OverviewSituated in north central Nevada, Mount Tenabo is a relatively unknown and unseen mountain to those outside of the local area. With 3178 feet of prominence, this mountain is of interest to that small group of peakbaggers who concentrate on peaks with over 2000 feet of prominence. This mountain comes in at #58 on the top 100 list of Nevada.
Very few ascents by peakbaggers have been noted for this mountain although the Barrick Gold Mines has placed communications structures near the very top and has provided an interesting and not for the faint of heart road that reaches those structures. The views from the top of this mountain are exceptional and give you vistas that provide breathtaking oohs and ahhhs.
The history of Mount Tenabo is connected with the now ghost town of Cortez and from ghosttowns.com we get this information:
"The long history of Cortez begins in 1862 when a group of Mexicans discovered silver ore next to Mount Tenabo. The ore was shipped to Austin where it raised considerable interest among the locals. This resulted in a group of prospectors arriving in Cortez who discovered additional sites that prompted more new arrivals. By 1865, three mining companies were active in the district. The main problem was the isolated location of the mines and shipping the ore for milling to Austin. But the best was still to come. The troubles with processing and the camp’s site did not dampen Cortez’s growth. One company spent $100,000 in 1865 to enlarge the Mill Canyon mill to 16 stamps in response to the huge volumes of ore being produced from the mines. Cortez continued to grow throughout the years until the late 1920s and early 1930s when silver prices dropped dramatically and Cortez began to slow down. Shaky wooden buildings and scattered ruins remain at the Cortez townsite, located a couple of miles east of the new Cortez mill.
A rush immediately developed after silver and gold ore was discovered during the summer of 1906. A townsite was platted and by 1907 Tenabo (not Cortez) had a population of 1,000. The residents supported a wide range of businesses including restaurants, hotels, assay office, grocery store, lumberyard, a school, and many saloons. A mill was built in nearby Mill Gulch. By 1909, most of the mines were controlled by the Tenabo Mining and Smelting Company. However, by 1911 the cost of producing the ore became higher than the value of the ore. The post office closed in 1912 and Tenabo quickly declined. The Tenabo mining and Smelting Company sold all of its holdings in 1920 after producing 12 million ounces of silver and 25,000 ounces of gold. Today, the property is actively being worked by the Flowery Gold Mines Company of Nevada. People still live in the camp where wooden buildings stand at the townsite.
Submitted by: HBC
Today the mining operations are controlled by the Barrick Gold corporation and I have provided information that comes from their webpage below:
"The Cortez mine is located 100 kilometres southwest of Elko, Nevada in Lander County. The Cortez Pipeline property is 11 kilometres northwest and the Cortez Pediment property (which includes the Cortez Hills deposit) is 4 kilometres southeast of the original Cortez milling complex. The Pipeline and South Pipeline deposits are mined by conventional open-pit methods. The Cortez property covers approximately 2,800 square kilometres on one of the world’s most highly prospective mineral trends.
Cortez employs three different metallurgical processes to recover gold. Lower-grade oxide ore is heap leached, while higher-grade non-refractory ore is treated in a conventional mill using cyanidation and a carbon-in-leach (“CIL”) process. Heap leached ore is hauled directly to leach pads for gold recovery. Carbonaceous mill ore is mined intermittently during the mining of the Pipeline/South Pipeline deposits. The Cortez Hills underground mine is accessed by twin declines portaled in the old Cortez Gold F canyon pit. The breccia ore zone employs underhand cut and fill mining methods with cemented rock fill as backfill. The top cut of the underground mine will eventually be the bottom bench of the Cortez Hills open pit.
With 2011 production of 1.42 million ounces at total cash costs of $245 per ounce1, Cortez is one of the world’s largest and lowest cost gold mines, and the property also has excellent upside exploration potential. Production in 2012 is anticipated to be 1.20-1.25 million ounces at total cash costs of $300-$350 per ounce, reflecting a higher proportion of underground ounces and lower open pit grades as part of planned mine sequencing. Proven and probable mineral reserves at Cortez as of December 31, 2011 are 14.5 million ounces of gold2."
Why is this worth all this information you might ask?
Well, when gold hit record heights, mining in Nevada became worthwhile again particularly if it was centered around gold. Mount Tenabo is one of those mountains that has gold near its base and has single handedly brought jobs to those who would otherwise be unemployed and so the Barrick Gold corporation is one of Nevada's largest employers and definitely one of the biggest employers in the region. We found it helpful to ask permission from the Barrick Gold to ask for access to their lands which resulted in outstanding cooperation from them. See red tape section for more thoughts on this.
For more overall information, check out this Wikipedia link.
Getting ThereFrom I-80, take the turnoff for Beowave south on highway 308. Continue on through Beowave and Crescent Valley and follow the pavement for about 12 miles and watch for a turn at wpt 40.2756 116.6874. To left and then take a right at the next fork and cross a 4 way stop to wpt 40.2306 116.7132. It is about 3.3 miles to this left turn that heads up into Cortez Canyon. This is a county road although it isn't signed as far as I can remember. Now the key is finding the dirt road that leads into the old ghost town area of Cortez. See Ken Jones GPS track located at peakbagger.com HERE. See maps for more information.
Red TapeAlthough most of the land in the area is BLM land, the Barrick mine has leases that allow control of many of the roads and they have built the newer haul roads that they do not want you to be on. The actual road to the summit was created by the mine and may or may not be private. Although it was not posted, the best source of information will be the mine company itself. They were very helpful to us and appreciated that we made the effort to contact them and ask for their help and permission. The amount of help provided was truly impressive but one cannot assume it may be the same for those who follow us. As if to prove what I just wrote, a friend of ours, Andy Martin asked for and received contact info days after our trip. Then Ken Jones got a note from the operations guy asking that "I not share the contact info, as the mine didn’t want to be bothered by lots of requests. I (Ken) replied asking if they wanted to be notified that people were there, or if they just preferred that people go on their own. No reply yet." So until Ken or I get further clarification on this, you might be able to use our route page (below) to aid you.
Elko BLM office:
Address: 3900 E Idaho St, Elko, NV 89801
A recent peakbagger said he didn't find the mine encouraging nor overly helpful as now they are concerned that too many people may be wanting to climb the mountain. More on that information is upcoming as I will attempt to contact the company and see what their guidelines are currently.
Yes, you could also park at some place and hike up and some have done that but believe me when I say that because we made the effort to contact them, they allowed us to use their roads and provided all the help we needed.They were great.
Camping and weatherWe car camped on BLM land off of the Hill Top road. There are no campgrounds in the area and there is plenty of motels in nearby Battle Mountain and Elko.
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