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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. ]


TABLE MOUNTAIN (13,646)[Mount Whitney]
Clarence King in his notes on the ascent of Mount Tyndall, quoted in Whitney Survey: Geology, 1865, p. 386, says, “At one place the ridge [between Mount Brewer and Kaweah Peak] forms a level table.” The name “Table” appears on Hoffmann’s map of 1873.

“The best instance of the Summit Upland on the west side of the basin is that afforded by Table Mountain. This is clearly the remnant of a plateau which has been, and is being, reduced in area by the encroachment upon it of the steep cliffs which encircle the mountain.” (Lawson: The Geomorphogeny of the Upper Kern Basin, 1904, p. 309.)

First ascent by Paul Shoup, Fred Shoup, Gilbert Hassell, August 25, 1908— (S.C.B., 1909, VII:1, p. 72; and Paul Shoup.)

“Here we found a summit different from any high mountain any of us had ever known in that it was comparatively flat, sloping, as I remember, gently to the south, with a very considerable body of snow and ice a little north of the center. Roughly we estimated the area as from seventy to eighty acres in extent. Such loose rock as there was on top was in thin slab-like form, due, of course, to the erosion of wind and water. We found no evidence of anyone else having visited the mountain.” (Letter from Paul Shoup, vice-president, Southern Pacific Company, March 29, 1925.)

TABOOSE PASS[Mount Whitney]
Piute name of a small edible ground-nut found in Owens Valley. The pass was probably named from a pioneer stage station located where the highway crosses what is now called Division Creek. (W. A. Chalfant.)

TAFT POINT[Yosemite]
Named by R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S., for William Howard Taft, twenty-seventh president of the United States. (R. B. Marshall.)

Named for the prevalent tree of the upper timber belt of the Sierra, Tamarack Pine, Pinus murrayana; called by Jepson, Tamrac Pine.

Collected by John Jeffrey, of the Oregon Botanical Association, of Edinburgh, in the Siskiyou mountains in 1852 and again near Walker’s Pass in the Sierra Nevada in 1853; named for Andrew Murray, of Edinburgh. Also called Murray Pine, Pitch Pine, Red Pine. “In the Rocky Mountains it is universally known as Lodgepole Pine, a name far preferable to the unfortunate folk-name, ‘Tamrac,’ accepted in California, since the latter suffers confusion with the true Tamarack or eastern Larch.” (Jepson: Silva of California, 1910, pp. 81-82.)

“We came to what I finally called ‘Tamarack Flat,’ although the appealing looks of the grizzlies we met on their way through this pass to the Tuolumne caused me to hesitate before deciding upon the final baptism; the grizzlies did not stay to urge any claim, and being affectionately drawn to the trees, we named the camp ‘Tamarack Flat’.” (Bunnell: Discovery of the Yosemite, 1880, p. 316.)

Tehipite is an Indian word, and by these people was applied to the massive granite tower. Its interpretation is ‘high rock.’ The accent is on the antepenultimate. The Te is sounded short and blended with hip, which is a combination of short i and short e; the third syllable, i, is short and guttural, and the last, e, is spoken very rapidly and abruptly and pronounced ‘teh’.” (L. A. Winchell: Manuscript, 1896.)

The valley was discovered by Frank Dusy in 1869. After several visits in the next few years, he succeeded, 1879, in breaking a trail and getting animals down. On this occasion he took the first photograph ever made of the dome. (L. A. Winchell.) Other accounts say that Dusy found evidence of former visitors. (Elliott: Guide to the Grand and Sublime Scenery of the Sierra Nevada, 1883, pp. 15-16.)

For early visits and descriptions, see: John Muir, in Century, November, 1891, pp. 95-97; T. S. Solomons, in Overland, August, 1897, pp. 130-141; J. M. Stillman, in S.C.B., 1897, II:1, pp. 44-49; notes in S.C.B., 1897, II:2, pp. 106-110; Elesa M. Gremke, in Sunset, March, 1901, pp. 135-141; Ernestine Winchell, in Out West, April, 1911, pp. 297-304.

