Long time residents of Black Diamond, Judy and I love our community and the unique natural beauty and colorful history we have here. Join us in learning more about our history, local wildlife, must do hikes, conservation areas to explore and the opportunities and challenges faced by our community. Craig Goodwin

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05/20/2013

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Jennifer Covey

My great-grandfather Peter Storbo owned the mine and the Mt Rainier Mining Co, but unfortunately, his name has been misspelled as Starbo over the years. Every reference to the Starbo mine should be corrected to 'Storbo' mine.
Jennifer (Storbo) Covey

Craig

Thanks Jennifer for pointing this out. I have updated the post accordingly.
Craig

Tim Nyhus

The above photo of the Mystery Mine is located in Glacier Basin of Monte Cristo in Snohomish County. This is not the same location as the Starbo Mine located at Mt. Rainier.

Craig

Thanks Tim. Sometimes UW Libraries gets things a little mixed up. Still a great resource. If you see other errors, please let me know.

Steve Holmes

I was in one of the mines across the Nisqually River from the lower (downstream) end of Cougar Rock campground in about 1971. It is right at the base of the smooth granite wall where it meets the scree and is probably hidden by trees. It was visible in 1971 from the cougar rock side of the river, but as of about 2005, I could not see it. The mine itself goes 600' straight back into the solid rock and some of the ceiling was collapsed half way back, making a pile of rubble about 3' high. Easily passable. There were narrow guage tracks inside the mine. From the back of the mine, the entrance is visible, but frighteningly small and distant, and artificial lighting is needed to see one's way to the back. There were no vertical shafts or branch tunnels, and no discernable trail to the mine, so we had to slither our up out of the river course and then to the right through the brush to get to it. I remember it being farther than it seemed from the campground. Some odds and ends of the mill and overhead trolly system were scattered about on the spit of land on the campground side of the river.

At that time, there was a bit of a trail that started at the mouth of Paradise River that switch backed up through the woods hundreds of feet in elevation gain, and there we found another mine opening among the big trees and rocks. It was pitch black inside and we didn't bring flashlights, so we did not go inside.

Craig

Thanks Steve for sharing!

Gray Bryan

I went into the entrance of a copper mind just above the White River campground just before Inter Glacier starts. This would have been in about 1985 or so.

We were camping out on a Friday night before starting our Rainier summit climb the next morning.

The opening supposedly was covered by the glacier some years and we were lucky that year. There was an iron track in there and at least one iron carts that rolls on those tracks.

You could easily stand up and it was probably 8 feet wide. We didn't go far into it so I don't know how extensive it was. None of us knew much about it and we were there to climb Rainier and not to go caving. I just remember that it was a copper mind, had the rails, was a little dank inside :) and wasn't too hard to climb into.

Craig Goodwin

Thank you for sharing Gray. With the glaciers receding, the mine might become more visible as time goes on. I hope that your climb to the summit was a good one.

Jan Kobak

I worked For the Park Service at Mt. Rainier and was on the trail crew. We went inside the mine above Glacier Basin, to the right of the climbers trail to Inter Glacier. It was indeed a copper mine. We went straight back for a couple hundred feet, to a fork in the adit. There was a makeshift wooden table that looked like a shrine, with an old candle,& carved crosses etched in it. We all went right except for one member, who took the left fork. The right fork went back another 100 feet or so and came to a partially collasped wooden raise. One member climbed up to the next level, maybe 30 feet, and collected a few pieces of copper ore and some burlap bags for transporting the ore. The crew mate who took the left fork came back ashen and stated he almost lost his life. We followed him until we came to a vertical shaft that was the entire width of the adit tunnel and filled with crystal clear water. You couldn't even discern it was there. He was about to step into it when he glanced down and saw a drop of water fall from the ceiling and create a ripple on its surface. He fell back. We reported this to the NPS as unsafe and recommended that the entrance be barred. They didn't do anything until a teen lost his life in that same shaft a few years later. Then the entrance was closed. The adit was wide and had tracks running the entire length of the right tunnel. We lowered a weighed rope into that vertical shaft and it was deeper than 100 feet, our rope length. This was 1987, I think.

Craig Goodwin

Thank you Jan. Amazing story. Sad to hear about the youth who lost his life. Fortunately, it is now closed.

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