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Place Names of the High Sierra (1926)
by Francis P. Farquhar

[ A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, & Z. ]


DANA, MOUNT (13,050)[Mount Lyell]
Named in 1863 by the Whitney Survey for James Dwight Dana (1813-1895), a leader among those who initiated the modem science of geology in America; professor of geology, Yale, 1850-1894. (Whitney: Yosemite Guide Book, 1870, p. 100.)

In 1889 J. N. Le Conte copied from a record that he found on the summit the following: “State Geological Survey, June 28, 1863. J. D. Whitney, W. H. Brewer, Charles F. Hoffmann, ascended this mountain June 28th and again the 29th. We give the name of Mount Dana to it in honor of J. D. Dana, the most eminent American geologist. Approximate height 13,126 ft.” (S.C.B., 1922, XI:3, p. 247.)

Although this is the first recorded ascent, it is possible that it had been climbed previously, as Whitney spoke of it as an easy trip for tourists. (Whitney Survey: Geology, 1865, p. 435.)

John Muir climbed Mount Dana in 1869. (Muir: My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911, p. 320.)

DARWIN, MOUNT (13,841)[Mount Goddard]
Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) author of “Origin of Species . . . . . Descent of Man,” and other works developing the theory of evolution.

Named in 1895 by Theodore S. Solomons as the highest summit of the “Evolution Group.” Solomons and E. C. Bonner attempted the ascent, but did not reach the summit. (Appalachia, 1896, VIII:1, p. 50.)

First recorded ascent by E. C. Andrews, Geological Survey of New South Wales, and Willard D. Johnson, U.S.G.S., August 12, 1908, Andrews alone reaching the highest point. (S.C.B., 1922, XI:3, p. 288; S.C.B., 1924, XII:1, pp. 88-90.) This may be the mountain climbed by John Muir in 1879 under the impression that he was on the peak designated Mount Humphreys on Hoffmann’s map. (S.C.B., 1922, XI:3, p. 250; Badè: Life and Letters of John Muir, 1923, I, p. 388.) Recent ascents are described in S.C.B., 1922, XI:3, pp. 286-289, and S.C.B., 1926, XII:3, p. 306.

DAVIS LAKE[Mount Goddard]
Lake west of Wanda Lake, altitude 11,090, feet, named in 1925 for George Robert Davis, U.S.G.S. Born at Riverside, California, 1877; joined U.S.G.S. at age of 20; topographic engineer in charge of Pacific Division from 1912 until his death, in 1922. “Included in his work of topographic surveying was the mapping of the Mount Whitney, Mount Goddard, Bakersfield, and McKittrick quadrangles, in California, as well as mapping in the Yosemite National Park and Kings River Cañon, California, in Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, in the Territory of Hawaii, and many other areas. Mr. Davis has thus indelibly imprinted his lifework on some thirty government maps portraying the highest type of topographic mapping.” (S.C.B., 1925, XII:2, p. 180, portrait.)

DAVIS MOUNTAIN (12,308)[Mount Lyell]
Named in 1894 for Lieutenant Milton Fennimore Davis, 4th Cavalry, U.S.A., by Lieutenant N. F. McClure. Davis was with Captain A. E. Wood in 1891 with the first troops detailed to guard the newly created Yosemite National Park, and returned in 1892 and 1893; stationed in Sequoia National Park, 1896, and prepared map of that park and adjacent country. In his report for 1892 Captain Wood says: “In the performance of this duty (reconnoitering) I found the services of Second Lieutenant M. F. Davis, 4th Cavalry, almost invaluable. He discovered an eye for topography of the country and displayed a talent in woodcraft that were of a high order.”

Born in Minnesota, 1864; appointed to U. S. Military Academy from Oregon, 1886; graduated second lieutenant, 1890; first lieutenant, 1897; captain, 1901; major, 1909; retired as lieutenant-colonel, 1918; colonel, retired, 1921; brigadier-general, U. S. Reserve, 1922; now head of New York Military Academy, Comwall-on-Hudson.