Benjamin Stuart Templeton, a sheepman. (G. W. Stewart.)

“Looking back to the lovely little lake, where we had been encamped during the night [about June 5, 1851], and watching Ten-ei-ya as he ascended to our group, I suggested to the Captain [Bowling] that we name the lake after the old chief, and call it ‘Lake Ten-ei-ya’. . . . Gentlemen, [he said,] I think the name an appropriate one, and shall use it in my report of the expedition. Beside this, it is rendering a kind of justice to perpetuate the name of the old chief.’ . . . The Indian name for this lake, branch and cañon, ‘Py-we-ack,’ is, although a most appropriate one, now displaced by that of the old chief Ten-ei-ya. Of the signification of the name Ten-ei-ya, I am uncertain; but as pronounced by himself, I have no doubt of its being pure Indian.” (Bunnell: Discovery of the Yosemite, 1880, pp. 236-238. See, also, pp. 203-204.)

TEN LAKES[Yosemite]
“A glacier basin with ten glassy lakes set all near together like eggs in a nest.” (Muir, letter of October 8, 1872, in Badè: Life and Letters of John Muir, 1923, I, p. 344.)

“In Lake Hollow, on the north side of the Hoffmann spur, immediately above the great Tuolumne cañon, there are ten lovely lakelets lying near together in one general hollow like eggs in a nest.” (Muir: The Mountain Lakes of California, in Scribners Monthly, January, 1879, p. 412; also, Muir: The Mountains of California,; 1894, p. 100.)

A large block of granite, seen from a distance, resembles a white tent.

THARPS ROCK (10,654)[Tehipite]
Hale D. Tharp, a native of Michigan, settled in Three Rivers region in 1856; visited Giant Forest, 1858; used Giant Forest region as cattle range from 1861 to 1890; the first white man to explore this region; used a hollow sequoia log as a summer camp (hence Log Meadow), and entertained John Muir there in 1875; born 1828, died 1912. (Walter Fry, in Sequoia National Park History Bulletin no. 1, November 22, 1924; Muir: Our National Parks, 1904, pp. 304-305.) (See Alta Peak.)

THOMPSON, MOUNT (13,494)[Mount Goddard]
Professor Almon Harris Thompson (1839-1906); associated with J. W. Powell in exploration of Colorado River, 1870-1878, and member of expedition through Grand Cañon in 1872; geographer, U.S.G.S., 1882-1906. Mountain named by R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S. (R. B. Marshall.)

First ascent, 1909, by Clarence H. Rhudy and H. F. Katzenbach. (S.C.B., 1919, X:4, p. 440.)

“The Indian name for the three rocky peaks near which this capture was made was not then known to any of our battalion, but from the strange coincidence of three brothers being made prisoners so near them, we designated the peaks as the ‘Three Brothers.’ I soon learned that they were called by the Indians ‘Kom-po-pai-zes,’ from a fancied resemblance of the peaks to the heads of frogs when sitting up ready to leap. A fanciful interpretation has been given the Indian name as meaning ‘mountains playing leap-frog,’ but a literal translation is not desirable.” (Bunnell: Discovery of the Yosemite, 1911, p. 152.)

“Three points which the Indians know as ‘Eleacha,’ named after a plant much used for food, but which some lackadaisical person has given the commonplace name of ‘The Three Brothers’!” (Hutchings: Scenes of Wonder and Curiosity in California, 1860, p. 94. See, also, Hutchings: In the Heart of the Sierras, 1886, pp. 67, 395.)

Wawhawke. The Three Brothers; said to mean ‘falling rocks.’ The usual name given as that of the Three Brothers is ‘Pompomposus,’ equivalent to ‘Kompopaise’ given by our interpreter as the name of the small rock a little to the west of the Three Brothers. It was said to mean ‘Leaping Frog Rock.’ . . . The common idea is that the Indians imagined the mountains to be playing ‘Leap Frog.’ It would remain, in that case, to show that the Indians practice that, to us, familiar game; we have never caught them at it.” (Whitney Survey: The Yosemite Book, 1868, pp. 16-17.)

