Information Entries for Pikes Peak and Name History

Name History (Pikes Peak)

Title: Naming of Pikes Peak

Entered by: 14erFred

Added: 05/14/2010, Last Updated: 05/14/2010

Sources: Borneman, W.R., & Lampert, L.J. (1978). A climbing guide to Colorado's Fourteeners. Boulder, CO: Pruett Publishing Company. Eberhart, P., & Schmuck, P. (1970). The Fourteeners: Colorado's great mountains. Chicago: The Swallow Press. Hart, J.L.J. (1977). Fourteen thousand feet: A history of the naming and early ascents of the high Colorado peaks (Second Edition). Denver, CO: The Colorado Mountain Club.

The mountain was named for Lieutenant Zebulon Montgomery Pike, Jr. (January 5, 1779 April 27, 1813), a U.S. soldier and explorer. His father, Zebulon Pike, Sr., was an officer in the Continental Army under General George Washington. On July 15, 1806, Zebulon, Jr., set out on an expedition to find the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Pike first sighted the mountain, which he called "Grand Peak" on his map, on November 15, 1806. He attempted to climb the mountain, but appears to have gotten only as far as Mt. Rosa (11,499 ft.) about 8 miles southeast of Pikes Peak, where he abandoned the ascent in waist-deep snow after having gone almost two days without food.

In his expedition of 1820, Major Stephen Long (for whom Longs Peak was named) was the next person to record a sighting of the mountain, which he called "James Peak," in honor of Edwin James, who was the botanist for his expedition. Three members of Long's expedition made the first recorded ascent of the mountain. Over the years, various maps of the region listed other names for the mountain, including "J. Haines Peak" in place of "James Peak" on an anonymous map of 1825. Colonel Henry Dodge, who explored the region in 1835, appears to be the first to call the mountain "Pikes Peak."

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