The DPS Emblem acknowleges the that fact that a member of the section has climbed and explored a significant sampling of the Desert Peak List. A member who reaches this status was once known as an "Emblem Member" or "Emblem Peaker". These terms have fallen out of use. Today it is simply known as "Getting One's Emblem".
As the membership grew, more and more people became Emblem Members. As the List of Qualifying Peaks became longer, the Section occasionally modified the bylaws of the section to increase the requirements of the emblem. The rational was that the member should sample a significant part ot the list in order to qualify for the emblem. As the list grew, so should the emblem requirements.
One of the Section's most ambitious climbers decided that a sample was not a sufficient goal. Andy Smatko decided to accomplish two things. He would climb every peak on the list and he would climb every named and unnamed high point in San Bernardino County, the largest county in what was then the United States.
When Andy finished the list, it forced many people to reevaluate their goals. Andy had set a new high water mark for desert exploration. Today finishing the list (a longer one) is not only a normal goal, but a small group of members are going back to do it more than once. Doug Mantle, the modern day version of Andy Smatko, has done it five times!
While Andy is listed in our records as the
first person to finish the DPS List, there is evidence to show that several
years earlier, Frede Jensen finished climbing the list when it was much
shorter. This event was not officially recorded. Reference is made to this in
Newsletter #80; page 2.
Also, if we consider Versteeg's definition of the qualifications for DPS membership published in 1941 we find that there was a small list of qualifying peaks. It was necessary to climb each of these peaks to become a member. That meant one had to finish the list (7 peaks) to become a member! This made all members list finishers until the bylaws were changed making some peaks optional for membership.
In the peak climbing sections
of the Angeles Chapter, the elite are considered to be those who have finished
all three major peak lists. The HPS, DPS & SPS include over 600 peaks and
years of climbing is required to complete them all.