“Kom-pom-pe'sa, a low rock next west of Three Brothers. This is erroneously spelled ‘Pompompasus,’ applied to Three Brothers, and interpreted ‘Mountains playing leap-frog.’ The Indians know neither the word nor the game.” (Powers: Tribes of California, in Contributions to North American Ethnology, III, 1877, p. 363.)

[Web editor’s note: the correct translation is “a couple copulating”—dea. ]

THUMB, THE (13,885)[Bishop]
Named by Windsor B. Putnam, who made first ascent, December 12, 1921. (S.C.B., 1922, XI:3, pp. 270-274.)

THUNDER MOUNTAIN (13,578)[Mount Whitney]
Named and climbed by George R. Davis, U.S.G.S., August, 1905, when he established U.S.G.S. bench-mark on the summit. (Letter from Davis to W. L Huber, September 14, 1916.)

TILDEN LAKE[Dardanelles]
Origin of name not ascertained; it appears on McClure map, 1895. Shown on Hoffmann map, 1873, as Lake Nina, a name probably given by Charles F. Hoffmann and Alfred Craven at time of their ascent of Tower Peak, 1870, for Nina Florence Browne, sister-in-law of Hoffmann, who married Craven in 1871.

The name Tioga is undoubtedly derived from Tioga County, New York. It is an Iroquois Indian name, meaning “where it forks,” applied to a former village on the Susquehanna near its junction with the Chemung, in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. (Hodge: Handbook of American Indians, part 2, p. 755.)

The mines of the Tioga District were discovered about 1878, although some claims existed earlier. In 1881 the Great Sierra Consolidated Silver Mining Company was incorporated by eastern capitalists. A post-office and town, called Bennettville for the president of the company, were established. Supplies were hauled from Lundy. Operations were suspended in July, 1884, because of financial failure. (Eighth Annual Report of the State Mineralogist, 1888, pp. 371-373.)

The road was built by the Great Sierra Consolidated Silver Mining Company in 1882 and 1883 at a cost of about $61,000; properly called “The Great Sierra Wagon Road”; abandoned soon after completion on account of closing down of mines. (Report of the Commission on Roads in Yosemite National Park, California, dated December 4, 1899, Senate Document 155, 56th Congress, 1st Session, 1900.) The road was purchased from successors of mining company by private subscription in 1915 and donated to Federal Government.

“There is also another gap on the north side of Mount Dana, which is called MacLane’s Pass; it is about 600 feet lower than the Mono Pass, and has been examined, in behalf of the county, by a committee appointed to search out a better route than the present one across the mountains, in this vicinity; what conclusion was arrived at we have not ascertained.” (Whitney Survey: Geology, 1865, p. 434.)

Tioga Lake was formerly known as Lake Jessie Montrose. (Lieutenant H. C. Benson’s map, 1896.)

Upper valley of the Marble Fork of Kaweah River, named by Superintendent John R. White and Colonel George W. Stewart. To-ko'pah is a Wuksachi Indian word meaning “high.” (G. W. Stewart.)

TOM, MOUNT (13,649)[Mount Goddard]
Said to have been named for Thomas Clark, a resident of the pioneer town of Owensville, credited with having made the first ascent in the ’60s. (W. A. Chalfant.

TOWER PEAK (11,704)[Dardanelles]
“The grand mass of Tower Peak is a prominent and most remarkably picturesque object. This is one of the three points in the Sierra to which the name of ‘Castle Peak’ has been given, and is the first and original one of that name, having been called so by Mr. G. H. Goddard fifteen years ago, at which time he ascended nearly to its summit. By some unaccountable mistake the name was transferred to a rounded, and not at all castellated, mass about eighteen miles a little south of east from the original ‘Castle Peak,’ where it has become firmly fixed. Hence we have been obliged to give a new name to Mr. Goddard’s peak, which we now call ‘Tower Peak.’ This grand summit is 11,800 feet high, and it can be ascended without difficulty from the Sonora road across the Sierra, although it appears perfectly inaccessible from the south.” (Whitney: Yosemite Guide Book, new edition, 1874, 131-132.—See, also, Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, meeting of August 15, 1870, IV:3, pp. 134-135.)

