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The most complete guide to Southern Nevada's mining history.
Participation in VegasUnderworld.com events is an acknowledgement and agreement of the following rules, terms, conditions and waivers.
Participants understand and agree that participation in mine exploration is inherently dangerous and that hazards may or may not always be obvious. Property damage, illness, serious injury, and/or death are real risks and possibilities. Participants agree to adhere to heightened safety practices and the use of basic underground safety equipment which includes: helmet, gloves, flashlights x3.
Participation in these events is strictly voluntary. Participation assumes all risks and releases VegasUnderworld.com and its associates from all liability for all property damage, illness, injury, and/or death resulting from voluntary participation. Those bringing minor children are granting permission and accepting these terms and conditions on their behalf. Parents and Guardians of Children under age 14 and owners of pets agree to limit them to surface exploration and keep them under strict supervision at all VegasUnderworld.com events.
Participants do hereby release and forever discharge and hold harmless VegasUnderworld.com, its successors and associates from any and all liability claims, either in law or in equity, which arise or may hereafter with respect to any property damage, illness, injury, and/or death resulting from accident (natural or otherwise), or by the negligence of VegasUnderworld.com or associates.
Participants also understand and agree that VegasUnderworld.com does not assume any responsibility for or obligation to provide financial aid or other assistance, including but not limited to, property damage repairs, medical, health or disability insurance. Further, it is solely the responsibility of all attendees to ensure their guests are made aware of and accept these terms.
Participant, without entitlement to any additional compensation, does hereby grant and convey unto VegasUnderworld.com permission to capture and record images, video and/or audio recordings. Additionally, participants grant authorization to publish and use in perpetuity any and all images, video and/or audio recordings made by VegasUnderworld.com that depict participants.
Participants understand and accept that while some or all portions of these events are at the leadership and/or direction of VegasUnderworld.com and its organizers or affiliates, participation does not make participants employees of VegasUnderworld.com. As these events are voluntary and recreational, participants receive no equipment, training, compensation or protections afforded under the Workers Compensation Act, Occupational Safety and Health Administration or Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Events are free and open, but occasionally, VegasUnderworld.com will host an invitation only event. The reason for an invitation only event can vary for a number of reasons, but the most common reason will be that we need to limit attendance. That may be because of short notice timing, space, supplies, location capacity, physical limitations, or skill set.
Invitations are extended to those who have attended previous events, but not always all. The more events you've attended, the more likely you are to receive the invitation. Invitations do not mean we enjoy or prefer the company of some over others. In some instances, invitations are extended simply because someone asked when we were planning an invitation only event.
Communicate: Do not enter or leave mines without letting someone know. Stay together as a group. If you need some privacy, let someone know. If you see something unsafe, point it out to the person behind/next to you and pass it along until all are made aware of the hazard. If you see someone behaving unsafely, say something to a group organizer. If you do not own your own communications radio, try to pair yourself with someone with a radio tuned into the group frequency. If you've already attended several events or plan on attending future events, a communications radio should be considered essential safety equipment. If you bring a guest, be responsible for your guest including their safety equipment.
Take an accurate personal fitness accounting: Climbing and mine exploration is exciting and great entertainment, but it’s not something everyone can physically and/or mentally accomplish. Certain fears and physical disabilities can exclude one from safely entering and exiting a mine. Be honest with yourself and others about your abilities. A rescue of one endangers others.
Small children and pets: Well behaved children and pets are encouraged to attend surface events. Please, maintain control of your children and pets at all times. If there is an underground portion of the event, children under age 14 and pets must remain above ground. Pets should be leashed during underground exploration so they will not follow others below ground.
Vehicle preparedness: Because these trails are not paved or maintained, a high clearance 4WD vehicle is recommended and often necessary. Make sure your vehicle is fueled prior to meeting, well maintained and in good repair. We know breakage can often not be predicted, but if your vehicle has a known mechanical issue, please do not risk inconveniencing the rest of the group by bringing a vehicle in disrepair. It is highly recommended that drivers of stock and long wheel base vehicles position themselves to the rear of the line to receive trail information from others.
Stay on designated trails: Avoid trail damage. If an area is posted as “No Motor Vehicles”, “No Trespassing”, or “Private Property”, respect the boundary. Going around posted signs or barriers exposes you to potential hazards and will only lead to more trail closures.
Be aware: When venturing underground, allow your eyes time to adjust. Be mindful of your headlamps and try not to look others directly in the face with them. Always check the area where you’ll be placing your feet and especially your hands. When you stop, even if you were certain all was clear, get into the habit of looking around your feet for hazards before you begin walking again. Never walk backwards. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t look or feel safe, let others know and leave the area.
No alcohol or drugs (includes some prescription medications): After an event, some adults may appreciate a social drink, but alcohol and/or drugs serves no useful purpose prior to or along an off road trip or mine exploration. Some prescription medications that are mood, decision altering or that would adversely affect balance, strength or alertness should also be considered exclusionary to mine exploration.
Littering and smoking: Do not leave non-compostable waste, which includes cigarette butts. If you smoke, as a courtesy, do so away from others who do not. No smoking or open flames underground.
