Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Date Posted:  03/11/2013
Date Climbed:   01/30/2007
Author:  Peak_One
 Six years ago, on Kelso Ridge: Found an SD card from a strangers long-forgotten winter climb...  

In early September of last year, I climbed and descended Torreys peak via Kelso ridge. Early in the ridge, I dropped a water bottle about 30 feet and had to downclimb some slippery scree to get it. Nothing terribly dramatic, except that I found a 256 MB SD card laying on the rock. I picked it up, put it in my pocket, had a great climb, and then forgot about it.

When I was getting back onto I70 for the trudge east (it was Labor Day weekend and the traffic was miserable), I checked my pocket and could not find the card. Thinking it was lost on the mountain, I spent the next six months wondering what might have been on that card. Hard to imagine just what kind of scenes-possibly hundreds of mountain adventure photos, random shots of total strangers, and shots of locations interesting to many of us.

Well, just a couple weeks ago, I got the oil changed in my car. When I got back in it, the SD card was sitting on the ashtray, found by a tech. I submit to you now photos from a card that lay exposed to the elements on Torrey's peak for five and a half years, from early in a winter ascent that looked promising. It's not impossible that the people who took these photos might find them here. I wish there had been more photos on the card, and more interesting ones that were sure to come later in the ascent. I hope their trip went well on that perfect January day.

I will throw in a couple of my own photos. It was a fantastic climb in perfect weather. I remember the road leading to the trail head being in better shape than I remembered from the summer of 2011. After I parked my car a mile down, I thought it was a bad idea as I kept climbing up the very passable road. Then the busload of tourists and 30 or so assorted hikers beginning the Gray's Peak trail made me forget all that, dash across the bridge to get ahead of the group, and put it in gear. The ridge climb, particularly in summer, is an excellent step up for someone who wants to increase the degree of difficulty and add some elements of real scrambling. I found the exposure to be less serious than Longs peak everywhere but the knife edge.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

03/12/2013 03:25
What an interesting story. It would be super cool if these people would eventually find this.


Thanks :)
03/12/2013 03:35
I'm wondering about that. Can you imagine how strange and interesting that would be?


03/12/2013 13:18
This is awesome! Being new to this community, this situation speaks volumes to the integrity and comradery of the folks who make up its membership. To think that someone would take the time to make sure the people in these photos at least have a chance to relive, perhaps an epic adventure, and perserve the memories is just one of the many reasons I have fell in love with this lifestyle. I hope I can speak for everyone and say THANK YOU for taking the time to do this, you have set a great example and I hope with my future endeavors can replicate the same.


Very Interesting!
03/12/2013 15:26
I wonder if they lost just the card or the entire camera? Like the ring in the Hobbit, the memory card continues to be found by a new master.


Good question.
03/13/2013 01:38
I've been wondering how they would manage to lose the SD card- perhaps during a battery change. I doubt the camera was lost or someone else would have found it.

Hulk: I very much appreciate your comments!! I've been given a lot of good advice and friendly conversation on the mountains. I agree that most hikers and climbers try to take care of each other.

Steve Climber

Fantastic Find!
05/09/2014 12:26
I hope the original party sees these and can enjoy the randomness of this find. Looks like it was a great day (for them AND you)


Nice one Peak_One!
03/13/2013 22:35
Doing Kelso Ridge in the winter makes me think they might frequent this website.


03/14/2013 14:10
Maybe they never set the date in their camera; that doesn't look like it could possibly be January. Either way very cool story and I hope they find this post!


03/15/2013 01:29
It would be fun to do some CSI-style supersleuth work, like measuring shadow angles as compared to certain times of the year and figuring out when certain clothing and helmet models were introduced, to put some boundaries on it.

But I do tend to agre with a94buff - it looks more like late fall to me, than January.


Possibly a light snow year.
03/16/2013 03:45
This trip report on Longs Peak is from March 8 of this year and shows a snow pack that looks as light, if not lighter. Not being from Colorado, I only have trip reports to go by for the winter months, but I think it's plausible.


Jan 97
03/19/2013 22:42
I remember that winter pretty well as I did a fair amount of skiing despite some serious health issues I was dealing with. It wasn't a light year at all, as I recall January had plenty of storms/snow that would have well filled in that amphitheater below G/T. Of course my memory isn't what it used to be but I'm pretty sure about that.


This might be a date.. my attempt at CSI work.
04/02/2013 02:52
OK Alpine, I'll try. I'm not a hard core astronomer but I've done a bit of it. I've not done this peak (plan to in June)so I had difficulty placing the location of the photos on a map. Of particular interest was photo number 5. A waning gibbous moon can be seen on the right side of the photo. The direction of the moon seems west maybe a bit north. Someone more familiar with the topo maps and route might be able to figure an azimuth bearing. With the moon in the west it means it would be setting. So setting a bit to the north means this would be winter vs fall, summer or spring when the moon is lower in the sky and sets more to the south. The exact angle of elevation is harder to determine but I estimated 10 degrees. Looking at the US Naval Observatory azimuth and elevation tables for Denver for January 2007 I'd place this time of photo number 5 at 8:30 AM Saturday 1/6/07 or 9:00 AM on Sunday 1/7/07. I did not check to see if other months or years would work as a solution but this certainly could be January 2007 based on the location and phase of the moon. I'm asking Peak One to divulge what the camera file date is to see if I'm close. These folks must be serious climbers and likely frequent this site. Who climbs Kelso? Who climbs Kelso in the winter? Who climbs wearing helmets? Serious climbers.


Time/Date stamp was 01/30/2007
04/04/2013 01:49
Very interesting! Thanks for the informed analysis of that photo. As noted, the camera put it at late January. The photo in question was time stamped at 10:06.

A lot of evidence points towards a January trip, although there has been some question about snow cover and the history of that year. The snowfall totals from Georgetown (closest listing I could find) in Dec 06 and Jan 07 were 35.9 inches and 15.6 inches respectively. It seems quite a bit more should be on the ground.

As far as your questions, I think Kelso in winter is a fairly common advanced climb. It's oriented to the spine of the ridge, so the snow conditions seem favorable in the trip reports I've seen. If you liked Longs, I think you'll also enjoy the Kelso Ridge ascent of Torrey's.

If you're looking for a real roller coaster, consider climbing Torrey's from Loveland Pass, where you can bag two thirteeners on the way and bag them again on the return!

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.