California Thirteeners List
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California Thirteeners History

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Revision History

18 July 2015: Bob Burd pointed out (c. 14 October 2014 - yikes!) that “Ericsson Crag 1” seemed like it was at least marginal based on contours and DEM data, despite the way I was listing it. My error turned out to be a spot elevation of 4000m that I sourced from Secor (Third Edition, p.138). It appears that this was a typo, and it should have been listed as 4000 m+ instead. I updated that record in my database, incorporating the highest nearby elevation from the DEM (4011m). As a result, this peak now passes the official VRMC criteria.

24 June 2015: The big peak maps now support drawing out paths with an associated elevation profile graph, and path URLs can be saved and shared with others.

9 September 2014: Added a text box to the big map into which U.S. place names can be typed (with autocompletion). Selecting one centers the map there and updates the title (as well as the URL, so that it can be bookmarked).

5 September 2014: I changed the latitude and longitude tracking fields into editable text boxes and added a button to "go big" at this latitude and longitude (rather than centered back on the peak). The Go Big page is now much more versatile (supporting &latitude and &longitude), and honors the climber's credentials (i.e., checking off climbed peaks).

1 June 2014: I re-worked all of my Google Maps/MyTopo support to conform to the new JavaScript v3 API. Google changed their entire model with very little backward-compatibility, so this was a ton of work. I decided to always open the peak map on the peak detail pages, since few browsers these days should have problems displaying Google Maps. I also added a new “go big or go home” link below the map so that you can now fill a resizable browser window with a peak map.

20 October 2013: Bob Burd provided field data and pictures that appear to clarify the locations of two clearly failing peaks on Mt. Whitney's south ridge: “Aiguille Junior” and “S’brutal Tower”. I had been using the UTM locations provided by Secor, but Bob pointed out that Secor’s own photographs correlate better when these peaks are shifted south to UTM845575 and UTM845474, respectively. Therefore, I have relocated these two peaks (with updated DEM and RidgeWalker data). Note that this lowers the map elevation of S’brutal Tower to 4220m+. Finally, the memory of my own solo climb in 2000 also concurs with Bob’s assessment that S’brutal Tower is at least class 3+ from the Mt. Whitney trail.

14 April 2013: No longer rank peaks that do not officially pass given the current criteria, as this typically results in missing ranks (i.e., those ranked peaks that clearly fail the elevation criteria given their surveyed heights, but that are probably still higher than at least one of the ranked marginal peaks having unsurveyed summit heights).

I also removed the rank field from the underlying database, as this was causing two bugs:

  1. When I added the altimeter data for the “Crumbly Spire” saddle on August 1st, it officially became an unraked peak, but I neglected to remove its rank from the database and re-rank the following peaks there. As a result, the rank shown for the following peaks differed between that shown on the official Thirteeners list and the peak detail pages. This highlighted an awkward remaining static implementation detail. The ranks displayed on the peak detail pages are now calculated at runtime using the official Thirteeners criteria.
  2. The list ordering of peaks with identical official elevations had been based on the names of the peaks. This is now based on the UIDs of the peaks instead, as this makes the ranks more stable when I add unofficial names.

5 January 2013: Renamed UTM485400 so that it is now known as “Adamson Point”. Bob Burd noticed that it had suddenly appeared (with this unofficial name) in the the 3rd edition of R.J. Secor’s The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails.

9 September 2012: Renamed UTM574131 so that it is now known as UTM577135. Bob Burd’s field study (c. 13 August 2102) determined that the NE summit block (a 5.6 granite sliver) is apparently the highest point on the Thompson Ridge north of “Ski Mountaineer's Peak”. He also reported that there are only two points above 13,000 feet, which is consistent with Secor’s description (but not with the Mt. Thompson 7.5' USGS Quadrangle c.1994, which shows three 13,000' closed countours on the SE border of the plateau). Bob estimated that the SW point (UTM576132) is approximately 16 feet lower. Note that RidgeWalker reported that the high point in this area of the DEM (3966m or ~13,012') was at UTM574131. I decided to continue to use this DEM elevation (which is consistent with 13,000'+) until I can obtain a field estimate.

