To slay a King, Part 6

The shaft itself is scarier than any rappel we've done. The colossal depth (210m) is off-putting, the consequences of failure more severe and the environment less comfortable. Passing the overhanging edge is difficult, even with an etrier (aider), and the stance width is too narrow to allow a proper flip upside down to pass the overhang maneuver. From below the wooden platform appears even more perilous. It's barely balanced, tipping into the top of the shaft. More incredible still are the rotting wooden ladders affixed to the sloping side of the shaft. From the cross section the shaft appears to slope continuously at about 75 degrees. We saw no sign of equipment to mechanically move workers inside the shaft though it may have been stripped at closure of the mine. If indeed the workers traversed the levels via wooden ladders they're totally batshit crazy. There are no signs of cages around the ladders or other fall protection.

Curiously within the shaft, below the platform, exists a wooden bracing with one beam running perpendicular to the slope, and 3 parallel beams that intersect it. Each beam is at least 30x20cm and 4 meters long. I cannot imagine what purpose it might serve, any additional clues to its use are long rotted. One of the beams was dislodged by swaying it back and forth until the nails holding it together fatigued and broke. Rappelling past the beams in their condition is too dangerous. If one were to dislodge and fall on you inside the shaft it's certainly game over. We'll knock the rest out (they're certainly not load bearing) before we fully descend the shaft.

In another part of level 3 we explored an ore chamber linked to what has been fondly named the Treasure Room. Shards of silver-coloured reflective pyrite litter the floor. Thick iron oxide leeches into the water flow creating a crimson pond aptly called the Suicide Pool. This is one of the few places we stopped to take photos, due to the difficulty of lighting anywhere else. It's just too damn massive for the lighting we brought. When Anymouse and Fyrephreak first found the mine they entered an ore chamber so large they believed themselves to have exited the mine. When they realised no stars could be seen they discovered it was just a massive ore chamber in which their flashlights didn't reach the ceiling.

Blood seeps from the torn corpses to collect in the last tepid pool before it leeches into the mountain's underbelly.

With the day drawing closed we turned the truck back to our nearby lodgings and their glorious hot tubs. Nothing feels so good as soaking weary bones in the steaming water for an hour and talking up the days adventures and scheming for tomorrow.

The day was marred by the loss of a dear companion.The plow was restrained in the upright position by a piece of shit strap to a small rusty piece of shit metal in the rear tyre well. As you can imagine the bumping of the truck on an uneven road put considerable bouncy tension on the plow, the strap and the metal. You can likely see where this is going. The metal busted, the strap detached and the plow gouged into the ground as Angry Truck bounced down the hill. Our carefully crafted angle brackets bent like plastic as the truck lifted high on its back wheels doing a passable impersonation of a wheelstanding Torana. The plow gave way and the truck collapsed to a halt. She'd run 9s I tell ya.

We gather today to mourn the loss of a valiant ally. One who fought bravely alongside us. RIP Angry Plow your contributi...

The following day we ventured out to find the level 2 entrance and hopefully further up the glory hole. Level 2 is an even smaller portal than 3, but for a couple of motivated people (we're motivated right?) it would be accessible in under an hour. It's a project for another trip anyways. Hiking further up the mountainside we hit the motherlode. The gloryhole! I'll admit this is the first GH I've seen firsthand and certainly the only one I've seen large enough to rappel into. From here on in I'll refrain from any sexual gloryhole jokes, my superior breeding compels me.

Is biggah eh? The last few bits of snow on the mountain are almost gone.

It's an easy scramble into the gloryhole from the Southern end but the small tunnel midway down the opposite side intrigued us. Rope is the only means to further investigate the small cavern isolated upon the wall but no pirate treasure was to be found anywhere. Also, the tunnel goes nowhere.

Skaught descending into the gloryhole. The darkened cave mouth extends far back into the mountain side. Dragons be here.

Anymouse drops calmly into the gaping maw of the King. Shot on the cheapest film around, rebranded fuji w/ double-plus-c...

