No higher U.S. peaks east of Harney?January 13 2004 at 12:06 AM
|Tim Townsend |
Response to Harney Peak, South Dakota (7,242 Feet)
Roger's ND trip report notes there's a sign at Harney indicating it's the highest peak until you reach the Pyrenees. The Black Hills sure are a prominent range on a relief map. I recall being awed by similar claims about the Black Hills being the highest mountains east of the Rockies ever since our family did a Chevy Chase-style station wagon pilgrimage to Rushmore in the 1960's and me and my brothers tried squinting to see Chicago across the plains.
Roger notes the 'Harney is Highest' claim isn't really true, as Pico Duarte in the Dominican Republic is higher and farther east than Harney.
Even within the U.S., however, there appear to be five peaks in the Big Bend area of Texas that are several hundred feet higher and about 10 miles east of Harney.
The Texas peaks are probably considered part of the Rockies. I guess that really means Harney shouldn't be considered the highest point in the U.S. east of the Rockies, since the Rockies seem to curve farther east than the Black Hills.
Of course, this opens up a can of worms about what really is the highest U.S. point east of the Rockies (or any other similar arbitrary reference). "East" of the Rockies, the easternmost U.S. point taller than Mt. Mitchell would seem to be on the spine of the Rockies themselves.
One is conveniently named Townsend Point (7,580'). I won't claim any family connection. This peak is likely named for "The Father of Big Bend" E.E. Townsend, buried near there in Dan Rather's favorite little town of Alpine, TX.
Crown Peak (7,010') is lower than Townsend Point but farther east and yet it is still higher than Mt. Mitchell, so maybe its east flank has the strongest claim to being the highest U.S. point east of the Rockies.