Ascent to name Peak 12,691 "Mount Thoreau"
(a good idea and a good climb)

25-26 Sep 2014 - by Stan Robinson

On September 25, 2014, we met and camped at the middle Wonder Lake, coming up in several groups from North Lake, and Tom Killion coming over the ridge from Lake Emerson. It was a very windy day and evening, so much so that one of our tents was blown apart. Friday it dawned clear and less windy, and we hiked up onto the summit plateau east of the peak and were up by noon.

We named this peak "Mount Thoreau" because there is no feature in California's Sierra Nevada named after Henry David Thoreau, and given Thoreau's importance to John Muir and the American wilderness movement (and given that the Sierras have many features named after various robber barons and other miscreants) we decided to correct the omission and informally name a peak after Thoreau. We're aware that the USGS will not approve such a name, and add it in quotes to join the other good "named" peaks in the Sierra, "Mount Randy Morgenson" (near Russell) and "Mount Stephen Jay Gould" (down the ridge from Darwin and Mendel). We hope everyone will like the idea and spread the word.

It's true that this peak has sometimes been called "Wonder Peak," but this is descriptive only. A couple of times people have attempted to call it "Mount George Davis," after the great USGS map maker of the Sierra, but he already has the beautiful Davis Lakes named after him, so there is not a good reason to name this peak after him.

We chose this peak in particular because it stands almost directly across Piute Canyon from Mount Emerson. They make a great matched pair, with Emerson slightly higher but Thoreau more interesting, which is perfect. Now when people hike up and down the Piute Canyon trail, they will pass between Thoreau and Emerson.

We'll let the guidebook writers and the other websites know, and hope that the name sticks.

photo by Chris Woodcock

When we came down Friday we were joined by these friends to help us celebrate the event: Bridget Breen, Isabella Breen, Tom Buoye, John Markoff, David Robertson, Jeanette Robertson, Gary Snyder, Leslie Terzian. It was a great party.

Spread the word!

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