First ascent by Lieutenant Davis, August 28, 1891. (S.C.B., 1926, XII:3, P. 305.)

DAYS NEEDLE[Mount Whitney]
One of the pinnacles just south of Mount Whitney. Named for William Cathcart Day (1857-1905), of Johns Hopkins University, one of the Langley party of 1881 engaged in solar observations on Mount Whitney. (Langley: Solar Heat, 1884, p. 36.) Day was later professor of chemistry at Swarthmore College.

Cañon of the west branch of Roaring River. The name has been incorrectly given on some maps to the east branch. (S.C.B., 1920, XI:2, p. 119.)

There is a sheep-herder’s grave clearly marked at the lower end of the cañon, concerning which there are several legends.

“Deadman Pass and Deadman Creek were named from the fact that the body Of a man, with his head cut off, was found near what is now known as the old Thompson ranch, and the body was buried at that place. I was not able to learn the man’s name, but he was an easterner on his way to the then flourishing mining town of Aurora, presumably for the purpose of purchasing mining Property. The murder took place about 1868. From this occurrence the creek was given the name of Deadman Creek, and later on, when the road was built through this region, the summit to the north was called Deadman Summit.” (Letter from T. J. Jones, Forest Supervisor, Inyo National Forest, to District Forester, May 4, .1923.)

DEERHORN MOUNTAIN (13,440, 13,275)[Mount Whitney]
Named in 1895 by J. N. Le Conte because of the resemblance of its double summit to two horns. (J. N. Le Conte.)

Pat Delaney was the sheepman with whom John Muir made his first trip to the Sierra, visiting Tuolumne Meadows in 1869. (Muir: My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911, pp. 4, 288.)

“Mr. Delaney was an Irishman who was educated at Maynooth College for a Catholic priest. . . . He was lean and tall, and I naturally nicknamed him Don Quixote.” (Badè: Life and Letters of John Muir, 1923, I, p. 195.)

Named by J. N. Le Conte in 1898. (J. N. Le Conte.)

Named by George R. Davis, U.S.G.S., about 1907. (G. R. Davis.)

DEVILS CRAGS (12,612)[Mount Goddard]
Named by J. N. Le Conte in 1906. (J. N. Le Conte.) First ascent by Charles W. Michael, July 21, 1913. (S.C.B., 1914, IX:3, p. 188.)

“Some miles farther down stream near the place of crossing of the Mammoth Trail, there is a splendid specimen of columnar basalt, which was photographed many years ago by Mr. J. M. Hutchings while crossing the mountains. In every scenic freak the sheep-herder recognizes the handiwork of his, Satanic majesty. This formation is therefore known to local fame as the Devil’s Woodpile.” (Theodore S. Solomons in S.C.B., 1894, I:3, p. 74.)

Established as a national monument by President Taft on July 6, 1911. Officially, “Devil Postpile National Monument.” (S.C.B., 1912, VIII:3, pp. 170-173, 226-227.)

“They are usually called ‘devil’s slides,’ though they lie far above the region usually haunted by the devil; for though we read that he once climbed an exceedingly high mountain, he cannot be much of a mountaineer, for his tracks are seldom seen above the timber-line.” (Muir: My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911, p. 202.)

DIAZ CREEK[Mount Whitney]
Named for the brothers Rafael and Eluteria Diaz, well-known cattlemen of Owens Valley of the ’60s, who owned a ranch on this creek. (Chester Versteeg.)

Dinkey was a little dog owned by a quartet of hunters who had a fight with a grizzly bear at this creek in August, 1863. The dog was injured and the men called the place Dinkey. The men were Joe Medley, Marion Medley, Joe Folsom, and Al Yarborough (the correct spelling of the name given to the settlement of Auberry). Frank Dusy later built a cabin at Dinkey. (L. A. Winchell.—See, also, Elliott: History of Fresno County, 1882, p. 246.)