Inside the gloryhole opens up substantially into a roundish room covered in rocky shards of numerous colours and textures. On our next trip Vgabnd the resident geologist can help us identify them a little better. A four meter diameter chute resides in the back corner which is coated in a slick layer of ice. Sleds anyone? Beside the chute is a convenient anchor - a thick rock column created by the miners. The top section of a large ore chamber (visible in the cross-section linked above) slopes away gently from the gloryhole chamber. We'll definitely follow this up. Another large shaft drops from inside the gloryhole and by throwing rocks down it we estimate it's 50-100m deep. With luck it joins to levels 2 and 3.

The following day we went in search of the level 9 portal. From the cross-section you can see it's on the other side of the freaking mountain. We used the aerial maps as a guide and google earth provided the gps coordinates (hint: slag piles near mine portals are easy to spot on GE). The original mining road to the portals is more overgrown than the roads we cleared, according to Anymouse there are 50 year old trees growing in the road's middle. It's little more than a deer trail. According to the aerial photos/maps a forestry road runs past the slag pile, on the opposite side of the creek. To save a big hike we decided we'd just ford the creek. How fucking smart we think we are.

Spring is the snow melt season so we totally underestimated the waterflow and shrunken sack factor of the river. The river is fast flowing and approximately 20m across. In our brilliance we conceived 2 excellent plans for this:

1. Cut down a large enough tree to create a bridge. Everyone cross.
2. One person don a harness and ford the raging river, tie rope to tree and make a highline.

Give a man a chainsaw and all sense and sensibility are lost. Bring on the zombie hordes.

Weazel brandished the chainsaw and got to work. Our plan (having never felled a tree) went thusly:
Firstly, cut a large wedge 2/3 of the way through the tree on the side we wished the tree to fall. Then cut a steeply angled slice into the tree upon the opposite site, starting a foot above the wedge and ending in the wedge. Weazl cut the wedge then handed me the chainsaw for the finale. I was determined to get some experience as a Canadian Lumberjack. Halfway into slicing it the tree creaked then moaned and began to tip. It fell away from me, in the direction we hoped! Mmm they'll make a lumberjack out of me yet! I mounted the stump, lifted the chainsaw above my head and did a passable impression of Ash from Evil Dead 3. The cheering lasted for 2.3 seconds, until the tree impacted the other side, broke into 2 massive sections and rushed away down the river. Plan 1 verdict: Fail.

Plan 2 involved fording the raging river, raising a rope and creating a highline to haul ourselves across. Weazl and I donned the boardshorts (hint: Arcteryx make some wicked quick drying synthetic shorts) and harnesses, tied the rope and waded into the water. As you're probably becoming familiar with water, anywhere in Canada under any conditions is fucking cold. Damn snow melt. The water surged against my body, pushing me wherever it saw fit. I'd work my way out 3-4m then be pushed back towards the riverbank. The water reached my nipples and as I lifted each foot it was pushed way back behind me. From my short way out the closeness of the opposite back was merely an illusion. We'd never reach it like this. Plan 2 verdict: Fail.

Anymouse volunteered for the hike while the river forders warmed themselves and gathered nice dry clothes. From the last bridge crossing the river he hacked his way through the scrub and undergrowth and within half an hour appeared upon the opposite bank. In the interim we'd created a weighted shot from 2 plastic bottles (one full of water, and empty for flotation) which we used to launch a thin line across the water. Anymouse retrieved it, hauled across the steel cable and attached it to a big ass tree. A highline was constructed so we crossed the river in style.

Having failed to cross the river by conventional means we took it upon ourselves to build a more permanent solution.

The level nine area is a mess of slag piles and debris. An old rail bridge lies in a haphazard heap of lumber at the slope that leads to up to the level nine landing. The old mine cart tracks have escaped the rusty bindings and arc through the air like a drunken ribbon dancer. The mine portal itself has caved in somewhat but nothing we couldn't dig out with a few people and a few hours.

The old wooden bridge construct upon which the ore carts ran. It's seen better days.

Skaught attempted to plow a large tree off the road, it popped over the hood and slammed into the windscreen. Not content, and now with less to lose, Skaught tried it again. He's pretty stubborn! In all we killed a windscreen and a window but can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs right?

The old tracks just aren't what they used to be. Looking away from the level 9 portal.

