to the sangre de cristos. I think it is all a big overdone story where someone might have found some sign of spanish near some caves and the story has grown.
If you do some research into the sangre de cristos, you will find that there are a lot of natural caves. search for some info on marble mountain in the sangre de cristos. makes a great area for some lost treasure "stories".
maybe there is someting there but form what i have read there are a lot of people who explore those caves. i would think if there were spanish remains in them they would have been discovered. It does sound like a big cave complex so who knows. ???
 

Wild Boulder Bill

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md Wild Boulder here I have hunted the sangre de cristos exclusively for eight years now. I have found beautiful specimens of galena, sphalerite, and micro wire gold. I have been in search of sydney moons lost treasure of colorado lost wire gold cave. Almost all viens in the sangres are intrusive and they can pop up anywhere. It is common knowledge the spanish worked the sangres extensively and it is common knowledge by colorado archeologist that they enslved the original landowners extensively to mine their precious metal. Henceforth this might give them an attitude of wanting to kill the spainairds. I have read extensively about your cave. his is the advice i give you. There are many people in the treasure field who spend one day at a site and another somewhere else. They never find anything. Most people who reallly do find something spend years researching it. After eight years i am just now closing in on that mine. Any one who thinks they can spend two days up there and find it is crazy. On my first trip I found the cabin. On my next trip I found one of the claim stakes on the next trip i found the other claim stakes and on my last trip i found the wire gold. People told me for years there was no wire gold in the sangres. I have one piece in my basement that says they are all idiots. after the tools the university found in the cave and the armour found there. the fact that it is in the middle of an area that produced ore and the fact the little defense fort was found. I count it as a feasible story. The beauty of treasure hunting in the sangres is that the moment you stepped out of the car you have found gold. My wife has come down with a chronic illness so i don't know how many trips i'll get to make down there in the future. Ifi never see that mine i don,t regreat one day looking for it. I have Heard lightning as IT sounds moving down canyons(undescrbably beautiful) and I have seen a herd of hundreds of elk and grouse and deer. I have experienced what it must have felt like to be a miner in thee1890s. I have seen and located many gohst town. I can see a mine tailings miles away. I still don't have the mine but who cares. It was the search that was the beauty. I will always be indebted to sydney moon and her book. So I say to you find something you can sink you teeth into and spend your lifetime looking for it and to hell with those who try to convince you you're wasting your time. The is no wasted time in the sangre de christos. One other thing in the sangres 357 or 44 mag I have seen things other than elk.


Wild Boulder Bill
 

tapoutking

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Jun 27, 2007
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I am leaving for La Veta next Tuesday for a week and a half. I want to head up there and explore.... funny thing is, I was thinking "I better bring the S&W" lol. I presume you are speaking of bears correct?
 

RGINN

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Hey Wild Bill, you got some good points. I had a great-great uncle who spent years looking for one specific treasure in Oklahoma, and maybe he found it or he didn't. We don't know. I hope you find yours, and I hope the missus is doing alright.
 

Inness54

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Oct 13, 2013
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Notes

I've been doing some research. I came across La Caverna del Oro. Although I've live here all my life, I've never heard of it. I found it really fascinating. There isn't a lot of information on the web. I thought it might stir some discussion.
---Located in Southern Colorado at about 12,000 feet.
---Around 1900, Elisha Horn stumbled across a skeleton clad in Spanish armor. An arrow was still sticking out of its bony back. A red cross was painted above a nearby cave entrance (the red cross can still be seen).
---It was left alone until 1920. A 105 year old Mexican woman reported that her family explored it when she was a child. She said there is gold behind oak doors.
---Among finds, are a skeleton chained by the neck, a hammer, and a rope-bucket-pulley system.
---The Spaniards probably used it as fort in the 1600's.
---The cave is huge with many passageways and rooms. It has not been completely explored or mapped.
So, were the Spanish mining the cave for gold or was it just a fort? Did they enslave Native Americans to mine gold nearby? If so, where? Why did they leave?

I have been there several times, and was compelled to register and post. Most of the above information was reported to the CMC people who investigated and found the cave. No Spanish armor was found, but a hammer of 16th century manufacture, a windlass and lots of rotted rope were found in the cave. The cross arms point in the direction of the "fort" at timberline, and arrowheads were abundant there- don't know about now... probably pretty well scoured.

The cave is exceptionally difficult and dangerous to explore! Very deep, vertical pits that open like jugs where you enter through the roof and have to rappel... and of course jumar back up. Steep slopes of 70 degrees or more, snow often sucked hundreds of feet in and down toward the first pit, a wind strong enough to blow out a carbide lamp, temperature 34F, 95% humidity. The cave is a dangerous, wet, cold, miserable place.

Across the first drop-off, which is about 180 feet deep, is a passage that leads to very deep canyons over 100 feet deep that you must chimney to cross. Eventually this leads to the bottom of a huge pit. A small, crawlhole entrance about 500 feet above the famous entrance, leads to entrance at the top of the pit, about 150 feet deep.

The cave is not fully mapped or explored. Lloyd Parris wrote an accident there involving a broken leg was likely to end in a fatality. Hypothermia is a very real risk and limits the time a person can remain in the cave.
 

Timbo

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May 6, 2012
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cross2.jpg
 

Timbo

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May 6, 2012
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And for anybody needing some believable info about "La Caverna del Oro"........ read this link:
http://caves.org/section/asha/issues/092.pdf

I have been on Marble Mountain several times.....if your goal is a very tough hike with the possibility of MAYBE finding an arrow head, then go for it. But otherwise you get to look in some naturally occurring holes in limestone rock. They have also quit maintaining this trail. There are untold dead falls laying across the trail. If you want good scenery take the easier route to Music Mountain Pass.

AND the pic above is of the "Spanish Cross"........ somebody show me historical evidence that the Spaniards used this. What you WILL find is evidence that Germans used it....... and Germans were amongst the first settlers of the Wet Mountain Valley.
 
Last edited:

Simon1

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And for anybody needing some believable info about "La Caverna del Oro"........ read this link:
http://caves.org/section/asha/issues/092.pdf

I have been on Marble Mountain several times.....if your goal is a very tough hike with the possibility of MAYBE finding an arrow head, then go for it. But otherwise you get to look in some naturally occurring holes in limestone rock. They have also quit maintaining this trail. There are untold dead falls laying across the trail. If you want good scenery take the easier route to Music Mountain Pass.

AND the pic above is of the "Spanish Cross"........ somebody show me historical evidence that the Spaniards used this. What you WILL find is evidence that Germans used it....... and Germans were amongst the first settlers of the Wet Mountain Valley.

The "Swastika" has been in use some 8,000 to 12,000 years ago. Spanish flags and markers incorporated the so - called "Swastika" long before Hitler and the Germans adopted it. The Spanish were in that area, as well as others, but if you are inferring it is a German symbol made by Germans, then the earliest date on this would be in the ballpark of 1933.
 

Goldstar1

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This is a pretty old thread. If you are interested in this cave the best info so far that I have found is in a book called "caves of Colorado" by LLoyd E. Parris . It covers alot of accounts from the treasure stories to several early spelunking expeditions. Anyone interested in this cave should try to get ahold of this book and any of the original articles referenced in the book. I personally do not put much stock in the treasure or gold mine side of the story , or even the chained skeleton , but I do believe something went on up there for some reason . It appears at least verified from several different early expeditions that there is/was a sort of iron chain log type ladder system , a crude windlass made from logs and an old hand forged hammer declared to be from the 1600s . It is certainly an interesting cave but I wouldn't recommend going to far in unless you are a seriously pro spelunker.
 

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