Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Bottomless Pit

Scott told me a few days ago about a place he'd visited when he was a teenager. He said that out near Eureka was a massive, gaping chasm with a large metal grate over it. He and his friends called it the "bottomless pit." He didn't remember where it was exactly, but we decided yesterday to head out there and find it anyway.

Eureka sits west of Santaquin, Utah in the Tintic Mining District. It was, many years ago, a hotbed for mineral production and had many large mines in operation. Today, it exists only as the dilapidated shell of the city it once was - like a ghost town with people living in it. It's a rather creepy, yet fascinating little place.



On the outskirts of town was this enormous headframe. It must have stood 50 or so feet high.




The detailed view of the plaque shows the purpose of the headframe, which is to transport massive amounts of ore and gear up and down the main shaft, which (according to the plaque) can range from 300 to 3000 feet deep.


We stopped at a gas station to get drinks and ice cream and asked the attendant there where the "bottomless pit" was. She inferred that there were many in the area, but that the only one she could direct us to was east of town. Following her directions, we set out east to the dirt road she'd described and found our prize not more than 100 yards from the main road.


As you can see here, the pit spans about 25 feet by 25 feet.


Sadly, pictures do no justice to the size of this hole. I had to shoot wide angle, which makes it appear as if the walls are sloping inward and that the hole is smaller in the middle. This is very much not the case, though.



Close-up view of the rebar lattice - your only salvation from the gaping jaws of the earth below.


Here's another shot through the bars. I tried to zoom in to see further, but the darkness quickly clouds the depths of the hole.

We found a small, two foot length of a two-by-four near the shaft and decided to drop it in. It fell into the blackness without making a sound for four seconds or so, and then we heard a distant *PONK* .... then another second or so passed and we heard a more distant *CONK* followed by another even more quiet. The ever-quieting commotion continued for another three or four seconds until we couldn't hear it anymore - unsure of whether or not the depth was silencing the sound as it continued to fall or if it had finally found a resting place at the bottom.

I couldn't help but wonder about what might lay below on the bottom. How many wallets had fallen from the pockets of reckless visitors? How many pieces of wood were down there? How many rocks? How many bodies? It's a morbid thought, but such thoughts seem to come naturally to you as you gaze into the horrible depths of a bottomless pit.

*********************** UPDATE ***********************
I've had so many ask for directions to the pit so here they are. I have two requests, though, if you follow these directions:

1) Please comment on the blog! Let me know if you were able to get out there and what adventures you had while there. It's fun to hear about this.
2) I take no responsibility for anything that happens to you. There are certain risks and dangers associated with old mines, even those that are capped like this. You proceed at your own risk! Be careful. Use common sense. Don't be stupid. :)
*********************** DOUBLE UPDATE ***********************
Some dumbasses (yes, I called them dumbasses) ruined the fun by being stupid. Due to this, the mine shaft will now be capped with cement. I'm not sure you can even get to it anymore. You can read the news story here: http://www.fox13now.com/news/kstu-burning-twelve-hospitalized-after-being-burned-at-utah-county-mine-20110717,0,5827173.story It's a shame that things like this are ruined because of the stupid actions of a few. I feel bad for those who were burned, but not for the jackasses that threw safety out the window. Regardless, I am happy I had the opportunity to see the mine shaft and enjoy some fun (safe) times out there with friends. I'm also impressed with the amount of information I've received from others through this post and have enjoyed hearing about the experiences others have had out there. :)

Directions:
1) Take I-15 South to Exit 244 (Santaquin Exit).
2) Head west on Main St. out of town and follow for 16.6 miles
3) Turn right onto Elberta Slant Rd.

Here is the google maps link so you are more familiar with what this looks like.

On the map, you can see the mine as a black square to the upper left of where the directions end.

-Barry

28 comments:

  1. Oh my GOSH, Barry!! I could NOT stand on the grate like that. I felt vertigo just looking at your pictures, if you keep this up your going to have to rename your blog to "The Fooze's Adventures in Way, Extremely Vertigo Causing Places". And I will have no choice but to stop reading {: \

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha! I promise to include other posts about more safe, less vertigo-inducing locales. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. okay, just looking at that made me dizzy!!! eek!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Did you ask Scott how many fireworks were down there? I don't think he ever went to class in high school.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't know if I would have been trusting/brave enough to stand on that grate. That's cool that there is a real city named "Eureka" just like on ScyFy.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I stumbled on this blog trying to unravel the mystery behind the bottomless pit. You have some of the only daytime photos of the pit. My theory is that it isn't a pit, but a tunnel to St. Paul Island in the Indian Ocean. I've dropped a steel fence post into the tunnel and listened for what seemed like hours as it bounced off the walls. The most amazing thing I ever saw there was a railroad tie doused in gasoline, lit, then shoved through the bars; it bounced so furiously off the tunnel walls, that it looked like a cartoon.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous, that sounds like incredible fun!

