VISITING TOPAZ MOUNTAIN TOPAZ CLAIM
Club visits are currently being scheduled through Krystle. The only open digs we can host this season are 9 July and 27 August. Check with local clubs to see if you can join them on their scheduled trips. Remember for visits, to help cover the costs of bringing in our equipment, the restroom, etc., we sell bags of topaz gravel for $50. Each person or each family (with kids or not) is asked to purchase a single bag.
. Visits must be arranged through Krystle at Glacier Peak Mining . This is an operational claim which we are opperating with the intent of recovering gem-quality specimens and cutting rough. We do not have a concession permit for a "tourist mine". You are a visitor. You must sign a permission to collect and liability release form.
Philosophy: We recognize that getting access to areas where a person can have fun searching for and possibly finding a topaz crystal is severely limited. With that understanding, we are trying to support hobbiests looking for this opportunity and do so by opening the claim a few days annually to accomodate visits. VISITS ARE NOT PART OF OUR MINING OPERATION. We accomodate visits only with several important restrictions. If you do not care for these stipulations or constraints within which we are obligated to work, then visiting our claim may not be a worthwhile experience. If it does work, we will do our best to share our experience with you.
Please note that some clubs offer trips to other dig sites and open digging is allowed on national forest which is not removed from mineral location or which is not under mining claims. See our tips. Tips for field collecting.
I do arrange with clubs for "digs" (limit to 25 persons, but kids don't count against the 25) (not recommended for children under 5) and when I am on site operating, people are welcome to visit. Otherwise, no digging or mineral trespass is allowed. Digging of any kind and picking up minerals of any kind violate the Forest Service and State permits and Federal law. Unless you have specific written permission from me, Joseph L. Dorris, you do not have permission to dig or pick up minerals on this claim.
Generally we will be operating with heavy equipment during the last part of May and the last part of September. Otherwise, we will be operating our amazonite claims and only be hand working the topaz claim. We will have ore stockpiled which is scheduled for our processing plant but which you can work by hand, and I will send someone out to be your host. We help offset costs by selling you a bag of gravel with topaz for $50. We also give you an option to purchase some of the stones you find.
We do not have the funds to stir up the piles. Unfortuantely, the rain packs them down. We recommend you bring a pick to loosen up the dirt, a shovel to shovel it off the pile out into a flat area, and a garden rake to search for topaz. See below for more on tools to bring.
Directions to Topaz Mountain Topaz Claim
From Colorado Springs, take U.S. Highway 24 west to Lake George. Drive through Lake George, cross the South Platte River and turn north on Park County Road 77 (Tarryall Road). Go approximately 7 miles. Turn right just past the old stage stop (log building with white mortar) onto road (there's a mailbox with a U.S. flag design) and cross Tarryall Creek. You should see the brown Forest Service sign marking the road (F. S. Road 211) also known as the Matakat Road. Proceed about 2.5 miles and pass through cattleguard. You are now on Topaz Mountain Gem Claim. Operating sign is posted on fence on your left. Park in pullout on the right. Walk up to where we are operating and ask for Joe Dorris.
GPS longitude and latitude are approximately N 39 degrees 6.345 minutes and W 105 degrees 23.591 minutes. There is no address.
The topaz claim is located on open range. Be aware that cattle may find it inviting to visit with you or leave some of their greeting cards in the vicinity. There should be no cattle on the dig site itself; however, they may pay a visit to the parking area.
Tools to Bring
The most important tool is a garden rake with heavy tines, also a lightweight mattock and shovel. Use the mattock or shovel to loosen up the piles of gravel and then use the rake to look for topaz. You may wish to share heavy tools, but each person should have a rake. You may wish to bring your own screen (mesh no larger than 3/8" or you will lose some good topaz) if the gravel is dry. Most people have their best luck with screening, but it is slow. A small hand rake and rock hammer with good point, and a small canister for your finds are also helpful tools. Bring appropriate clothing, water, sunscreen, and insect repellant. Wear boots (with good traction), gloves, hat for the sun, possible coat for cold weather, and rain gear. Afternoons often cloud up and here are frequent thunderstorms.
We may have a mechanical or power shaker on site. During the season, we will also have a portable restroom on site. There are no other facilities.
If you wish, you may also bring an empty 5-gallon bucket to take home a bucket of gravel that you dig.
This is not a fee-dig site; however, you will be asked to purchase a $50 bag of topaz gravel per individual or family couple (kids do not count). This helps pay for the operation and facilities such as the portable restroom. We also pay for the staff to be on site, helping. The bagged gravel is "highgrade" gravel and comes from the mine. Although it may contain a "wild" topaz or two, we add several stones to ensure you get a nice one. Of course, you are welcome to keep any topaz or smoky quartz you find in the bag of gravel. You are buying a bag of gravel. You are not paying a fee to dig. If you wish to dig, you are doing so with the understanding you are helping Glacier Peak look for topaz. You are not required to dig.
All topaz found during your visit are the property of Glacier Peak Mining. We will assess ALL topaz and decide whether to release them to you or retain them as "company stones" for Glacier Peak Mining. When a topaz is retained, we may give you the option of purchasing it. If so, it will be at a wholesale rate (about half its value). Otherwise, any released stones are yours, free of charge. You are under no obligation to buy any stones you find.
Keep in mind if you are with a club, not everyone will be able to find stones. We will do our best to show everyone how to dig and where to look, but it remains that someone will not find any decent topaz. We recommend you determine a way to split up stones we release so that everyone may get a sample or two.
You are welcome to keep all smoky quartz you find. Some of these have schorl tourmaline needles and others are good for faceting. If a smoky quartz has a topaz attached, it falls under the rules for topaz.
The claim opens at 9 AM and closes at 4 PM (or earlier in the event of bad weather). We will give you a briefing at 9 AM prior to any digging. At closing time, bring your finds to us to have them assessed. We will determine which one(s), if any, will be released.
Generally "digging" is restricted to the piles of gravel that are set aside for the shaker. We do not allow digging elsewhere, especially in the undisturbed banks or reclaimed areas. We stack dirt on the banks for your safety. We will show you where digging is allowed.
You are welcome to visit and observe the operations only when we are on site. You do not have to participate but may just watch if you like. In that case, we may or may not have gravel for sale. We plan to have sufficient gravel for clubs or persons who have arranged in advance to visit, but may not have additional bags.
GRAVEL IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE at The Picket Fence (Claire Shaw), 723 Goldhill Place, in Woodland Park (719) 687-2860 (Behind the Wendy's, next to Goodwill). We sell some of our finished jewelry and cut stones through them as well. Otherwise, we will reserve a bag (if available) and bring it to the next show or you can contact me to arrange to pick it up.
CUTTING IS TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE except through a few local cutters. When available and if you would like, we can have your stones cut. Cutting fees are about $ 5.00 a finished carat and cutting takes about 5 months. (Stones are shipped overseas). Many styles are available, including matched pairs for earrings. Krystle is also setting stones for customers and is very good at putting together nice pieces. See her if you would like some jewelry made from your stones.
You must understand and agree to abide by the safety briefing and sign a liability release.
Go to Safety Briefing
Go to Permission Form and Liability Release