Do not touch or throw items: Abandoned mines may contain live explosives. Try to touch as little as possible underground. Do not drop or throw objects down interior shafts. Standing water in a mine may contain harmful gasses. Disruption of the water may release those gasses. If there are support beams in place, do not touch and stay well clear of them. Do not attempt to remove embedded objects and/or minerals from any interior mine surface. Over millions of years, the rock pressures have reached a natural balance. The mining process alters these natural pressures. Rock face disruptions can cause spontaneous rock bursts, shifting or interior collapse.
Follow Direction: We have rules in place, not to maintain a chain of command and control, but to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all volunteer participants. Inevitably, when a group gets together, there’s at least one person who feels a need to show off by walking ahead of others, faster, or standing too close to a shaft or winze. Some hazards may be more obvious than others. There may come a time when a group organizer decides to turn the line and end the tour. If this ever happens, do so quickly, orderly and assume the decision was made for the safety of the group.
An estimate in trip duration and return cannot be given with a comfortable degree of accuracy because of variables like: physical abilities, driving skills, and experience. A single obstacle may take someone with experience 3-5 minutes to complete. Someone without experience may take someone double or triple that time. Multiply those minutes by however many are in attendance and you can better visualize the timing variables for a single obstacle. For those reasons, try to clear your schedule for the day, but feel free to leave at any time. Doing so won't hurt anyone's feelings. That happens often.
As with all portions of the tour, underground exploration is optional and will remain single level unless proper safety gear is approved and used. If you choose to join us underground, we do require that you come prepared with your own safety equipment as outlined above.
These rules are not designed to limit freedoms, entertainment, or maintain control, but to provide clear and prior communications of what is expected of us all to maintain a high level of safety and preparedness for your children, pets, wildlife, and fellow participants. Nobody is telling you what you can and cannot do, but this is a group event and what is expected of the group has been generally outlined above. If you disagree with any or all of the above, group participation is voluntary. You are not required to participate in any free event.
Basic Equipment Check.
We've had enough of these events that a communications radio should be considered as essential as anything else in the equipment list. The handheld radios most in the group use are the BaoFeng 888s. You can purchase them on Amazon for around $20 a pair, so there really is no excuse for not having the most basic communications. Review communications details.
Helmet: A helmet above ground is encouraged, but optional. Below ground, a helmet is a requirement. A purpose designed climbing helmet would be best, but a bicycle or construction helmet would be considered a minimum. Ideally, your helmet would have a chin strap and a securing point for a hands-free headlamp.
Lighting: New technology and advancements in LED lighting have enabled a brightness and longevity not possible a few short years ago. Lumen output is great for sales and bragging, but we almost always have our headlamps turned to their lowest settings and reserve high output and lumen when depth is needed. In addition to your headlamp, you should have at least two backup lights because changing batteries in the dark is difficult. If possible, all three lights should use the same size batteries. Optional, but recommended as last resort lighting and marking are cyalume chemical glow sticks.
Dust mask: Hantavirus is a, sometimes fatal, pulmonary syndrome transferred by inhalation of rodent secretions in their saliva, urine and droppings. For general breathing comfort and prevention of more serious disorders, keep suspended dust to a minimum, keep a dust mask at the ready and touch your face as little as possible.
Protective clothing: Protective gloves resistant to sharp objects and rope burn should always be considered required equipment. Underground, temperatures will dramatically drop. Especially during the winter months. Wear well-made, insulated, durable clothing that would help prevent scrape injuries during a short fall or slide. Cargo pants with many pockets are recommended. Ankle supporting hiking boots are suggested. No open toe or strap footwear.
Water and energy foods: Supply your own water and energy foods. Find a comfortable balance between the amount of water you carry with the amount of energy it would take to carry it. Keep your hands free and store these food and water supplies in a pack or cargo pant pockets.
Medications, first aid and toiletries: These are remote locations. There won't be any public restrooms, so be prepared to rough it for a few hours. Ladies, bring toiletries. Men to the left. Ladies to the right. Bring regular and extra medications in the event we are delayed. Our deserts are home to bees, wasps, biting spiders, and scorpions. If you have severe allergies, make sure you bring your allergy medications and/or epinephrine. Participant volunteers should have a basic kit for sprains, bleeding, and animal bites. For those purposes, an adhesive wrap/bandage will often suffice.
Mining sites are inherently dangerous, and historic mining sites can be very hazardous to ones health and well being. Please, use the land safely and responsibly. Enjoy the site pictures, but stay out of the mines without proper equipment, training, experience, and supervision.
The trails to these mines are unpaved and not regularly maintained. Many require technical driving skills and off road vehicle parts. High clearance, four wheel drive vehicles are recommended, and in some cases necessary.
We make every attempt to respect and preserve property rights. Some images may have been captured on poorly posted private property or the property was approached from a direction not posted. In some instances, permission from the land or claim owner/holder was obtained or contracted prior to entering a secured area. Some interior mine images presented on this site were captured prior to safety barrier installation. Do not alter or remove safety devices, barriers, or signage.
Every attempt is made to provide accurate information, but occasionally depictions are inaccurate by error of mapping, navigation or cataloging. No assurances or guarantees are provided for the accuracy of information presented on this site.
Safety and Waivers