Behind the Names of 14ers

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SilverLynx
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Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby SilverLynx » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:20 am

I thought it would be interesting to start a thread about where all the 14ers got their names from, including a little bit about the people some of them are named after. If you know the story of how a 14er got its name, post it. You can do a really obvious one (like Snowmass or Pyramid) but please include the story behind it - who gave it that name and when? Some are named after schools - when and why did the school decide to summit the peak?

I'll start!

GRAYS PEAK

Grays Peak was named after Asa Gray (November 18, 1810 – January 30, 1888) who is known as the father of American botany. He is said to have dominated American taxonomy more than any other botanist and considered by many to be the most important American botanist of the 19th century.

Gray traveled to the American west on two separate occasions, the first in 1872 and then again with Joseph Dalton Hooker in 1877. Both times his goal was botanical research: he avidly collected plant specimens to bring back with him to Harvard. On his second trip through the American west, he and Hooker reportedly collected over 1000 specimens. They were accompanied for a time by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, then in charge of the U.S. Geological and Geophysical Survey of the Territories. Gray and Hooker's research was reported in their joint 1882 publication, "The Vegetation of the Rocky Mountain Region and a Comparison with that of Other Parts of the World."

On both trips he climbed Grays Peak, one of Colorado's many fourteeners. This mountain was named after Gray by the botanist and explorer of the Rocky Mountains Charles Christopher Parry, who was likely a student of Gray's at Harvard.

Gray and Charles Darwin met at Kew, introduced by Joseph Dalton Hooker. Darwin then wrote to Gray requesting information about the distribution of various species of American flowers, which Gray provided, and which was helpful in providing information for the development of Darwin's theory. This was the beginning of an extensive lifelong correspondence.


**********

TORREYS PEAK

John Torrey (August 15, 1796 – March 10, 1873) was also an American botanist, born in New York City. He was tutored by Amos Eaton, a pioneer of natural history studies in America.

In 1817, he became one of the founders of the New York Lyceum of Natural History (now the New York Academy of Science), and one of his first contributions to this body was his Catalogue of Plants growing spontaneously within Thirty Miles of the City of New York (Albany, 1819).

In 1836 he was appointed botanist to the state of New York and produced his Flora of that state in 1843; while from 1838 to 1843 he carried on the publication of the earlier portions of Flora of North America, with the assistance of his pupil, Asa Gray.

In 1856, Torrey was chosen a trustee of Columbia College, and in 1860, having presented the college with his herbarium, numbering about 50,000 specimens, he was made emeritus professor of chemistry and botany.

Charles C. Parry named Torreys Peak for his botanist colleague John Torrey. Torrey actually did not see the peak until 1872, 11 years later.
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby I Man » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:22 am

So cool! This is a great idea. I wonder if we can get all 58??
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby SurfNTurf » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:31 am

If you go to each 14er's main page, there's a link for Naming and Climbing History in the upper right. :wink:
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby SilverLynx » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:38 am

SurfNTurf wrote:If you go to each 14er's main page, there's a link for Naming and Climbing History in the upper right. :wink:

Thank you, Jeff!

](*,)
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby Crusty » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:44 am

North Eolus - inspired by its orientation relative to Mt. Eolus.
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby LuLuLuv » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:49 am

One of the first books written about the 14ers was "A Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners" by Walter R. Borneman and Lyndon J. Lampert. First published in 1978. MountainHiker gave me my copy, it was one of his "go to" books many years ago before Roach wrote his guide. It is a great book with a lot of history about the 14ers and the areas surrounding them and seems to cover more info than most books or this site. I am a member of a history group that Borneman belongs to here in town and is still very active in, pretty cool.

La Plata Peak
It is probable that La Plata peak was first ascended by miners in the late 1860s for the numerous high silver mines that were located in its vicinity. The first recorded climb was on July 26, 1873 by members of the Hayden Survey who gave the peaks it's name. La Plata means Silver in Spanish.

