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I don't explore mines much anymore, but for those who do, I am curious to what type of safety gear you take along with you? When I was exploring abandoned mines I took along:

  • Water
  • Oxygen meter
  • Hardhat
  • Plenty of flashlights and batteries.

I know I was missing a lot of stuff, but what do you find essential on your mine explores? 

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I’m not a mine guy. I have gone into those bored through solid granite, but always with a foreboding sense of “what if”, as in “what if that pinpoint of light back there disappears with a loud rumble?” In other words, I don’t like them. So when I have been in them, it was to grab a photo and then get the heck out.

In my travels with others who like old mines, I volunteer to stand by outside the mine and we agree on a time that the other guy will exit. We then agree on a grace period (usually a half hour) in that if he still doesn’t come out for a period of time after the time we agreed upon, then I would go for help because something happened. I’ve had a couple times that the grace period was nearly used up, because he got deep in the mine and lost track of time, but never had to go for help.

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Lights..lights. lights. Batteries.  Usually a rock hammer. Gloves.  A few mini glow sticks. My hard hat from work is handy. A gas/ oxygen meter. Sometimes a Shortwave UV flashlight too.  Some of the minerals light up under a blacklight with remarkable results.

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I would be willing to go a little ways into a mine, with an Olight Seeker 2 Pro flashlight. I have not been in one before, what kind of critters do you run into in the mines?

 

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Never been personally but isn't chalk a must have when in mines to regularly mark the floor/walls to find your way out if it's got lots of tunnels? 

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14 hours ago, That other Dave said:

Lights..lights. lights. Batteries.  Usually a rock hammer. Gloves.  A few mini glow sticks. My hard hat from work is handy. A gas/ oxygen meter. Sometimes a Shortwave UV flashlight too.  Some of the minerals light up under a blacklight with remarkable results.

What gas / oxygen meter do you use? I need to get one eventually! 

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It's made by Honeywell.  Called a gas alert XT 2.  Detects oxygen levels. Carbon monoxide. Methane. And Hydrogen Sulfide.l believe you can get ones that are oxygen only for lots less money. 

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I'm too damn tall for mines..even when I was young and healthy couldn't stand either crawling on hands/knees or stooping over.  These days my mine exploration consists of a flashlight from the opening and that's it 😉

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Not so much mines, but there was an abandoned train tunnel I explored that is unstable. I wore a hard hat, but, not sure what that would have done if a big piece suddenly became dislodged.

I'm friends with the YouTubers JPVideos and The Wandering Woodsman...they do mine explorations from time-to-time. They usually have good lighting, water and hardhats. One thing they struggled with is sudden temperature change...fogged up their camera lens for a while. Not sure how safe camera lens anti-fog spray is for lenses. It'll be needed for deeper mines that tend to hold moisture.

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18 hours ago, 30-30 Ed said:

... what kind of critters do you run into in the mines?

 

Around here, you’re also likely to run into mountain lions.

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12 hours ago, DAW89446 said:

Around here, you’re also likely to run into mountain lions.

Seen plenty outside around mines.  Never ran into one inside. I don't think I really want to either.

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In addition to the above gear, I also take:

- Flagging tape and a sharpie.  The tape is to mark passages if needed, the sharpie to mark the tape (often there is already tape in the mines, so a personalized marking eliminates confusion)
- Durable pants (Carhartt or the like)
- Knee pads (the deeper you go, the more you will crawl/shimmy/slither/slide)
- N95 dust mask if it gets really bad
- O2 bailout bottle. 
- Calling cards
- 100' of canyoneering rope, harness, a couple of Dyneema or nylon slings, carabiners, DCD, 2 small rescue pulleys for a 3:1 system and at least one set of Purcell prussiks (I prefer two).  If it's going to be very technical, then I wear my NFPA rescue harness and my full rack, plus I'll bring a pair of 150' 11mm
   static lines, an Aztec set of 4's, 8mm cord for anchors/edge lines, 15-20' of 1" webbing and more.  It's a hell of a load, though.
- All that goes in a good backpack, unless I know I'm going on rope - then I wear the harness. and most of the hardware on my rack.
- A good knife or multitool

Most mines have multiple exits.  If one should become blocked, I'm willing to find another.  We do a lot of research prior to entry and try to understand the known layout.  Often we mark several egress points prior to entry and evaluate them as needed.

 

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3 hours ago, That other Dave said:

Seen plenty outside around mines.  Never ran into one inside. I don't think I really want to either.

A few years ago a friend and his wife, both retired, were out rock hounding. As they were leaving the area to head home, on a whim he decided to check out an adit he missed on the way in. He almost always carries a side arm or takes a shotgun in mines when he goes in (a shotgun less of a ricochet issue) just in case he comes across an aggressive animal like a badger or cat; but in this case he didn’t. He heard but couldn’t see the cat when it let out a warning scream. He backed out best he could so as to keep facing the cat and not turn his back and could hear the cat coming. His wife heard what was going on and dropped the cat with a .308 as it prepared to pounce on him as both exited the mine simultaneously.