1 August 2012: Removed “Crumbly Spire” from the official list, and it is no longer even marginal by the official criteria (despite it passing marginally by DEM saddle vs. summit spot elevation). Jeff Muss, Ken Krugler and I measured measured the depth of the key saddle (i.e., Wallace Col) on 20 July 2012, both with a barometric altimeter (less than 20 minutes between locations in stable weather) and a GPS unit (acquiring more than 10 satellites). Our measurements showed that this peak clearly does not have 300 feet of prominence. Instead, the prominence is likely somewhere between 227' and 273'.

18 December 2011: Updated the MyTopo Google Map APIs. Sorry about the extra commercial look & feel, but they are providing a free map tiling service to guys like me, so it's hard to complain.

12 November 2011: Brian Kalet notified me that “Southeast Polemonium” (UTM662058) is informally named “Barrett Peak”, so I updated its peak record to reflect this.

24 September 2011: I decided to begin using the names “Northwest Lamarck”, “Southeast Polemonium”, and “East Barnard” to refer to UTM515178, UTM662058, and UTM829540 (respectively).

4 September 2011: Bob Burd notified me that UTM447207 is informally named “Matthes Peak”, so I updated its peak record to reflect this and linked to the SummitPost.org page he provided (as well as the Climber.org page for this name).

8 August 2011: Finally convinced MyTopo.com to to give me an API key so that I could restore support from their map server to produce all of my topographic maps. A big “thank you” to Paige Darden, from their tech support department.

23 July 2011: Fixed a bug preventing my icon buttons (e.g., on the page allowing you to edit your climbs) from working. This was caused by a reinerpretation of the W3C HTML form standard by the latest browsers. For more information, see Anup Shah's blog post.

4 December 2009: Changed difficulty of Ericsson Crag 1 from class 4 to class 4-5, and of Ericsson Crag 2 from class 4 to class 3-4. R. J. Secor made these changes between the 1st and 2nd editions of The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails, but I failed to notice.

3 December 2009: Replaced TerraServer topographic maps with MyTopo maps, as the latter are more up to date and (happily!) the EPSG:4326 support really works (as opposed to being off by ~100 meters in a random direction). I was finally able to yank the links to the (frustratingly hobbled) TopoZone.com maps!

25 November 2009: All of the peak detail pages now include a link to the trip reports on Climber.Org for that peak. There are similar links in the Info Balloons that appear when you click on the peak markers in the Google Maps and the placemarks in the Google Earth panels.

14 November 2009: Each peak list page now includes a panel in which the Google Earth plugin can display the list contents, including a show/hide control.

3 November 2009: Moved the Google Map of the summit area onto the Peak Detail page, including a show/hide control.

30 October 2009: Each peak list page now includes a link that downloads a Google Earth KML file representing the peak list.

26 October 2009: Replaced most of the TopoZone.com (Trails.com) map links with links to a new Thirteener Map page on which I’m using the Google Maps APIs to draw interactive maps. I also include a TerraServer topographic map type option (the default map type). I mark the target peak, its key saddle, and all of the VRMC Thirteeners on the map and clicking a peak marker brings up an info window containing most of the data from its peak detail page.

19 October 2009: I used the command-line tool gdaltransform (part of the Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) to convert my (NAD27) summit and saddle UTM coordinates to WGS84 longitudes and latitudes. These longitudes and latitudes (in decimal form) are now included on Peak Detail pages.

11 October 2009: Major overhaul and generalization of the code that analyzes and presents peak list data. I now support several different peak lists (Fourteeners, 50 Highest, 100 Highest, 4000-Meter Peaks, Thirteeners, and 150 Highest), several different sets of passing criteria (Best available data, Spot or DEM, Clean contour, and Interpolation between contours) and several different sets of marginality criteria (Spot or contours, Spot or margin on DEM of 40 feet, and Spot or margin on DEM of 20 meters). From a climber’s My Peaks page, all of these options can be controlled via pop-up menus, with immediate update of the list contents.

