The AJ mill was a prominent feature of downtown Juneau for many years, but it caught fire in the 1960s and was almost completely destroyed. The concrete foundation and a few pieces of machinery are still there, but the vegetation and animal life has turned it into something resembling an ancient mayan temple. I briefly explored this in 2003 on my way through Juneau, I expected to find nothing more than concrete and metal rubble but I was surprised to discover four tunnels that I had never known about. The 5th tunnel I found was one that I did know of, the main haul tunnel through Mt. Roberts into Last Chance Basin and the mine's rail yard. This tunnel was supposedly blocked and turned into a water reservoir (I found the Basin end of it capped with concrete and plumbing) but at this end the pipes seem to emerge from two smaller tunnels, and the main tunnel is open for some distance. The smaller tunnels seem to have been dug later to bypass the partially collapsed entrance of the haul tunnel, I didn't explore them fully the first few times I visited, but later I found that they all connect together:
New Photos from 2004: The Hellshaft.
This is what we found connecting the upper and lower water tunnels. A blue pipe coming out of a bulkhead in the flooded tunnel, then turning and plunging into a 75 degree downward sloping shaft about 190 feet deep. Aluminum ladders are bolted to the rock alongside the pipe, and allow descent into the shaft. At the bottom is a catchment pool and a moldy wooden ladder, then a short walk along the lower water tunnel to another bulkhead and a squeeze along the top of the pipe to the outside world. Hardhats and safety gear are a must here (as Freak demonstrates with his oldschool helmet and useless carbide lamp).
The AJ Mill Ruins:
The rainforest takes over soon after abandonment, and 50 years were enough to almost completely hide the upper levels.
These tunnels appeared to be water supply diversions, the upper (third picture) tunnel led to a shaft, presumably down to the lower one.
A short tunnel ending in a small cavern or chamber, which held a winch and some other machenery. No idea what the "ghost" is.
The upper water tunnel, partway in there seems to be a destroyed bulkhead and some rusty pipes.
The upper levels of the mill are more intact, but are infested with pigeons and offer decaying floors over deep pits.
The rail line to the haul tunnel that connected to the rest of the mine through Last Chance Basin. Abandoned Railroads don't last too long in Southeast Alaska.
Last picture shows the collapsed tunnel entrance, the fog and wet surfaces create an eerie glow.
View of downtown and some cruise shits... er, I mean ships.
A snowshed that slid down the mountain (I'm standing upright and level in this pic). Anyone want to pay $5 for a roller coaster ride?
Some maps I drew for another explorer who plans to visit the mill. Fjeer my MS-paint skillz!
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