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10 minutes ago, DAW89446 said:

A few years ago a friend and his wife, both retired, were out rock hounding. As they were leaving the area to head home, on a whim he decided to check out an adit he missed on the way in. He almost always carries a side arm or takes a shotgun in mines when he goes in (a shotgun less of a ricochet issue) just in case he comes across an aggressive animal like a badger or cat; but in this case he didn’t. He heard but couldn’t see the cat when it let out a warning scream. He backed out best he could so as to keep facing the cat and not turn his back and could hear the cat coming. His wife heard what was going on and dropped the cat with a .308 as it prepared to pounce on him as both exited the mine simultaneously.

One time we were tracking a set of mountain lion tracks and it went directly into an old adit. I have it on video, maybe we should edit it up. It was an old video, but we tracked those prints all over trying to find the mountain lion. 

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Never come across a lion in a mine yet.  Pretty sure I've come across bones from past meals, but no lions.  Mike and I both carry sidearms with us, and sometimes we split up, which makes doing so even more important. 

 

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I would hate to have to discharge a firearm inside of a mine. Might ring your ears just a little. 

The few I've gone in I've brought lights, water, and a voice of caution that tells me to turn around without having more stuff with me. That voice has often been my daughter's. Daddy please don't go down there more! Don't cross that! Get away from that hole! There's a bat?? OK I want to see it then. 

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Yeah, that's pretty much what has been happening to me too Steve, the kids are always telling me the same thing when I want to go in an explore a mine tunnel. 

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20 hours ago, EWU Bob said:

Yeah, that's pretty much what has been happening to me too Steve, the kids are always telling me the same thing when I want to go in an explore a mine tunnel. 

Last weekend, one of mine was begging me to let her explore an adit.  For once, *I* had to be the responsible one and say "No, you can't - your mother would kill me if I took you in there."

 

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1 hour ago, desertdog said:

Last weekend, one of mine was begging me to let her explore an adit.  For once, *I* had to be the responsible one and say "No, you can't - your mother would kill me if I took you in there."

 

So awesome to hear you're taking your daughter out exploring, I bet she is having so much fun! 

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9 minutes ago, EWU Bob said:

So awesome to hear you're taking your daughter out exploring, I bet she is having so much fun! 

I wish. 

Driving Reno -> Yerington via 439, there is tons of scenery.  And, she loves horses.  Think she kept her head up to look for them?  No - had her nose buried in some teen drama novel.  Once we hit the dirt, the same thing. 

She doesn't seem to enjoy it much, though she rarely complains.  When Alice is old enough, maybe she'll be a better exploring buddy.  But that's going to be a while.  😕

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34 minutes ago, desertdog said:

I wish. 

Driving Reno -> Yerington via 439, there is tons of scenery.  And, she loves horses.  Think she kept her head up to look for them?  No - had her nose buried in some teen drama novel.  Once we hit the dirt, the same thing. 

She doesn't seem to enjoy it much, though she rarely complains.  When Alice is old enough, maybe she'll be a better exploring buddy.  But that's going to be a while.  😕

My two middle girls are usually quiet and like to read on the long rides too, but once we get out they are pretty jazzed up to explore. 

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9 hours ago, desertdog said:

I wish. 

Driving Reno -> Yerington via 439, there is tons of scenery.  And, she loves horses.  Think she kept her head up to look for them?  No - had her nose buried in some teen drama novel.  Once we hit the dirt, the same thing. 

She doesn't seem to enjoy it much, though she rarely complains.  When Alice is old enough, maybe she'll be a better exploring buddy.  But that's going to be a while.  😕

It's strange what and when they will respond to. Sometimes my daughter is constantly asking when we are going to get back or wants to do something on a phone or seems very disinterested. Then other times she is completely into something and can't wait to go out someplace. Then there are the times that she doesn't care to do something, seems disinterested, but the moment we are there she loves it and is glad to be there. She is often like that with fishing... eh fishing yeah whatever... oh the fish are biting??? Give me the pole dad you can watch me! 

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8 hours ago, EWU Bob said:

Maybe if she had some explore friends her age she would enjoy it more? My daughters were hoping to meet you guys soon ... 🤔

YES! That is the thing with my daughter. She enjoys doing things with dad... but I'm still just dad, no matter how cool I am I'm still dad... which is good for at least -50 cool points. But she wants to do a lot of the things I do... just would prefer to do it with a friend too. And having a friend is also good because they get competitive, enjoy it more, complain less, etc. But her another friend to come out and do certain things can be difficult. Take mountaining biking or even just biking down the path at the beach becomes frustrating if the friend has a crap bike, isn't used to going as fast, far, etc.   I'm hoping that next year when she goes to middle school she'll find some more adventurous friends. 

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