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Elizabethtown & Ausable Peaks - Question

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  • Elizabethtown & Ausable Peaks - Question

    The Elizabethtown peaks (E-town #1 through #5) are all great mountains with stellar views. I understand these peaks were so named by Colvin as part of surveying activities back in the day. I’ve also come across the Ausable peaks (Ausable #1 through #4 by my count) with a similar story. However, I can’t seem to locate Ausable #5.

    Does anyone know whether Ausable #5 exists? Or are there only four Ausable peaks relative to the five Elizabethtown peaks?

    Elizabethtown #1 - also known as Knob Lock Mountain; no trail but outstanding view
    Elizabethtown #2 - also known as Iron Mountain; no trail, outstanding view
    Elizabethtown #3 - also known as Bald Mountain, part of the RPR massif with a trail going up and over the summit
    Elizabethtown #4 - small peak on the shoulder of Spotted Mountain. No trail; cool view.
    Elizabethtown #5 - also known as Bear Mountain in the West Mill Brook area. No trail; cool view.

    Ausable #1 - Bluff Mountain, just north of Death Mountain
    Ausable #2 - Death Mountain, just north of Slip Mountain
    Ausable #3 - Slip Mountain (recently renamed to McDonough Mountain)
    Ausable #4 - no official name that I’m aware of. I guess the western sub-peak, which is on the 770 list, could count as Ausable #5 if there isn’t already one.

    Taking a look at map, it’s pretty clear that the numbering of the peaks correlates to their north/south location. Peak #1 is the northern-most peak and the peaks are farther south as you count up from #1. I’ve scoured various maps in the area where Ausable #5 would likely be located, but have come up empty.
    From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

  • #2
    Just wondering....why do you think Ausable #5 might exist?

    For it appears not. If anyone knows it'll be Gregory Karl.


    • nickUSA
      nickUSA commented
      Editing a comment
      A great question. I mean, if there are five E-town peaks then it's not unreasonable to look for five Ausable peaks. Of course there is no reason a priori that there should be five of each.

  • #3
    First of all, these are points with horizontal positions (lat/lon) established by the US Coast and Geodetic Survey in the early 1940s - not by Verplanck Colvin. These stations were established in preparation for the series of 15-minute topographic maps produced by the US Geological Survey in the 1950s. Some of these stations have actual brass disks with "US Coast and Geodetic Survey" and a date, usually 1942, on them. Other numbered stations may only have a drill hole where a flag had been placed, so an empty drill hole does not necessarily mean that a benchmark had been stolen. (Usually a stolen one has been removed by a chisel, leaving the part that is in the hole.)

    If you look at a USGS sheet, you will see other places where there is the triangle with a dot symbol, indicating that a horizontal position has been established for that point as well. On some summits with a triangle symbol, there will also be two reference marks set about 90 degrees apart, and a few yards away from the "main station". The summits of both Hurricane and Cascade still have the complete set. On Marcy, only "RM No. 2" still exists - both the main station and RM No.1 along with the earlier Colvin bolt having been stolen.

    I don't believe there is an "Ausable No. 5", but all four still have good views.

    On the Mt. Marcy and Keene Valley sheets (actually just off on the Elizabethtown sheet) Hopkins has Mt. Marcy No 4. That apparently was just a drill hole, although there is a Colvin bolt still there. Street is labeled "Flag 2" (again likely just a drill hole long since covered over), but there are many summits besides Marcy and Cascade that have triangle symbols.

    Finally, the "x" with "BM" and an elevation indicates a brass disk (sometimes with the elevation in it, sometimes not) is a known elevation but not a horizontal position. These run in "lines of levels" as they are called - mostly along roads, but along many trails in the High Peaks. Most of these benchmarks are somewhat obscure, but there is an obvious one on the Lake Arnold Trail at its junction with the Indian Falls. These aid in the contouring. The fact that there were many more benchmarks in place and that there were aerial photograph available for the mapping accounts for the many changes in elevation from the original 1902 maps used to originally create the 46.

    So have fun trying to trace out these lines of levels in the High Peaks. (For now, you'll have to use the original USGS maps, but we're working on getting more of this data on the ADK High Peaks map.)


    • nickUSA
      nickUSA commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks so much for the detailed response! Great information here.

  • #4
    There is (was) a plan to cut a trail up Elizabethtown #2 (Iron) and it has been started, but not completed. There is a cut trail part way up, and a blue-flagged route all the the way to the summit.

    ADK 46r #8003; 6W
    2nd round: 16
    SL6r #596
    Catskill 3500 21/39; 11W


    • tgoodwin
      tgoodwin commented
      Editing a comment
      No progress on that trail for the past three years, and the route bypasses the best view. That is a big dome of open rock on the left about 3/4way up to the summit. It's a bit of a scramble to get up it, but well worth it.