“Messrs. King and Gardner made several attempts to climb Castle Peak [Tower Peak]; but did not succeed in getting to the top, although Mr. Goddard thinks it can easily be reached from the north.” (Whitney Survey: The Yosemite Book, 1868, p. 85.)

“During the summer of 1870, however, this peak was reached and ascended from the north without any difficulty.” (Whitney: Yosemite Guide Book, pocket edition, 1871, p. 86—See, also, S.C.B., 1899, II:5, p. 282.)

The members of the Whitney Survey party who made the first ascent were Charles F. Hoffmann, Alfred Craven, W. A. Goodyear. (Information from Alfred Craven, Pleasantville, N. Y., February, 1926.)

TULAINYO LAKE[Mount Whitney]
Situated on the crest of the Sierra at elevation of 12,865 feet, with no apparent outlet; the county line runs through it, so it is partly in Tulare and partly in Inyo; the name, a combination of the two county names, was devised by R. B. Marshall, U.S.G.S. (S.C.B., 1917, X:2, p. 231; R. B. Marshall.)

The name Tulares appears on Pedro Font’s maps of 17,7. (See reproduction in Coues: On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer, 1900, vol. I.). “A tular was any marshy place in which grew tule, the common bulrush of California.” (Same, p. 251.)

“It is recorded that some time during 1773 Commandante Fages, while out in search of deserters, crossed the sierra [Coast Range] eastward and saw an immense plain covered with tulares and a great lake. . . . This may be regarded as the discovery of Tulare Valley.” (Bancroft: History of California, I, 1884, p. 197.)

Francisco GarcÚs was the first to explore the region of the tulares, 1776. (Coues: On the Trail of a Spanish Pioneer, 1900, I, pp. 251-252, 265-312.)

County created in 1852 from southern portion of Mariposa County; reduced by formation of Fresno County, 1856; contributed territory to Inyo County, 1866, and Kern County, 1866, 1868; boundaries adjusted, 1872, 1874, 1876; western portion organized as Kings County, 1893. (Coy: California County Boundaries, 1923, pp. 282-287.)

TUNEMAH PASS, PEAK (11,873)[Tehipite]
“This trail acquired its name of Tunemah in a peculiar manner. The sheep-herders in that part of the country employed Chinese cooks. Owing to the roughness of the path they gave vent to their disgust by numerous Chinese imprecations. Gradually the most prominent settled itself onto the trail and it became known as ‘Tunemah’.” (Elesa M. Gremke: To Tehipite Through Silver Canyon, in Sunset Magazine, March, 1901, vol. VI, no. 5, p. 139.)

The pass and peak were named from the trail.

“The name is, as the ingenuous reader is presumed not to know, a Chinese ‘cuss-word’ of very vivacious connotation.” (T. S. Solomons: Unexplored Regions of the High Sierras, in Overland, November, 1896, p. 517.)

TUNNABORA PEAK (13,593)[Mount Whitney]
Origin of name uncertain. First ascent by George R. Davis, U.S.G.S., August, 1905. (S.C.B., 1917, X:2, p. 230

“There was a tribe called Tawalimni, Towolumne, or Tuolumne, possibly Miwok but more probably Yokuts, in the plains of the San Joaquin Valley mi the vicinity of the lower Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers up as far as about Knights Ferry. The word Tawalimni, which perhaps was really Tawalamni or Tawalumni, would easily give rise, in either English or Spanish, to Tuolumne. The signification is unknown, but its ending, -imni, -amni, or -umni, occurs in many names of Yokuts, tribes and Miwok and Maidu villages drainage. Usually in the valley portion of the San Joaquin-Sacramento the stems of such words cannot be assigned a meaning even by Indians. The interpretation ‘stone house or cave’ is very unlikely, since the California Indians never built in stone, and the term would therefore be applicable only to dwellers in caves or rock shelters, which demand a mountain habitat; whereas both the location of the Tawalimni and the distribution of nearly all Indian place names ending in -imni seem to be confined to the plains.” (Kroeber: California Place Names of Indian Origin, 1916, p. 64.)

