Weekend Escape – Jumbo Mine

Twenty years ago, Tabitha and I took our first backpacking trip together. The rest is a love story and thus a lifetime of partnership exploring some of the wildest places in Alaska and the world.  That first trip included hanging our backpacks and ourselves on the hand tram across the creek to McCarthy and an arduous trip to Nikolai Pass.  (short video below)

Years ago we did an overnighter to Bonanza Mine, so it only seemed appropriate to head up the next valley to Jumbo Mine. While both are listed as day hikes, lugging a heavy pack up the steep graded old mining road for an overnighter leaves ample opportunity for further exploration and a fantastic high camp.

Tabitha wades through false hellebore and parsnip.


Looming tram tower protrudes through remains of a rock glacier.


Views, views, views…


Not much left standing of the old mines as weather, wind, heavy snow and age have struggled to erase the scars of man.


We worried about water, but once in the cirque we found plenty of snow to melt for thirst and making meals.


They used to be called riggers, today they are called rock climbers and craggers. But one has to seriously look at that the “climbers” of 1915 and what they had to deal with, indicated by the dozens of holes poked in the mountain, as to place on climbing history. At some point since, technical climbing transitioned from work to play. I would think the “riggers” at the time were every bit as skilled as the technical climbers of today.


More ruins.


The bunk house area was littered with cans and such as mother nature reclaims the land. Note the hole in the mountain across the way.


Winter winds, landslides, and snow loads over the past century have made a mess of things of course. By the amount of cans they must have eaten well. Interspersed with the cans were sheep bones perhaps harvested from the nearby mountain sides to supplement their meal.


We climbed to a ridge above the ruins to view the next valley called Amazon Gulch. In the background, the Kennecott and Root Glacier merge.


Tabitha scampers down scree on our retreat.


Done and heading home after another weekend escape to the Wrangells.