Notes on Mt. Powell (now Point Powell)

Note: In April, 2000 the officers of the Sierra Peaks Section decided to call the peak "Point Powell" since the peak on the list is clearly not the one named by the Board on Geographic Names. The SPS considers this peak the more interesting climb and thus will leave it on on the list. In the lists on this web page I have accordingly changed the name to Point Powell.

Previous commentary:

The Sierra Peaks Section (SPS) has had the location of Mt. Powell as being on the Mt. Thompson 7.5 minute map at the lower left corner with an abbreviated UTM of 557115. Through correspondence with Mark Adrian and by my own research I have found that this is not the true Mt. Powell which is actually the peak with spot elevation 13,364 ft. about 800 meters WSW on the Mt. Darwin map. The Board on Geographic Names (BGN) first named Mt.Powell in 1911 and later corrected its name and location in a decision in April-June 1983. Here is the text of that decision:

Powell, Mount: mountain, elevation 4073m (13,364 ft.), in
the Sierra Nevada between Mount Thompson and Mount Wallace
30 km (19 mi.) W of Big Pine; named in 1912 by R.B. Marshall
in memory of John Wesley Powell (1834-1902), an early
surveyor, map maker and former director of the U.S.
Geological Survey (1881-1894); Fresno and Inyo Cos.;
Calif.; sec. 30, T9S, R31E, Mount Diablo Mer.; 3708'19" N,
11837'59" W; 1911 decision revised. Not: Powell Mountain
(BGN 1911).

The Sierra Peaks Section has generally chosen the named mountain summit for its peak list, but in some instances has chosen a nearby higher peak as the climbing objective. An example of this is Mt. Emerson near the top of the Mt. Darwin map. In this case Mt. Emerson with spot elevation 13,118 ft. is clearly marked as the summit, but the slightly higher peak to the
east with a spot elevation of 13,204 ft. is selected as the summit with the SPS register. Having climbed both of these I can say that the class 3 eastern summit is technically more challenging than the easy walk-up 13,118 ft. summit so there is some justification for the choice.

In the case of Mt. Powell it is not clear from the map which peak is higher and I have not climbed either so I can't pass judgment on which peak is the more interesting climb. The named Mt. Powell has a spot elevation of 13,364 ft. and the SPS peak has a closed contour of 13,360 ft. which means the true elevation could be 13,360 ft. to 13,399 ft. since the contour interval is 40 ft.

In the Sierra Peaks List I have the used the traditional Mt. Powell (now Point Powell). You may wish to climb the official BGN summit so I have included coordinates for that here. In the GPS waypoint file you can either edit the existing entry or add a new Powell at the bottom. If you add another line at the bottom choose something other than POWELL for the six digit identifier or there will be a conflict. Here are the two Mt. Powell's UTM coordinates:

BGN: Mt. Powell, 13,364 ft.   354960E, 4111310N, Zone 11S (The official named peak)

SPS: Point Powell, 13,360+ ft.   355700E, 4111500N, Zone 11S (The traditional SPS peak)