Over the summer of 2013, I took a trip to the eastern Sierra Nevada mountains and hiked up to the Lakeview mine. Located at timberline, 10,650 ft up, the mine sits on a ridge overlooking a dramatic landscape of glacially carved cirques, granitic spires, and alpine lakes. It was a spot I had been wanting to visit for a long time.

Discovered in 1940 by P. W. Carpenter, the Lakeview mine is a high-grade tungsten deposit. In the following three years, he worked the mine and packed sixty tons of hand-sorted ore down the mountain on the backs of mules. In 1953, George Brown and Kenneth Irons, both of Bishop, bought the mine. They hauled up heavy equipment on mules and built a mill high up on the mountain to avoid bringing any waste rock down the trail.  The mill was successful but the price of tungsten dropped significantly in 1957.  The U.S. Government began to sell off its stockpiles and increasing global supplies made the mine uneconomical to operate.

The trail up to the mine is beautiful but long. Its a four mile (one-way) and 3,400 ft climb up the mountain through a Ponderosa pine and White fir forest. It is a good workout. I did it as a day hike but it might be easier as an overnight backpack. There is little water until you approach the mine and parallel the creek, so take plenty with you. The hike is inside of the Inyo National Forest and the John Muir Wilderness. A wilderness permit is required for overnight stays.

Lakeview Mine
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