Added a separate page for each of the peak lists (using VRMC criteria).

Most peak lists are now broken into two sections: passing peaks and marginal failing peaks. The climber’s count vs. total is included in the heading of each section.

Numeric data values shown within the peak list columns (Rank, Elevation and Prominence) now depend on the passing and marginality criteria selected by the user via the pop-ups (whereas a peak details page always shows raw and VRMC-criteria data). For example, the Rank column in a peak list contains the peak’s rank among all peaks with passing saddles given the user’s passing criteria. Clicking a peak name may bring up a peak detail page showing a different rank number (because the latter is always the official VRMC Rank, determined using the official VRMC passing criteria: Best available data).

The checkmark column now has “Climbed” heading, and the entire column (with heading) disappears whenever no climber is specified and the user is not logged in.

Apply footnote references to the names of all marginal peaks, and then generate footnotes after the peak list giving details about which peaks are marginal and why.

Use floating Help and Info panels to explain user options and column headings, to display footnote text near references, and to give details about marginal data values.

Reworked CSS and basic page layouts to use a sans-serif font for data, headings, labels, etc. The serif font is only used for paragraphs of text. Developed a relatively consistent and harmonious style for all web site pages.

16 September 2009: Decreased the difficulty of “Crumbly Spire” from class 4 to class 2 based on input from Bob Burd.

I also wrote up a SummitPost.org page for South Guard and Mt. Genevra, and included links to both from the South Guard and Mt. Genevra pages on this site.

8 September 2009: Now use the unofficial name “South Basin Peak” for UTM519283 (WSW of Basin Mountain), based on feedback from Bob Burd. I also link to the South Basin Peak page on SummitPost.org and deleted the UTM519283 page I created there.

31 July 2009: Now use the unofficial name “Mt. Morgenson” for UTM838501 (west of Mt. Russell), as this peak name is being proposed to honor veteran backcountry Kings Canyon National Park ranger Randy Morgenson, who disappeared while on duty in 1996.

28 June 2009: Sorted table rows on the “Climbs by Chris Schneider” page by date (descending) instead of by peak UID.

7 May 2009: With the help of my wife, Cindy Branscum, I entered all of the page references into the 3rd edition of R.J. Secor’s The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails. Thanks, honey!

4 May 2009: Added “Crumbly Spire” to the Official Thirteeners List, moved the Cyle Spires to the Official non-Thirteeners List, and listed Clyde Spires (West Peak) and Clyde Spires (East Peak) separately on the latter. For details on the analysis supporting these changes, see the Clyde Spires Analysis page.

1 May 2009: Added links from my peak detail pages to those (that currently exist) at SummitPost.org. I also created a copy of my passing peak list there which points to my peak detail pages here (and has the existing SummitPost peak detail pages for passing peaks as children).

26 April 2009: Incorporated the following new unofficial peak names appearing in the third edition of Secor’s The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, and Trails: “Ed Lane Peak” (UTM724024), “Keyhole Plateau” (UTM510186), “Mt. Steven Jay Gould” (UTM504160), “Twin Peaks” (UTM710997), “Mt. Marshall” (UTM511200), “Sky Pilot Peak” (UTM680608) and “Son of Split” (UTM733972, previously listed as UTM733971). I also fixed a bug where I was still reporting page references in Secor’s second edition where the peak would have been described if it were included (but isn’t) for 18 failing peaks.

20 April 2009: The most significant update since the site was first created in 2000. Reworked every page to use a more consistent CSS, templates, etc. Completely rearchitected and extended the Thirteeners pages, converting the content from static HTML to dynamic, database-driven content using PHP and JavaScript. Added climber registration and support for keeping track of climbing records, list progress, etc.

