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The Mystery of the James Peak truck...

topgeek

Active Member
Note: I'm cross posting this from ADVrider - I posted it there as well (hence the reference to Opie - a user there).

For years, during the Jekyll & Hyde Ride, we would stop at the James Peak overlook and you could see a pickup truck that someone had (apparently) driven off the cliff and crashed/stuck half way down.

We'd look and ponder how on earth it got there, how many beers were involved, and whether the person was still with us, etc..

Here's Opie on July 13, 2008 on the 2nd Jekyll & Hyde Ride at the James Peak overlook.
You can see The Mystery Truck glistening in the late afternoon sun...



I just discovered Google Earth has historical images - here's a satellite capture of that truck on 10/2/2011 - note the path near the truck I've highlighted with an orange arrow for a common reference between the following images:



Here's another image from 2011:




Going back with historical satelite data, we can see the truck has been there quite some time - you can even see it in January 17 imagery from 2005 in the snow:


We even have a window of when the accident occured: It was not there on or before 10/11/2004 - so sometime between October 11, 2004 and January 17, 2005.



Fast forward to October 9, 2015 and the truck is gone!!?!



Where did it go?

Did the greenies lobby and whine until the taxpayer footed the bill for a retrievel?
How would you even retrieve it?
I'd love to know the story of this truck... how it got there.. how it got removed.
One of the mysteries of life I guess...
 

topgeek

Active Member
Here's a couple of maps to put in perspective just how far from anything (and how precarious) this truck's location is.



 
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topgeek

Active Member
The plot thickens!

Did an avalanche take it further down perhaps?
Zoomed out on the area back when the truck was there:


Looking further down the chute in the latest imagery - is that the truck upside down?



I can't wait until Spring to hike out there and find out :D

Maybe if I'm lucky I'll find Forrest Fenn's treasure inside! :p
 
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ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
Is that the Kingston Peak trail visible on the top left of the pictures?

Post this up as a "run" this summer. I'd like to hike down and see what it's all about too.
 

topgeek

Active Member
The trail above the truck is closed - but the Kingston Peak trail connects to it just a little further down (about 1/2 mile).
 

topgeek

Active Member
p.s. Definitely planning a run. That snowbank at treeline usually doesn't melt out until June. I'll post up when it does :)
 

Morris Yarnell

Well-Known Member
How far is that from Denver? Sounds like a fun adventure and there has to be an explanation for its current location.
 

ZigsRig

Member
Im game to check it out... it would be interesting to find out the history of that wreck..

What is the closed trail visible in the picture? is it the section going up from kingston peak near the top?
 

topgeek

Active Member
Here's a live google map centered approximately where the wreck is so you can zoom out and get perspective.
In the first photo of Opie - he's standing at the James Peak overlook on the Kingston Peak route (right before the 29% grade climb) if you've ever been up there. It is to the right in this google map where the switchback is. Cheers!
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.8513576,-105.6742888,17z/data=!3m1!1e3

This image is looking due west at James Peak (you can use the peaks and the lakes as a reference in the map link above - i.e. rotated 90 degrees as the map is north)
 

ZigsRig

Member
There is a reason why you are the Top Geek ;)...

found it, and kingston peaks trail on your fancy map. I've never noticed that "other" trail at the top (before the decent of you are coming from the st. marys side). looks like he may have gotten a little to close and went off :eek:

since you are an expert on the area, i want to know how crazy the guy (or gals) who live in the yurt type house just off of kingston peak on your way to rollins pass. talk about a crappy commute :D
 
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topgeek

Active Member
The area he was in is "no motorized access" - it may be inside the actual wilderness area. The whole "marks you leave last 100 years in the tundra" addage - I am not sure what year that fork was closed.

There is actually a guy building a full on structure right at tree line. I looked up the records and he got a couple of acres for like $39k.

I have been looking to buy land up there for a cabin (hence why viewing the records) - absolutely love it up there and it isn't that far from where we live now. Not a place to move to but more of a weekend get away. I'd love to build something right at treeline with a james peak view. I have friends that live in Tolland and they actually have faster internet than we do - lol

In the winter you need a snowmobile from Tolland via Mamouth gulch although most the houses up there snowmobile from Apex (they have a parking lot they keep their sleds at right at the 90 degree corner).

There is a little 3-house community way the heck up there on Elk Park Rd. I would love to see what a winter day is like at their place! :)


.mobile
 
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topgeek

Active Member
The fork is clearly marked "no motorized access" with those little brown signs when you are standing there but it isn't far from the cliff and you can park at fork or there is a full on parking lot and connector trail where Opie is standing in the first pic (which would allow you to approach from below) bIt is less than a mile.
That's where we park when we want to hike to the top of James Peak (as opposed to the 3.2 mile (each way) hike from St Marys for those without high clearance vehicles :D



.mobile
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
I went on Kingston last summer, didn't realize the truck was there or I would have looked for it. I can say the upper flat area of Kingston was really rutted out and on the downhill slope there was a pretty big rock drop along the face in the images your posting.

Here is a picture I snapped from the hiking trailhead where Opie is I believe.


We were told by 2 rangers there is a jeep at the bottom on the right where 2 guys tried to drive down this hiking trail to the lakes.
 

ExplorerTom

Well-Known Member
Does anyone see what looks like a primitive trail to the right of the original location of the truck? It could be just a coincidental trail looking shape in the dirt, a random mountain goat path or maybe some efforts were made originally to extract things out of the truck.

Last night I was thinking of splitting up into 2 groups- one from the top and one from the bottom with handhelds for comms. The top group would go down that chute. But now that I look at it on a non-iPad monitor, coming from the bottom looks like the better way to go.

Maybe we'll get lucky and google will release a new image of the area and it will have slid further down the mountain.
 

topgeek

Active Member
Here's another angle:

I've highlighted in Yellow the Kingston Peak (legal) motorized route.
I've highlighted in Red the legal hiking trail that goes to James Peak Lake.
I've highlighted in Blue the legal hiking trail that goes to the top of James Peak.

I think to find the truck, parking at P1 and taking the red route would probably work best. That said, I plan also on parking at P2 and going over and looking over the edge the truck drove off of ... just to appreciate what that might have been like.

P1 is where Opie is standing in the initial photo.

 

topgeek

Active Member
At this point you can get to the intersection of Mammouth Gulch and Apex. It'll probably be the end of June at the earliest before we can get past the snow drifts at tree line.