05/07/2013 Update – Irebeta Peaks Wilderness Area

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This page last updated on 04/20/2019
MAP-Ireteba Peak Mines
(Fig. 01) Click to Enlarge
05/07/2013 Trip Notes: After a disappointing trip to this location last week, Harvey Smith and I decided to visit this area again to see if we could drive to the Rockefeller Mine that is located on the edge of the Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area deep into this wild and remote part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. After passing Copper Mountain Cove Road (#34) the drive up Rockefeller Mine Road towards Copper Mountain (Fig. 02) and the Ireteba range provides you with some very unique geology (Fig. 03). Beginning about 8 miles out on Rockefeller Mine Road (NPS Road 32) from Cottonwood Cove Road (NV-164), the hills on the west side of the road are filled with dozens of abandoned mine adits, shafts and tunnels. We must have hiked to and explored nearly a half dozen of these abandoned prospects (Fig. 04). At the base of a small hill just north of Dupont Mountain, there is a played-out adit that was used by miners as living quarters (Fig. 05). I find these old sites fascinating. The miners came here under ridiculous hardships from the elements, hostile locals, hostile animals, very little local sources of water or food and dug these tunnels out of hard rock mostly using hand tools. They also didn’t mind littering as evidenced by the hundreds of cans (Fig. 06) and other trash items strewn about the area. This area also contained what looked like malachite (Fig. 07) tailings from several additional adits (Fig. 08) in the area.


(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
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(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
At about 9.7 miles out there is a four-way intersection with the Dupont Mine Road (NPS Road 34A) heading west and Opal Mountain Road (#33) heading east towards Lake Mojave. Taking the Dupont Mine Road, we drove about .75-miles northwest into the Rockefeller Mine area, just north and west of Dupont Mountain (refer to Fig. 01). At an elevation of 1,886 feet, the road ends in a wash, about a third of a mile short of the Dupont Mines (Fig. 08). From what I have read, it appears that the Dupont Mines mainly produced copper ore. We spent nearly an hour here hiking up to and around three mine shafts (Figs. 09 thru 12) on the north side of the road. We also had some fun putting together some pieces of an old pickup truck (Fig. 13 & 14) that were strewn about the area. Loaded with hundreds of Jumping Cholula and Red Barrel Cactus (Fig. 15), hiking the area along this road provided some excellent sightseeing opportunities (Fig. 16).
(Fig. 09)
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(Fig. 15)
(Fig. 16)
Continuing up Rockefeller Mine Road, about 10.47 miles out, an old white travel trailer (Fig. 17) can be seen up ahead on a hill. At an elevation of 2,067 feet, this trailer marks the edge of the Rockefeller Mine claim. The main production of this mine was gold, along with some silver and copper. At a fork in the road the road to the left runs past two "no trespassing" signs to the trailer, while the Rockefeller Mine Road curves hard to the right and ends shortly at some wooden barricades in the bottom of a wash. This is the edge of the Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area. From this point, the Ireteba Wash Hike runs north into the wilderness area. At this point we turned around and headed back. Because it had clouded over and was threatening rain, we decided to skip Opal Mountain Road (NPS Road 33) (refer to Fig. 01) which follows along the southern edge of the Ireteba Peaks Wilderness Area, running 5.8 miles to the western shore of Lake Mojave. Farther out, Opal Mountain, a large ridge of dark volcanic rock, dominates the landscape ahead and left of the road while the deep blue waters of Lake Mojave dominate the view straight ahead. We decided to bypass this road, saving its exploration for another day.
(Fig. 17)