Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

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Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:32 am

Hey Gold Adventurers...

North of Granite, Colorado, is an old hard rock mining district and up Low Pass Gulch is a dirt road that crosses the creek several times, winds its way up the gulch for miles...   A tough road, barely passable in a 4-WD Jeep.  Sadly, not anymore, as the MONSTER thunderstorms we had this Summer REALLY flooded the creek to the point that it jumped the banks at the second crossing and began flowing down the road to the first crossing point. Now, the road IS the new creekbed and deep, full of big rocks, impassable.  One would now have to hike in on foot.

Anyways, all along the steep hillsides are evidence of old diggins' and collapsed adits from mining ops dating back to the mid/late 1800s.  Some of the decaying old log cabins show evidence of Depression Era miners back into the hills, reworking some of the mines in the 1930s.

One old mine had a stone and concrete footing, beside the creek, where I could tell an old stamp mill was located.  Looking at the lay of the land and mining debris I surmised all the tailings were dumped down the hill, beside the creek, and the good ore was pushed across the creek on a pine log bridge to the stamp mill.  My guess is they crushed the ore as fine as possible, to free up hard rock gold, and then slid down a flume to the creek below where it was sluiced...

I had panned several buckets of sample material dug from around the footing, and was amazed at the HIGH content of iron pyrite.....  Sure made my pan glow in the sun.  Surprised   But, if you did a little backwash & tap, one could eventually see a little dark, iron stained crystalline gold.  Yes.  Wink

So, I setup my Le Trap sluice, dug and sluiced about 10  2 1/2 gal pails of material.  My sluice was instantly full of old rusty nails & iron pyrite.  Kinda cool.............and VERY pretty looking in the sun.  

Here's my sluiced cons....nothing but pyrite & nails:



In my buckets, as I hand washed the material I found some really neat samples of their ore they were mining, crushing.









Notice the white quartz, loads of iron pyrite...

Once I screened and panned out my cons I was down to a nice amount of fine, dark, crystalline hard rock gold and  a lot of little lead balls/scrap from the old burned down mill.  I found some old metal scraps that appeared to be frames for metal screens they used in their mill, lead soldered into the frames, so I suspect this is where all the lead came from...:



Here's a little more dark, crystalline, iron stained hard rock gold the old timers were gettin' deep underground, that I got by carefully re-panning my cons:



So, in the course of 5 trips I made there, before the footing material ran out, I did about 10 to 12 pails a trip, and when all was said and done I ended up with 5 grams of hard rock gold!  Wink

So, in this example, being observant................I was able to 'mine the miners" and get some of what they lost and never had to set foot underground in a risky, dangerous mine shaft.  

Randy  "C-17A"  Smile


Last edited by Admin on Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

Post by russau on Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:27 am

Randy thanks for the tag-a-long! Leonard has a claim close to Granit , Colorado and he posted some pics of it sometime back after that last big flood they had.

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Re: Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

Post by Dave on Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:46 pm

Great bit of sleuth-work and the gold is nice also.

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Re: Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

Post by dickb on Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:41 pm

Randy:

Me wonders if a Cube set up as a recirculater would get the gold in those tailings? Might need something to crush the quartz, but I would think that there is a lot of small stuff left there.

Just thinking out loud.
Stay Warm.

Dickb
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Re: Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:09 am

Dickb,

Believe me.......I'd thought about a Gold Cube as well as a small suction dredge as 2 possible ways to MAYBE get more gold from that old mining operation.

Trouble is today the road is now totally washed out by the creek..........no way to get past it today in a vehicle, as the road between the first crossing & second crossing is now the creek bed.  Shocked

It's just about exactly 1 mile from the first crossing to the spot, as I have actually walked it once with my Le Trap, shovel, backpack, pan, bucket, etc., one of the 5 times when the creek was too high to risk running my 4-WD Jeep thru it.  UGH.  LONG walk up and back carrying that stuff in the thin 9,000 foot air! So, no way I am carrying anymore than I did before....

I've already gotten most the "good stuff" dirt around the stamp mill footing during my 5 times there.....BUT, as I looked at the whole operation, envisioned what might have been possible, probable back in the day, I am guessing they stamped their ore, screened it down to X size, then slid the crushed ore via a flume to the creek below for sluicing.

I'd thought about sample panning some of the creek bed downstream, when there, but that section was horribly overgrown with brush, and a little deep, so it would have been over the top of my rubber boots, so I never did.  I saved that "adventure" for another day....that may not come now thanks to the road being washed out.

In a perfect world the road would be good, I'd have a 2 1/2 inch suction dredge, I'd get my wetsuit on and sample every 10 feet of so downstream from that stamp mill looking for any pay layers or abundance of fine hard rock gold they lost sluicing.

Some day..... Wink

Randy  C-17A   Smile
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Re: Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

Post by Goldpanner Dave on Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:08 pm

Well, I have a 2" back pack Keene that we could take up there. I think I would modify the riffles, etc. since I have not changed them in 30 years.

Also, it looks like some of the other roads might connect further back from the Arkansas; maybe we could us a jeep and come in the back way?

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Re: Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

Post by Admin on Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:28 pm

Dave,

Well...........thanks for the offer, but sadly...........if you're not on private property.........you'd have to be on a federal mining claim that was permitted for motorized ops to legally use a gas powered suction dredge or batter powered Gold Cube......legally.

So, ever since the GPAA dropped both their Rebel Yell & Yankee Nugget claims up Low Pass Gulch last year, it's real "iffy" now as to prospecting up there.  I did meet an old fart back in like October at Cache Creek that told me he was a member of the Turquois Connection club out of like Arizona or New Mexico and that their club had claimed some of that gulch...

O.K. by me, as it was really poor, a big waste of time really, as compared to prospecting over at Cache Creek. Diggin' around that old footing was fun while it lasted.

So, with the road washed out now, it's really more of a dream than a reality for what I think you could/would get...

Randy  C-17A  Smile
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Re: Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

Post by jloyd on Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:49 am

looks like a lot of fun ,but the altitude does not agree with me any more .

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Re: Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

Post by Admin on Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:20 am

Jloyd,

Well..............not just the high altitude/thin air.................as a problem................the dirt road up Low Pass Gulch washed out 2 years ago and friggin' BLM still hasn't fixed the road...

Just another way BLM fails us and keeps us off our public lands.

I informed BLM of the road washout and all they'd say was, "maybe some day we'll go take a look at it...".

I have ZERO hope BLM will do their job they're paid to do, fix the road so we prospectors, hunters, hikers, ATVers, etc., can access, use, enjoy OUR public lands. Embarassed

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Re: Colorado -- Low Pass Gulch Hardrock Mining

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