Capitol Peak
Was also named by the Hayden Survey for its resemblance to the U.S. Capitol Building. The Hayden Survey did not climb it, in Henry Gannett's words "the prism-shaped top and precipitous sides forbid access." It was eventually climbed by Percy Hagerman and Harold Clark on August 22, 1909 by the NE ridge over the knife edge. In 1946 the Rocky Mountain News named Capitol Colorado's most difficult peak (tho there are some that would dispute this)
Last edited by LuLuLuv on Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby Gabriel » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:08 pm

Of course Many of the 14ers had names long before white immigration to Colorado. Native tribes named many of the peaks. The Spanish and later Mexican locals named many of the peaks, some which remain today.

G
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby 14erFred » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:16 pm

As SurfnTurf noted, the 14ers.com online-guidebook entry for each of the Colorado 14ers includes information about the history of how each peak got its name. If you go to the online guidebook entry for a particular 14er, you can access this information on the right-hand side of the webpage by clicking on "Name History" under the heading "14erology."
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby Dan_Suitor » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:35 am

Gabriel wrote:Of course Many of the 14ers had names long before white immigration to Colorado. Native tribes named many of the peaks. The Spanish and later Mexican locals named many of the peaks, some which remain today.

G


I wish they had kept more of the original Native American names. I’m sure the Indian name for Mt. Yale was much more meaningful and elegant than a professor’s alma mater. I searched but could not find what it was. I did find in Wikipedia that “Sawatch” is a Ute word meaning “blue earth” or “water at blue earth”. Again, much more elegant than a “Collegiate Peaks” meaning a group of mountains named after east coast universities.
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby sgladbach » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:10 am

In the last two decades, the USGS has made it much more difficult to name or re-name peaks. (Primarily because once named, it is difficult to get them re-named. Therefore, the USGS saves the naming of a peak for a really significant reason.)

"Old Baldy" was the last hard-ranked 14er to receive a new name. Through the lobbying efforts of the CMC, "Old Baldy" was renamed Mount Lindsey. Malcolm Lindsey was a CMC leader who saw a need for a specialty group for younger people (tween through teen.) He especially enjoyed the Huerfano Valley as a destination to take the CMC youth group to learn camping and climbing skills while spending time with other youth.

The CMC spent a great deal of time and effort to get the USGS to name three 13ers: Mt. Cronin, Mt. Ervin, and Mt Blaurock (after the first two men and the first woman to climb the 14ers.) Likely, Malcolm Lindsey would not meet the same standard as a Colorado mountaineering icon deserving of a 14er name.

In recent years, the last un-named soft-ranked 14er was dubbed Challenger Point and a nearby ranked 13er was named Columbia Point. Those disasters were historically significant in a way that will likely remain imbedded in world history. There is a movement to name something to recognize the tragedy and subsequent heroism of 9/11. The process hasn't moved along very quickly.


My vote for a name that most NEEDS to be Changed: Mount Elbert!

Samuel Elbert was never elected Governor of the Colorado territory: He was APPOINTED twice.
Samuel Elbert was fired TWICE as Territorial Governor.
As Secretary of State to Governor Evans, he was commonly associated with the Sand Creek Massacre cover-up and , for that reason, was fired as acting Governor (a position he assumed when Governor Evans was fired.) Chief Niwot was among those murdered at Sand Creek.


While we are at it, it is fine with me if we re-name Mt. Evans. As the governor who ordered the removal of the Indians at Sand Creek by "any means necessay", he is as guilty of the murders as Col. Chivington. Besides, Mt Rosalie , the original name has a far better story. Rosalie was named by Albert Bierstadt after the wife of his friend. Bierstadt and Rosalie were illicit lovers. Her husband, racist and hasheesh addicted Fitz Ludlow was too occupied with his own bevy of lovers to much care what his wife was up to. Restoring the original name would put Rosalie and Bierstadt back in each other's embrace.
Last edited by sgladbach on Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Behind the Names of 14ers

Postby sanjuanmtneer » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:21 am

I make a motion to rename Mount Elbert to Damn You Bill Middlebrook Mountain. :lol:

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