US 395

US 395

US 395

US 395

 

Rex Montis Mine

"King of the Mountain" Mine

 

All photos courtesy of Robert Morgan unless otherwise noted.

The Rex Montis Mine story

The Rex Montis Gold Mine, Latin for King of the Mountain, is located at 12,000 feet on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada just west of Independence, California. The Rex Montis operated from 1864 -1866 and from 1875 - 1883 with brief resurgances in 1935 and 1966. The mine is located on the north face of Kearsarge Mountain. Plagued by bitter cold winters and blistering hot summers, the mining camp came to a catastrophic end on March 1, 1867. The entire mining camp was wiped out by an avalanche off of the north slope of Kesarge Mountain. At one time, the Rex Montis Mining Camp had been the largest settlement in the Owens Valley. Just goes to show you, mining in the Sierra Nevada was much more challenging than mining in the Inyo Mountains. Only a few air miles east, the famed Cerro Gordo mine was booming where the environmental challenges were heat, sagebrush, and occassional cloudbursts of rain which also wiped out the mining towns.

 
 

Bishop Pack Outfitters Hauling Diesel Fuel from the Rex Montis Mine
The Rex Montis Mine Project
by Robert Morgan

The Rex Montis Mine Project

We live in a time of environmental concerns for the future of our planet. Who would of thought 50 or more years ago that all the effort to bring materials for a mine high up on the side of Kearsarge Peak would be matched with the help of mules to bring it out? That's what we did in the end of August this summer. The U.S. Forest Service contracted out the services of a hazardous waste disposal company who sub contracted the services of my brother Mike Morgan of Bishop Pack Outfitters to use pack mules to pack out about 350 gallons of diesel fuel from the Rex Montis Mine site high above Independence, California.

It was a feat of logistics but we packed all the diesel fuel along with other items that are detrimental to the environment such as very large and heavy battery's. The six miles of road to the mine site that is very steep and has been unmaintained since the mid 70s was cleared of all obstructions by a Forest Service trail crew who worked a full tour of ten days. A 300 ft hose to a water trough for the thirsty mules was set up about half way on the three hour ride to get there. A ground crew of five who worked for the waste disposal company who spent one night during the clean up was used. Four packers, their riding mules and twenty three pack mules were all employed. Special containers were used to contain the wasted fuel to be carried mule back to a waiting truck that disposed of the material at various disposal sites in Southern California.

It was quite the undertaking working about 18 hours a day for the two days to complete the job. We planned for four. Our staging area was at Dennis Winchester's ranch in Independence were we trucked our stock up the Onion Valley Road just above Seven Pines Campground. I found it kind of ironic that we were packing something out that took more effort then it took to pack it in. Times have changed for us packers and there will be more jobs like this in the future.

Robert Morgan
September 2009


Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan leading his string of mules.

On the Trail
On the trail to the Rex Montis Mine


On the Trail
On the trail to the Rex Montis Mine

polemonium californicum
Polemonium the Rex Montis Mine
(photo courtsey of Barron27)

shooting star
Shooting Stars at the Rex Montis Mine
(photo courtsey of Barron27)

Rex Montis Mine Video
(by Robert Morgan)

packing up
Boy, I can't wait to get this diesel fuel off of my back and get to that hay!


Rex Montis Mine entrance
Getting ready to pack the mules at the Rex Montis Mine.

Bishop Outfitters Packers
L to R: Kyler Hanson, Robert Morgan, Mike Morgan at the Rex Montis Mine


Down the Trail
On the trail down from the Rex Montis Mine.

Owens Valley
Owens Valley and Independence from the Rex Montis Mine
(photo courtsey of Barron27)

owens valley map
Rex Montis Mine location.
 

 

Background image courtesy of Bill Bouton
 



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This page was last updated on 02 September 2012