Climax in Lake County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
The Highest Compost Pile in the World
Eighty years of mining operations on Fremont Pass disturbed more than five square miles of land and altered the course of a stream. As of 2009, Climax Molybdenum Company had spent nearly $50 million on land reclamation and water treatment. Not a dime came from tax dollars.
Land reclamation at 11,000 feet above sea level, where the growing season is about 32 days long, isn't easy. The first step, after the tailings (waste rock) are graded to a final contour, involves spreading crushed limestone on the tailings to neutralize their acidity. Then about four to eight inches of topsoil are added.
That topsoil is produced in the world's highest compost piles from sewage sludge ("biosolids") and wood chips, a mix that decomposes into garden-quality soil with the help of air pumped into the piles. Summit County's biosolids are composted here, as well as biosolids from several other counties and municipalities. Mountain communities and the mine both benefit from this award-winning program: local governments get cost-effective waste management, and Climax gets the raw materials it needs for land reclamation.
Erected by Climax Molybdenum Company & the Federal Highway Administration.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Environment • Industry & Commerce.
Location. 39° 22.04′ N, 106° 11.319′ W. Marker is in Climax, Colorado, in Lake County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 91 11 miles south of Interstate 70, on the right when traveling south. Marker is located on the west side of Colorado Highway 91, at the summit of Fremont Pass, directly across from the Climax Molybdenum Mine, within a small park containing historical markers and mining exhibits. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Climax CO 80429, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Water Treatment Protects Downstream Users (here, next to this marker); The Big Shot (a few steps from this marker); Skiing on Top of the World (a few steps from this marker); More Than Just a Mine (a few steps from this marker); Top Secret (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to Climax! (within shouting distance of this marker); Climax (within shouting distance of this marker); Life on the High Line (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Climax.
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted on a large boulder.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Climax Historical Park
Also see . . . Reclamation in Colorado: A Biosolids Success Story. Large quantities of mine tailings were placed in a tailings impoundment in a drainage area, known as the Robinson Tailings Pond, adjacent to the Climax mine. Reclamation of the 600-acre Robinson Tailings Pond has been ongoing for the past few decades. Capping the pond began in the 1980s and first required a combination of soil and rock to stabilize the surface. Once capped, the surface required a topsoil layer able to support plant growth. While rock was plentiful, the large amount of topsoil needed was not. By the 1990s, the explosive growth of resort communities in the local region created an increase in biosolid production. In addition, ski trail expansion and booming construction generated extra quantities of wood residuals. Climax has now reclaimed much of the land along Highway 91 and has planted numerous spruce, fir, aspen and willow tree saplings.
Generalized PR piece (Submitted on September 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 109 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.