The truck's all fixed, the front 4WD all replaced and the most importantly the road is cleared. Over the past 2 months we've spent 3 weekends at the mine working our asses off filling trenches, cutting down trees, digging out snow and most of all pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible.

After all this I doubt there's anything we can't do. Fuck overpaid motivational speakers and their shitty seminars. Give me a rope, a shovel and mineshaft. Over the coming week we'll spend four days in the mine - enter through the gloryhole and exit at level 9. Total vertical distance 400m. See you in a week, dsankt.
About the author

Found frigid and dying in the snow by a passing missionary at the abandoned Soviet airbase in Choir, Mongolia, little dsankt never had a chance. The Dreams Foundation granted his wish to one day travel the world, thinking he'd only last a month or so. To everyone's amazement he's still going strong. When asked for comment the foundation's treasurer would only say, "The little mongrel cunt just won't fucking die, it's costing us a fortune!"

curly   7 years ago
the shot from the bottom of the glory hole theres a face, side on, looks like it about to eat the person :)
curly   7 years ago
oh, and by the way, you suck (bitch) love love
Lt. Sniper   7 years ago
The adventure continues, bring on level 9! ...beware, the zombie boss is a bitch to kill
Air33   7 years ago
I was just gonna bug you for updates! Supafreshhhhhhhh...
durgin   7 years ago
maximum kudos mate!!! makes it even more epic with all the rad mission reports of the failed missions ... and now that you've succeeded, you've done it in fucking style mate!!! S-T-Y-L-E
durgin   7 years ago
p.s. your fssrt (fully sick ringle rizzle tekneeks) have improved to the status of art. more kudos!
durgin   7 years ago
"2007-06-25 2311. Viewed 101 time(s). "
Jef- White Trash   7 years ago
S///   7 years ago
Pretty damn impressive, ive heard a lot bout the Mineral King, but seeing your pics makes it all the realler. Hope youse have got at least an ANDRA lic for driving Angry Truck.
Air33   7 years ago
godz damn, I await part 7.
austin home search   3 years ago
I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
Jondoe   7 years ago
Youz make mines exciting, and that's saying somehting!
dsankt   7 years ago
Jondoe you and that other tosser haven't even been to the catacombs and you only live a couple of hours away! It would take a miracle to get you lot into a mine. Haha Curly you're right, Anymouse is about to become mine bait.
BigLoada   5 years ago
Just seen this write up. Being a mine explorer, this has totally blown my mind. That is some swerious rappel dude! You should have a trip to Coniston copper mines in Cumbria if you like mines and mega deep abseils. Brilliant stuff as ever man!
dsankt   5 years ago
Cheers BL, always good to hear from the proper miners!
secrets of cityville   3 years ago
Whoa! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!
Dan   3 years ago
Very nice stories, really enjoyed the reads. I was just up in the mineral king a couple days ago with a friend, we explored most of level 3 but did not proceed into the ore chamber, nor did we get to a 4 way junction or the 210m shaft. We plan to make a return trip to seek out the level 2 portal and explore it and then return to level 3 to fully explore it with more powerful lighting.
dsankt   3 years ago
Hey, it's great to hear others have an interests in the King. I'd dig hearing more about your trips. Care to shoot me an email?
Farid bedjaoui   3 years ago
nice pics i really enjoyed watching them
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Good post....thanks for sharing... Very useful for me i will bookmark this for my future needs. Thanks.
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I recently came across your article and have been reading along. I want to express my admiration of your writing skill and ability to make readers read from the beginning to the end. I would like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you.
Tellman Knudson   2 years ago
It's really a great adventure tour.
cusabio1   2 years ago
Very nice stories, really enjoyed the reads. I was just up in the mineral king a couple days ago with a friend, we explored most of level 3 but did not proceed into the ore chamber, nor did we get to a 4 way junction or the 210m shaft. We plan to make a return trip to seek out the level 2 portal and explore it and then return to level 3 to fully explore it with more powerful lighting.
ELISA Kit   2 years ago
really enjoyed the reads
saonbd   2 years ago
I am waiting to read the next part? While it will publish? Anyone know it? But your writing skill is great and I really appreciate this.
dsankt   2 years ago
It's the next post after this one, click newer at the top.
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