3 September 2008: Added a link to the Lists of John Thirteeners page, as well as a page analyzing his results.

2 September 2008: Moved “Twelve Flags Peak” up to Rank 65 (from Rank 68), since its Official Elevation places it above the next three peaks (oops). Added UTM661642 and UTM857461 to the list of failing peaks; even though their saddle depths are only 236' and 223' (respectively), that’s still close enough to be listed. Removed references to QuickBase databases, since I had to give up the account I was using.

29 August 2008: TopoZone.com got bought by Trails.com and is no longer supporting the full API. Removed links from Principal Map column and made a few notes.

1 January 2007: Moved UTM662058 (aka “SE Polemonium”) to the list of peaks passing my criteria. The best available data (a few altimeter measurements before and after the climb) somewhat less than conclusively show that this peak rises some 302' above the saddle connecting it with Polemonium Peak and North Palisade.

30 December 2006: Updated Acknowledgements section to include Scot’s contribution.

21 November 2005: Removed links to QuickBase version of SPS List, since I lost my free hosting space there.

2 October 2004: Renamed UTM476416 “Twelve Flags Peak” as this is what Chester Versteeg called it on its first ascent (c. 1942). I also made it a valid 13er, as I measured its saddle depth with my altimeter as 340 feet. Finally, I now know that it’s class 2. I also put the altimeter-based estimate of Mt. Muir back in (276 feet).

1 August 2004: The USGS posted revised DEMs employing a 10 meter by 10 meter horizontal resolution (9 times the data in the 30m x 30m DEMs I used for my original analysis). Unfortunately, they also changed the underlying SDTS data transfer format enough to make Eric Rosencrantz’s DropDEM-S utility unusable. Instead, I had to rewrite RidgeWalker to incorporate Frank Warmerdam’s ISO8211Lib access code. I then processed the new data with my new RidgeWalker software. I fixed a few bugs along the way (height of White Mountain Peak, location of “Mt. Tom Ross”, height of Mt. Solomons), and made a few other changes (now list UTM682547 as “Milestone Mesa”, now order the failing peaks by name in 3 sections: officially named peaks, unofficially named peaks, and unnamed peaks). One new 13’er appeared on the list: “Squaretop”, with a 92m (302') saddle, and a few peaks reaarranged themselves in the ranking. I also decided to add Rodgers Peak and UTM665468 to the failing list, since they turned up in my output as barely meeting my minimum criteria for investigation. For all the gory details of this most recent analysis, click here.

25 June 2004: Updated the links in the Principal Map and Input UTM columns to display large size 1:100,000 & 1:25,000 topographic maps from TopoZone.com.

1 May 2004: Updated links to the Climber.Org and Sierra Peaks Section peak list pages.

17 September 2003: Added reference to Aaron Maizlish’s High Prominence California Mountains map.

21 July 2003: Fixed several problems with Mt. Dubois and Montgomery Peak, most of which were due to me processing the data without a USGS quadrangle in hand. For one thing, it’s Mt. Dubois (not Mt. Duboise). For another, it’s Montgomery Peak (not Mt. Montgomery). More importantly, RidgeWalker found the north summit of Dubois, but (as Ken Krugler pointed out) the name is on the south summit and both have the same elevation on the map (13,559' or 4133m, though the DEM data apparently has 4127m for the north summit and 4125 for the south summit - maybe I should climb both?) Finally, the Desert Peaks Section of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club lists both peaks as class 2, so I added that data as well.

8 January 2003: Removed Exact? column, instead listing inexact Map Elevations by appending a plus sign (+). Changed “(>984)” Saddle Depths to “984+” for same reason. Sorted Non-Thirteeners by name. Added notes concerning these conventions to the column descriptions.

18 February 2002: Made a few minor revisions to the Climber.Org and Sierra Peaks Section peak list references.

17 December 2001: Cleaned up the column headers so that it’s clearer which span multiple columns, and made the non-13’er headers into links to the column descriptions as well. I also created an empty clone of my SPS Climbs QuickBase so that anyone could easily clone it and keep track of theirs.

7 September 2001: Andrew Dearborn noticed that I had the wrong elevation for Mt. Langley, so I changed it to 4275 meters (was 4274 meters).