John Muir mentions the Dinkey Grove of sequoias on “Dinkey Creek, one of the northmost tributaries of Kings River,” in Harper’s Magazine, November, 1878. Continuing, Muir says that this grove was discovered “several years ago by a couple of hunters who were in pursuit of a wounded bear; but because of its remoteness and inaccessibility it is known only to a few mountaineers.”

Named by Theodore S. Solomons in 1895, when he and E. C. Bonner came down the cañon of this creek from Mount Goddard on their way to Simpson Meadow. (T. S. Solomons.)

DOG LAKE[Mount Lyell]
In 1898, while surveying the region for the Mount Lyell quadrangle, R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S., found an abandoned sheep-dog with a litter of puppies on the shore of this lake and named it Dog Lake. (R. B. Marshall.)

The pass was named in 1895 by Lieutenant N. F. McClure for a sergeant in his detachment. (N. F. McClure.)

Named by Israel C. Russell, U.S.G.S., about 1882, for Louis Auguste Gustave Doré (1832-1883), the celebrated French artist.

“The bottom of Lundy Cañon, above the point where Lake Cañon joins it, is irregular and is formed of alternate scarps and terraces all the way to the head of the gorge, where a scarp of grander proportions than those below crosses the trough and forms a wall of rock more than a thousand feet high. This rocky wall, together with the cliffs forming the eastern side of the gorge as far as Lake Cañon, has been named, in honor of the great French artist, the Doré Cliffs.” (Russell: Quarternary History of Mono Valley. In Eighth Annual Report of the U.S.G.S., for 1886-1887, pp. 332-333.)

DOROTHY LAKE[Dardanelles]
Dorothy Forsyth, daughter of Major William W. Forsyth, 6th Cavalry, U.S.A., acting superintendent of Yosemite National Park, 1909-1912. (R. B. Marshall.)

Joseph Haddox Dorst, captain, 4th Cavalry, U. S. A., the first acting superintendent of Sequoia and General Grant national parks, 1891-1892; born in Kentucky, 1852; graduated U. S. Military Academy, second lieutenant, 1873; first lieutenant, 1879; captain, 1885; major, 1898; lieutenant-colonel, 1901 colonel, 1903; retired, 1911; died, 1916.

Bill and Bob Dougherty, pioneer sheepmen.

DRAGON PEAK (12,955), LAKE[Mount Whitney]
Named because of outline of mountain as seen from Rae Lake. Lake named for the peak. Climbed by Fred Parker and J. E. Rother, 1920. (Probably first ascent.)

DUMBBELL LAKE[Mount Goddard]
“This, from its shape, we called Dumb-bell Lake.” (J. N. Le Conte, in S.C.B. 1904, V:1, p. 7.)

DUNDERBERG PEAK (12,374)[Bridgeport]
“Locally called Castle Peak, but which we named [1878] Dunderberg, after the mines of that name upon its northerly slope.” (Wheeler Survey: Report of Lieutenant M. M. Macomb, in Annual Report of the Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army, for 1879, Appendix F of Appendix OO, p. 2233, p. 255 of separate reprint.) (See, also, remarks under Tower Peak and Mount Warren.)

Frank Dusy (1836-1898); born in Canada; educated in Maine; came to California, 1858; engaged in mining in Tuolumne and Stanislaus counties; came to Fresno County, 1864; engaged in sheep-raising and ranching; took his stock to the mountains in region of North and Middle forks of Kings River; discovered Tehipite Valley, 1869; explored Middle Fork as far as the Palisades, with P. F. Peck, 1877. (Elliott: History of Fresno County, 1882, p. 213; and L. A. Winchell.) Portrait in S.C.B., 1923, XI:4, plate CXII.

Dusy was the only stockman of his time who seemed to take an interest in the mountain region for other reasons than stock feed. He was a man of superior intelligence, high character, and wide experience. He took the first photographs of Tehipite, 1879, carrying a bulky portrait camera, with studio tripod, wet plates, and chemicals. L. A. Winchell, in 1879, gave Dusy’s name to the branch of the Middle Fork of Kings River north of the Palisades. (L. A. Winchell.)

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Online Library: Title Author California Geology History Indians Muir Mountaineering Nature Management