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Otto mountain

Posted by Ron Layton  
Ron Layton January 02, 2012 07:50AM
I'm planning a trip to Otto mountain near Baker, California for some collecting. Its a site famous for rare tellurium minerals and several type species. Does any one know if its private property and if so can you supply a contact name and number? Thanks!
Joe Mulvey January 02, 2012 08:57PM
Hi Ron,
Tony Kampff wrote a couple of articles about Otto Mtn. I saw an email for him.

akampf at nhm dot org

Maybe he could give a definitive answer or a contact for permission.

Good Luck!
Ron Layton January 03, 2012 01:20AM
Thanks Joe!
Mineralogical Research Company January 03, 2012 06:25PM
Hi Ron,

Otto Mountain is on BLM land and is accessible, just a short distance from "down town" Baker. We were there a few months ago and if we hadn't been with some of the principal finders of the new minerals, we would have struck out. There are many tunnels and only two, I believe, are productive. In the Aga, the mineralization zone was very limited and hard to work. The Bird's Nest is quite a walk up a steep canyon. All of the new minerals require ~100X to do them justice. I'm not trying to discourage you, but to let you know that the possibilities are limited for getting anything other than micro micros.

One last, but important, thing is to be aware that itinerants are known to inhabit some of the tunnels. For a little more information, see Mojave Field Trip for a report of our field trip, with photos of the area.

Ron Layton January 05, 2012 07:15PM
Thanks Gene! I'm a bit familiar with the size of the micro crystals but didn't realize that nearly everything there is micro micro. I was planning on going alone but with people inhabiting the mines this is a no go. Maybe there will be a field trip in the near future. Are you going to the Pacific Micromount Conference in Redlands on the 27th? I plan on attending. I wish I knew where the field trip is going on Sunday.
Mineralogical Research Company January 05, 2012 09:20PM

I wouldn't advise going out there alone, or unarmed. I forgot to mention that friends were hasseled by the sheriffs and were left alone only after convincing them that they were not meth cookers or otherwise unsavory characters. I'm afraid that the problem stems from the fact that the train tracks are within walking distance of the location and its close proximity to downtown(?) Baker.

I'm not sure if we will make the PMC or not. It will depend upon our Tucson trip plans, which are not yet settled. I haven't heard any news with respect to the field trip.

I will be happy to let you know if I hear anyone planning a trip to Otto, so that you may be able to join them. If you are in that area, I would suggest that you also get out to the Blue Bell Claims, just 10 miles away. I wouldn't worry about going out there alone, as it is too far out for itinerants.

Ron Layton January 19, 2012 08:38PM
Hi Gene
I just heard that the field trip for the conference will be to the Blue Bell claims. Any suggestions?I have a lot if experience underground. Just wondering which parts may be more prolific for micro specimens. Thanks and that was a very interesting article you linked to.
Ron Layton
Mineralogical Research Company January 20, 2012 02:17AM
Hi Ron,

I'm not an expert on the Blue Bell Claims, having been there only twice and 50 years apart. All of the adits are easy hikes from the A adit, the best place to park. The one that I thought would be the most interesting was the C adit, but we didn't do well there after commercial collectors worked it over. Still, the Blue Bell is well worth a trip out there, especially if it's an organized field trip. I'm sure that there will be some experts along that can give advice on where to collect. Though the area has been heavily collected, over the past 50 years, you will be able to collect a lot of interesting micro material. You should get a copy of "The Blue Bell Claims", published by the San Bernardino County Museum in 1984 and downloadable at Blue Bell Claims. Be sure to take some warm clothes, as it can get chilly out there.

Jim Gawura January 20, 2012 03:04AM
The 2A was producing some nice specimens, but you need a ladder, minimum 10 ft., and the area is very small. Ten people will be a crowd. There are some adits above the 2A, but they are all small. The 2B adit is fairly long, but the main adit and going to the left have only one stope and it is small, I did not see any areas of obvious mineralization. This was a quick look see. Closer examination of the back and ribs might yield some specimens. The right branch of 2B had a small stope near the Y. No obvious mineralization. I did not go to the end of the right hand stope. I was getting lightheaded because of the stagnant air. 2E has a lot of epidote on the dump. 2C and 2D have some interesting minerals on the dumps. I did not go into either one, no light. Didn't spend much time at 2C, was there in September and the area was thick with bees. Like at least a dozen swarming around your head. At least they didn't sting, but it was unnerving. The parking at 2A is minimal, good single track up the backside of the mountain, but 6 vehicles will be a stretch. Not much parking at 2B and the trail up to the mine seems to be getting worse. Talking to my partner most of the other adits are short, less then 100 feet. The rock in most areas is highly brecciated. Be careful!
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