Man finds camera buried in ash on Mt. St. Helens

The camera has likely been there since 2009

Some of the people seen in photos found on a digital camera buried in ash on Mt. St. Helens, Oct. 31, 2015 (COURTESY CLAUDE MALLEGOL)
Some of the people seen in photos found on a digital camera buried in ash on Mt. St. Helens, Oct. 31, 2015 (COURTESY CLAUDE MALLEGOL)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Last Wednesday, Claude Mallegol was hiking the Johnston Ridge Boundary Trail on Mt. St. Helens. He was picking up his wife and daughter from an overnight backpacking trip and instead of waiting in the car, he decided to hike in and meet them on the trail.

As a search and rescue volunteer, Mallegol has the habit of keeping his head on a swivel when hiking.

“As I hike I’m always looking for signs of animals and possible signs of people going off trail and lost items. Such is the nature of a search and rescue volunteer,” Mallegol told KOIN 6 in an email.

The camera Mallegol found on Mt. St. Helens, Oct. 31, 2015 (CLAUDE MALLEGOL)
The camera Mallegol found on Mt. St. Helens, Oct. 31, 2015 (CLAUDE MALLEGOL)

About two miles into the hike he noticed an odd shape up hill about 50 feet away from the trail.

“It was hard to see because it was grey and so was the ash and rocks it was sitting in but the shape was out of place,” said Mallegol.

What he found was a Canon digital camera.

“I brought it home to see what I could make of it. It took some times to get the parts to work they were filled with ash and didn’t function.”

Mallegol said he finally got the memory card out and was totally surprised that it was still readable. He said the last picture was taken in 2009.

“This camera spent [six] years in the Mt. St. Helens ash.”

There are 144 photos and 2 dozen videos on the camera, he said. The boys names are Alex and Aaron, and the footage appears to be taken on Vancouver Island, including Bouchart Gardens.

Mallegol looked at the pictures but didn’t recognize anyone, so he reached out to KOIN 6 News. He hopes someone will recognize the people in the photos so he can return the camera to its rightful owner.

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