“Below this is another grassy field, and then the river enters a cañon, which is about twenty miles long, and probably inaccessible through its entire length; at least we have never heard of its being explored, and it certainly cannot be entered from its head. Mr. King followed the cañon down as far as he could, to where the river precipitated itself down a grand fall, over a mass of rock so rounded on the edge, that it was impossible to approach near enough to look over into the chasm below, the walls on each side being too steep to be climbed. . . . Although we have not succeeded in getting into this cañon, it does not follow that it cannot be done. Adventurous climbers, desirous of signalizing themselves by new discoveries, should try to penetrate into this unknown gorge, which may perhaps admit of being entered through some of the side cañons coming in from the north, and which must exhibit stupendous scenery. (Whitney: The Yosemite Book, 1868, p. 89.—Whitney: Yosemite Guide Book, 1870, pp. 99-100.)

“Sometime in August, in the year 1869, in following the river three or four miles below the Soda Springs, I obtained a partial view of the Great Tuolumne Cañon before I heard of its existence. The following winter I read what the State Geologist wrote concerning it. . . . Since that time I have entered the Great Cañon from the north by three different side-cañons, and have passed through it from end to end. . . . without encountering any extraordinary difficulties. . . . At the head it is easily accessible on both sides.” (Muir: The Great Tuolumne Cañon, in Overland, August, 1873, p. 140.—Reprinted in part in S.C.B., 1924, XII:1, but omitting this passage.)

The Whitney Survey explored the cañon in 1873, finding it not so inaccessible as at first supposed. “It is to be regretted that it is not possible to pass through the cañon with animals. . . . This will undoubtedly be done in time, but considerable expenditure would be required to make a passable trail.” (Whitney: Yosemite Guide Book, 1874, p. 154.)

A trail, passable for horses, has now been built from Tuolumne Meadows to Pate Valley, connecting with a trail entering the cañon from the south. For other explorations of Tuolumne Cañon, see: R. M. Price, in S.C.B., 1893, I:1, pp. 9-16; R. M. Price, in S.C.B., 1895, I:6, pp. 199-208; Jennie E. Price, in S.C.B., 1898, II:3, pp. 174-184, with a note by John Muir; S. L. Foster, in S.C.B., 1906, VI:1, pp. 56-58; John Muir, in S.C.B., 1910, VII:4, pp. 216-218; T. S. Solomons, in Appalachia, November, 1896, VIII:2, pp. 164-179. Tuolumne County, organized, 1850; valley portion organized as Stanislaus County, 1854, 1855; small portion contributed to Alpine County, 1864. (Coy: California County Boundaries, 1923, pp. 288-290.)

TUTTLE CREEK[Mount Whitney]
Lyman Tuttle, one of the organizers of Inyo, County; county surveyor, 1866-1872. (W. A. Chalfant.)

TYNDALL, MOUNT (14,025)[Mount Whitney]
First ascended by Clarence King and Richard Cotter, July, 1864: “We had now an easy slope to the summit, and hurried up over rocks and ice, reaching the crest at exactly twelve o’clock. I rang my hammer upon the topmost rock; we grasped hands, and I reverently named the grand peak Mount Tyndall.

“When we reached the southwest front of the mountain we found that its general form was that of an immense horseshoe, the great eastern ridge forming one side, and the spur which descended to our camp the other, we having climbed up the outer part of the toe.” (Clarence King: Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada, 1872, pp. 75, 81.)

John Tyndall (1820-1893); professor of natural philosophy, Royal Institution, London, from 1853; author of many publications on physical science; developed theory of fracture and regelation of glaciers; explored the Alps for many years; first ascent of the Weisshorn, 1861; author of Glaciers of the Alps, 1860, Hours of Exercise in the Alps, 1871.

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