XC Passes: Where did they get their names? | High Sierra Topix  

XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

A place to explore the natural setting (geology, flora & fauna), people, constructed infrastructure and historical events that play and have played a part in shaping the Sierra Nevada as we know it today.
User avatar

XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby cgundersen » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:33 am

This query was prompted by a question I got from Quentin and I think the HST crew ought to be able to help: In many cases, it's obvious where XC passes got their names, because they are linked to the local geography (like, Upper Basin Crossing) or to a distinctive feature of the pass (eg., the Keyhole). And, I've heard possibly apocryphal stories that spots like Pants Pass was named for all the torn pants that folks get on that route. But, in many cases the names are odd, even whimsical. So, any ideas where we get names like: Nietzsche, Sluggo, Fairtrade and Potluck?
cg



User avatar
cgundersen
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 655
Joined: Sun Jul 16, 2006 1:07 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby oleander » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:51 am

Great question!

I get the distinct impression that the white explorers named the mountains and rivers well before most of the passes. Theodore Solomons is the person that named Evolution Valley and then gave many of the mountains around there names related to evolution - such as Mt. Darwin. But I don't think he named any of the passes in that area.

Roper, Secor, and Arnot are three very contemporary explorers each of whom claim to have named several passes. I guess the first person who publicly describes a pass in writing gets to name it? Another question is whether/how those names make it onto published maps.

No doubt Native Americans - and then the shepherds that later opened lands to grazing - had their own names for the passes they commonly used. I would be curious to find out the extent to which those original names were preserved. Obviously, most of the Native American names for passes (and for mountains, lakes, rivers) are not in common use anymore. I would really like to find a source that knows those original names.

Here in the Bay Area, I much prefer calling my favorite mountain Tushtak (the original native name) rather than Mount Diablo.

- Elizabeth
User avatar
oleander
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:15 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:14 am

Some Passes just get named and everyone else takes to naming it that. I have several passes I have took to naming because it's just hard to tell people about unnamed passes and I think they should have a name.

When I finally get around to posting unnamed passes I will probably use unofficial names and put it to a vote or something. I personally don't care if I get to name a pass and people start calling it that.

Some of them I wonder about are the ones that are on the map but don't seem to ever have had a trail. Maybe they were such well known sheep herder routes that they made it onto the map... :-k

I think Potluck Pass was named by Leconte but I don't remember the whole history.
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby Shawn » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:59 pm

I seem to recall there are a couple of passes noted in the book found here:
viewtopic.php?f=27&t=2708
User avatar
Shawn
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2005 9:56 pm
Location: Paso Robles, Ca
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby SSSdave » Wed Sep 26, 2012 10:20 am

In some cases USGS names evolved from popular use especially from communities visiting those passes, lakes, peaks, etc. Believe the climbing community has made the most impact.

I tend to name a lot of noname features on group trips and will sometimes use the same names on web communities hoping the names will stick. Don't recall if I have named any passes but have made names for many noname lakes and peaks. For instance I named this "Old Potato Lake" because the topo map shape is like a potato:

http://www.summitpost.org/old-potato-la ... 1/c-230225

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=35.21673,-119.84385&z=13&t=T

Maybe will start another thread where we name something that doesn't have a name but should.
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:09 pm

SSSdave wrote:I tend to name a lot of noname features on group trips and will sometimes use the same names on web communities hoping the names will stick. Don't recall if I have named any passes but have made names for many noname lakes and peaks. For instance I named this "Old Potato Lake" because the topo map shape is like a potato:

http://www.summitpost.org/old-potato-la ... 1/c-230225

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=35.21673,-119.84385&z=13&t=T

Maybe will start another thread where we name something that doesn't have a name but should.

My contribution along these lines is Mungoat Pass, leading from Grouse Lake to Kid Lakes (between Munger Peak and Goat Mountain), which I named back in 1990. I have seen it used by a few other people over the years.
User avatar
TehipiteTom
Founding Member
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:42 am
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby SSSdave » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:50 pm

[quote="TehipiteTom; My contribution along these lines is Mungoat Pass, leading from Grouse Lake to Kid Lakes (between Munger Peak and Goat Mountain), which I named back in 1990. I have seen it used by a few other people over the years.[/quote]

Exactly! On the web, once someone starts to refer to an unknown location by some made up name that is part of an information source, others that need to use the same resource are likely to repeat it as long as the name is reasonable. My named Spriral Spire:

Image
User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby quentinc » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:05 pm

The pass that originally prompted this discussion is Fairtrade Pass (WNW of Mather Pass). Most names are understandable -- they either honor some person, reference a nearby mountain/feature or describe the pass itself. But Fairtrade? No Third World peoples were taken advantage of in discovering this pass?
User avatar
quentinc
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:52 pm

Since I have many passes to add to the cross country section that are not named I will follow up on this thread for general opinion.

Any pass I add that I named I will add (unofficial) in it's name. As I said before I don't care if I am the one to name a pass and people start calling it that. I don't even care if it makes it's way into guides or on the map some day. It's not really important. I do however like naming passes in simplicity based on the area or a name that has some specific meaning. I would reject the idea of naming a pass after myself like so many places in the high Sierra are named after people regardless of their accomplishments.

So all that being said I am open to anyones opinion on any pass. If they think another name is better or already have a name for the pass posted. Hell it could even be put up to a poll or something.
User avatar
RoguePhotonic
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1664
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 9:52 am
Location: Bakersfield CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: XC Passes: Where did they get their names?

Postby dave54 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:10 pm

There is an established procedure to name currently unnamed features. It's on the Board of Geographical Names website -- really, that's a real government agency. :)

Basically, they won't grant names for living people, and the person must have some significant historical or cultural connection to the feature. They tend not to name new features in designated Wilderness. Local government and other entities are solicited for their acceptance of the proposed name, and if the word is a foreign sounding word it must not be similar to any slang, vulgar, obscene, or derogatory word in any language. They have a database of unacceptable words -- that would be quite a database to have for yourself -- every dirty word known! Some historical place names are still kept, though. There are still quite a few Squaw Peaks etc, around, even though the PC crowd has banned 'squaw' from any future use.


On a semi-related note -- right before I retired from the Forest Service I was among other duties a a GIS guy, and I was updating the Forest annotation layers. In an unwise moment (I was angry that day at something) I began adding my own names to various features -- unnamed lakes, knobs, creeks, meadows, etc. My wife was given a lake, my dog, daughter, friends, etc all got their own features on the annotation layers. I did not expect the names to 'stick around' and I expected the names would be edited out by my successor, but a few years ago I saw a third party map of the area, AND THOSE NAMES WERE ON THE MAP! :D

My own little piece of immortality.
=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~
Log off and get outdoors!
~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=
User avatar
dave54
Founding Member
 
Posts: 774
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 10:24 pm
Location: where the Sierras, Cascades, and Great Basin meet.
Experience: N/A


Return to Sierra Nevada History / Natural History & Setting



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media [Bot] and 1 guest