With the 89th Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb this weekend (as well as Mount Washington’s revived Climb to the Clouds), we thought we’d go looking for some vintage photography from Pike’s Peak, and we thought the most natural place to find such photography would be in the Denver Public Library’s digital collections. However, we only came across one shot of a race car – the No. 12 Duesenberg – climbing the mountain, captured by Harry Mellon Rhoads, and it appears to have not been shot during competition. Nor does the photograph come with any caption information, so we’re left wondering who’s piloting the Duesenberg and when the shot was taken.

UPDATE (28.June 2011): Thanks to David Greenlees for quickly identifying the driver as Hughie Hughes. The date is likely September 1916, as we see from another photo of Hughes in the Duesenberg at Pike’s Peak that David sent us, courtesy Racemaker Press.

On the back it reads “Hughie Hughes, Duesenberg Special. George Evans, his mechanician. Son of Covington, K., millionaire and graduate of Boston Engineering School with Hughes in racer for experience.”

According to the account of the race in Motor Age, the Duesenberg’s engine blew during the first day of racing, but Hughes was still able to compete on the second day, driving the Hudson of A.H. Patterson, who had taken sick right before the race. Hughes drove the Hudson to a time of 22 minutes, 55 seconds.