    I don't doubt at all that the tunnel ends up somewhere on the other side of the world...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Does anyone know the name of that Mine? I was trying to do some research on it, and there arent many details on it (suprisingly).

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good Pics! I just happen to stumble on this blog looking for the depth of this pit. Anyway I just wanted to say that I am planning on heading down there this weekend with a video camera attached to a couple thousand feet of line... I have been wanting to see what this pit looks like past the daylight. I am hoping to reach the bottom and actually see what it looks like. I will let you know what this adventure finds! Hopefully not a lost camera ha ha.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Matt! If you do get video of it, will you please let me know? I'd LOVE to see it! I'm still trying to research the mine, but with no luck.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ok we embarked on our adventure this afternoon! But... I am left with some serious questions. The culprit of this lingering curiosity is because of a faulty battery in my camera. We had 2400 ft of line, a camera with 2 lights attached, and a drill (to wind the string back up). On its first decent the new line was stretching and therefore caused the camera to start spinning. We continued to let it fall... I haven't measured the line yet but we hit something probably between 700-850 ft. Anyway, when reviewing the video I have footage of spinning walls until we smacked a ledge or the bottom, I'm not sure which because the camera is facing down, I can see water splatter and about a 5x5 image of some rock. About 10 seconds later before we started to pull the camera back up my batter dies!! So we will be going back out sometime soon with a better battery. To be continued...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Does your camera have a very wide angle when zoomed all the way out? I wonder if you anchored the camera so it was pointing down the entire time, rather than at the walls, if you'd get a better look at the bottom. Or is that what you did?

    What an adventure! I'm excited to hear about what happens next time you guys go out...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Inspired by this blog and other videos of this pit my friends and I went in search of it the other night. We decided to just drive out there and ask a gas station attendent where it was like you did. We forgot that this town is tiny and everything was closed at our late arrival. We drove around for about an hour looking for this but couldn't find it. Does anyone have better directions on where to locate it? If so please post a comment or email me at mtthwwlsn1@gmail.com. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm looking for this too! I tried using google maps but can't seem to locate it. Does anyone have better directions or even a google maps link to the location? Email: ryanclarkwerner@gmail.com
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sweet! Thanks for the directions! I've heard about this for a long time, but didn't know where it actually was.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I've been out to this vent shaft many times and had too many adventures to count on that grating. The best directions i can add to the list would be heading west from santaquin ~16 miles... it's the last open spot on the road before you head into a windy canyon (cut for the road).

    ReplyDelete
  17. hey Barry, i looked around a bit and found dome info on the mine shaft. i just took the easy path and typed the bullion beck and champion mining company in Google, i don't know if u have done that or not, but this is what i found: http://history.utah.gov/apps/markers/detailed_results.php?markerid=1307
    i hope this was a bit of help for u on finding out about the mine shaft.
    for Matt, have u tried using 2 ropes to hold ur camera? one rope on one ens and the other rope on the opposite end to try and prevent the spinning that u get with one rope.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Jeremy! That's awesome! Thank you for the info! It's a shame the shaft is capped now (due to a burn accident with some teens) but it was cool while it lasted!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was just there today, 4/10/2016 and it was still open.

      Delete
    2. I was just there today, 4/10/2016 and it was still open.

      Delete
  19. I've been visiting the Bottomless pit for years with my kids and friends, we went out last week and saw the trusses have been put in place to cap it...so unfortunate. I looked for your story on what had happened but the link is no longer available, any chance of reposting?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Do you know if it's really covered?

    ReplyDelete
  21. As of last Thursday, the mine is not capped, however, there are 4-5 huge steel I-beams laying across the top of the mine. It made it a little easier to walk across, and drop rocks down the center of the shaft.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The pit is as yet still open, 4/10/2016

    ReplyDelete
  23. My wife and I just went there this past weekend and it still hasn't been capped. Just the rebar and I-beams mentioned above.

    ReplyDelete