Trip Report
A Ridge So Far &/or Am I getting too-old for this?
Thursday August 16, 2018 8:11pm
I have a new fascination with the somewhat rare silver arsenic-sulphide minerals Proustite, and the silver antimony sulphide Pyrargyrite, aka Ruby Silver. Ruby Silver was the major type of silver found in the Sawtooth City area back in the 1880's, but specimens are exceedingly rare.

I read about the remote Lone Jack mine, located on a high ridge SE of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains at 9,800'. The geologist who examined the claim for the USFS mentioned the presence of Ruby Silver & a two-ton stockpile of sulphides, with a question mark. What more proof did I need?

I was delayed for 3 days by two wasp stings & an arm & leg that swelled considerably, but I eyed the weather & decided I needed to go before it went bad.

I had hopes of an old mining road easing my path to the 9,800' ridge from the 7,800' road up the creek below the mine. That mining road was gated & heavily signed & I was forced to go north up steep hillsides to a steeper, two-steps up, & slide one step back suffer-fest, that finally led into a mountain goat trail, that went up to steeper, but more solid granite outcrops.

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the upper half of my route up was about the mid-point of this photo.

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At this point, I'm nearly to my first high point, 2,000 vertical feet of steep "sufferfest" above my start. The mountain goat trail showed the way.
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After that, I enjoyed a pleasant ridge walk through mountain goat country to the old mine.

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1880's axe cut stumps, a clue that I must be getting close to the nearly lost Lone Jack mine.
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An 1880's prospect hole on the ridge at 9,800' indicated the Lone Jack mine was nearby.
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Ruby Silver! Maybe?
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Looking down on the main adit for the Lone Jack mine, which is about 200' to the west of the ridge at about 9,700'
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A perfectly good 1880's stove on the mine dump.
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Six 1880's square nails are in this chunk of rotting wood on the mine dump.
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Going back down wasn't quite as ugly & again the mountain goat trails showed me the way.
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With the ups & downs on the ridge, I enjoyed about a 2,400' of vertical day.

I made a camp back on the flats by 6:30 PM & thought: Boy am I happy to have made that hike.

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And, how much long can I keep enjoying this stuff?

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Amazingly, I wasn't sore the day after.

  Trip Report Views: 1,496
About the Author
Fritz is a trad climber from Choss Creek, ID.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Aug 16, 2018 - 08:14pm PT
cool to have an idea and then set one foot in front of the other, and realize it

keep on keeping on!

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
  Aug 16, 2018 - 08:21pm PT
Keep searching...One day you'll strike it rich...good find on the stove..rj

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Aug 16, 2018 - 08:36pm PT
rj! I must confess, in my youth, I would have figured out how to pack that stove out of there.

I'm over that now, it stays with the mine.

Besides, I have one that is similar, but better, that my family saved from a collapsed 1880's miner's cabin, back in the 1960's.


Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Aug 16, 2018 - 09:25pm PT
Geology, mineralogy, old mines, ridge walks at 9200 feet -> Best TR ever.

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Aug 16, 2018 - 09:38pm PT
Yeah Jim, I know what you are saying. After the 1860's Virginia City Nevada mining boom, more money was extracted from European & Eastern U.S. investors for western mine development, than was extracted from minerals in western mines.

I usually believe geologist reports on old mines, but I was very dissapointed that the USFS geologist's two-ton stockpile of grey-black sulphides-ruby silver?, on the mine-dump of the Lone Jack mine was "bull-quartz", aka massive milky-quartz, with no sulphide content.

It was a nice day of high mountain adventure, anyway.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Aug 16, 2018 - 10:54pm PT
Bump for good TR and photos
BTW: You don't get sore the next day, it's the day after that, that gets us old guys.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Aug 17, 2018 - 06:19am PT
Fritz, there is treatment for yer condition: git yer honky ass back out there!

Thatíll be a three fiddy.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Aug 16, 2018 - 11:56pm PT
In the late 1800s and early 1900s Leavenworth was the most important manufacturing city in Kansas and one of the largest in the entire United States. It had sixty-seven prosperous and growing industries. It was third in furniture production in the United States, had the second largest mill-machinery plant in the country, second in the manufacturing of stoves, ...
From the beginning of a small foundry and machine shop in 1857 emerged two firms, The Great Western Stove Company and the Great Western Foundry and Mill Machinery Works.