22 August 2001: Added links to QuickBase databases where I keep track of my progress climbing these mountains (as well as the SPS list).

2 June 2001: Removed links to the Bitlocker database, as Bitlocker has gone on to dot.com heaven (bummer.)

24 March 2001: Added a few extra words to the column headings and dropped non-breaking spaces into all of the empty cells to force (at least) Netscape to complete the cell borders around them.

7 March 2001: Sorted this Revision History by reverse date. Also fixed up the Bitlocker database reference, as I finally got around to updating that with all of these changes.

2 March 2001: Added Ron Karpel’s Peak Picture Archive to the Other Sierra Peak Lists page.

17 February 2001: “Balcony Peak” is less than 100m south and less than 100m east of Disappointment Peak, which is taller. Thus, when RidgeWalker looked for the high point in the data within 100m north/south and 100m east/west of the input location for “Balcony Peak”, it found Disappointment Peak and used that location. I fixed this the same way that I handled the “Starlight Peak” - North Palisade proximity problem. I had to build a version of RidgeWalker that searched only 50m north/south and 50m east/west, and ran that version against the input location for Balcony Peak. This lowered the official and DEM elevations, moved the summit & saddle locations, and reduced the saddle depth of “Balcony Peak”. However, it wasn’t a 13’er to begin with, so this change didn’t affect the Official List.

14 February 2001: According to R. J. Secor, the “Courte-Echelle” (aka “Bat Pinnacle”) is not actually the high point of the ridge near UTM809631 (.75 miles NE of Mt. Keith), so I renamed the peak UTM809631 and colored its Secor 2nd ed page reference red. I also enclosed all of the unofficial peak names in quotation marks and changed Diamond Pk. to Diamond Peak.

13 February 2001: Fixed up Black Mountain (South) and Mt. Mary Austin, which had each other’s input UTM. I ran RidgeWalker again just to be sure, but all that changed (other than the summit locations) were the col depths.

26 January 2001: Added an Other Sierra Peak Lists page.

19 January 2001: Fixed the TopoZone links, since they changed the name of the ASP.

16 October 2000: Decided to use unofficial name “Polychrome Peak” for UTM808592, since (according to Gordon J. MacLeod) the 1972 edition of The Mountaineer’s Guide to the High Sierra includes a reference on p.303 to it: “Peak 13,040+ (0.6 E of Shepherd Pass) ... Chester Versteeg aptly applied the name Polychrome Peak to this mountain.”

28 July 2000: Fixed Bitlocker database reference (again).

27 July 2000: Moved Mt. Muir to the Non-Thirteeners section, as we measured its saddle depth as 276(+/-20) feet on 22 July 2000.

5 June 2000: The Principal Map and Input UTM columns are now clickable links that display 1:50,000 & 1:25,000 topographic maps from TopoZone.com. Ken Krugler showed me how to get this working.

1 June 2000: Ken Krugler noticed that UTM574131 is only class 2, not class 4 as I had reported it. Since I had mistakenly grabbed the classification of the previous unnamed peak listing from Secor (Peak 12,640ft+), I decided to go through all of the unnamed peaks on the list, verifying their classifications. I didn’t find any other errors of this kind, but changed my mind about three other peaks: I had listed UTM808592 as class 2, but since no official classification exists, and Roper says “the summit rocks require a bit of scrambling,” I decided to change it to class 3. I also downgraded UTM884436 and UTM883438 (both official non-13’ers) from class 4 to class 2. The traverse of Mt. Corcoran’s entire south ridge is class 4, and that’s probably the way I’d do the climb. Technically, though, I need to list the easiest route for each individual peak.

11 February 2000: Added two peaks to the list which were hiding near the Nevada border north of White Mountain Peak: Mt. Duboise and Montgomery Peak. I had mistakenly assumed that the high points on this ridge were all in Nevada. However, Joe Kelsey set me straight. Thus there are now 145 Thirteeners instead of 143 and 120 Four Thousanders instead of 118. This change also raised the criterion for the 100 Highest to 13,230 feet.