The foundry was established to manufacture steamboat parts, but within a short period began casting wood burning stoves. The Great Western Stove Company of the 1870's had two foundries and its furnace yielded 15 tons of iron daily. In 1936, the Great Western Stove Company was still making coal, wood and gas burning stoves and ranges of all kinds under the trade name "Banquet". The stove company closed in the early 1940's. The stoves produced by the Great Western Stove Company are prized today by antique collectors and letters of inquiry are received to this day at the Great Western Manufacturing Company as to the availability of replacement stove parts. There are none.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Aug 17, 2018 - 03:26am PT
Nice adventure.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Aug 17, 2018 - 05:56am PT
Fritz, you continue to inspire me. Seriously dude, not sure I could have kept up with you (way too much time at a desk these past few years). Near as I can tell you are living the dream I want to start living as soon as I can. If that ever happens my dream may be to ride my motorbike up your way for a visit. Surely two rock hounds can be stupider than just one alone.
Woody the Beaver

Trad climber
Soldier, Idaho
  Aug 17, 2018 - 06:07am PT
Well, that is fun to read! I'm surprised that nobody in this thread has pointed out that Ruby Silver would be a great nom de guerre for a stripper! Maybe the best stripper name ever! I'm intrigued that the mine is up there above 9,000 feet. That seems high for the Sawtooths, where the top peaks don't clear 10,000 by much. Anyway, thanks for the jolly TR.
karabin museum

Trad climber
phoenix, az
  Aug 17, 2018 - 07:54am PT


Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
  Aug 17, 2018 - 08:04am PT
My father was a geologist always looking for that gold mine over the hill in Colorado and fortunately took me on many such outings and also underground. If people only knew how hollow Ajax mountain in Aspen is, they'd be afraid to ski on it. Fun for outings but as my mother used to say, "A mine is a hole in the ground that you pour money into".

Social climber
Cat Box
  Aug 17, 2018 - 09:21am PT
Nice TR Fritz. I'm curious. There seems to be a lot of standing dead wood in some of your photos. What's the story there?
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Aug 17, 2018 - 09:47am PT
Awesome TR!

We hike around Alta (etc) in the summer a bunch (a bunch being 2 to 3 times per week...). Found two broken assay crucibles earlier this week. Pretty neat.

I'm always curious about the rocks we see...wish I knew more about the geology...


Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Aug 17, 2018 - 01:38pm PT
Thanks folks for your kindly & interesting comments.

Clint! I enjoyed that bit of stove history too.

Nick! Visit, for sure!

Robb: Those plentifull dead trees are high-altitude Limber &/or Whitebark pines. The years of global-warming & drought have made them more susceptable to bark beatles, which have killed huge numbers of these beautiful pines.

Woody! I was just SE of the Sawtooth Range, in the Smoky (what an currently apt name) Mountains, but still in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

About this time last summer, after Heidi & I had done a 12 mile round-trip, on & off trail, hike with some steep-scrambling, in the Sawtooths, I woke up with a swollen & sore left knee that stayed sore until a torn meniscus was fixed, & a 1/4" bone chip, & some assorted arthritic junk removed, at the end of October. The knee was immediately better, but still swelled up & hurt after exercise, until July, but now it's damn-near like new.

Unfortunately, although I had previously tolerated aspirin & Iboprofen just fine, for old-age pains, the surgeon prescribed Meloxicam as his anti-inflamatory of choice after surgery. I soon developed an allergy & an itchy rash on my upper body & now both aspirin & iboprofen also cause that rash. I've had to go "cold-turkey" on post suffer-fest medication, except for alcohol, which I continue to take as needed.

Yesterday morning was somewhat cloudy & the nearby mountain canyon I wanted to hike, was full of threatening clouds. I knew monsoonal thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon, so I retreated SE on Hwy 75 to the Big Wood River Valley, which has plenty of old mines to hike to. Unfortunately, the view down the valley from Galena Summit was not encouraging, due to fire-smoke & clouds.

I continued south to Hailey, then went west to the now vanished 1880's mining town of Bullion. Although I hadn't been there for 30 years, it was as empty as ever & I parked & hiked to some of the old mines up-canyon from the ghost town.

Up another side-canyon above Bullion, I found this old boiler by the Mayflower Mine.

A nearby mine dump was all composed of the iron carbonate mineral Siderite. The stuff is heavy & neat looking, but not especially collectable.

Back in the old ghost town, an 1880's safe still remains, & not much else, to mark the town that once had a population of over 500.

My family dug quite a few 1880's bottles at nearby mines in the mid-1960's, but it appears only 1880's tin cans, that nature is reclaiming, remain as small artifacts.

Outside the can:
Inside the can:

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 19, 2018 - 03:56pm PT
Itís good to see you still getting after it Fritz,
Keep up the adventure fun as long as you can 👍👍🍻

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Author's Reply  Aug 20, 2018 - 04:47pm PT
Ezra! Thank you1 It's always good to hear from you.

Here's a newspaper article photo from the 1960's, of the town of Bullion in the mid-1880's. From my mother's collection of historical documents.