HISTORY OF THE DESERT PEAKS LIST
Following is the article written by Bill T. Russell which details the growth of the DPS Peaks list from conception to its present form.
The table below gives data on each edition of the Peaks List as a stand alone document; the lists that were printed in Chapter Schedules in the 1950's are based on these documents. The data for this table was compiled from Angeles Chapter schedules, from the Southern Sierran which started publication in May 1946, from the DPS Newsletter, now THE DESERT SAGE, which started in March, 1950 and from DPS records including minutes of meetings.
In 1941, Chester Versteeg selected the seven peaks that comprised the initial "List of Qualifying Peaks". Sierra Club members who "negotiated all seven peaks" could become members of the Section. The peaks are listed in the DPS paragraph in Schedule 109, Spring 1942 (see SAGE 212, page 37). The original membership roll has ten signatures of people who met this requirement, the first three are Chester Versteeg, Niles Werner and Freda Walbrecht. In early 1947, the change was made to require only six peaks for membership; bagging all seven earned the handsome, newly created emblem pin.
In mid 1947, Boundary and Charleston were added by the DPS Mountaineering Committee and, by Navy request, Coso and Maturango were removed. In early 1948 four more peaks were added and Coso and Maturango were reinstated, making a total of thirteen. Probably at this time, the emblem requirement was changed to seven peaks, including New York Butte, Telescope and White Mountain, which thereby became the initial emblem peaks.
In December 1948, the Mountaineering Committee added two peaks and, at the annual meeting in December 1949 the membership approved three more. The Annual meeting of January 11, 1952 dropped Cerro Gordo and replaced it with nearby Pleasant. The 1953 meeting defrocked White Mountain as an emblem peak because it now had a road to the summit, and elevated Montgomery and Rabbit. The emblem requirement was raised to nine peaks including the four emblem peaks.
From 1949, peaks were added or deleted by membership vote at the annual meetings or at business meetings. Until 1963, a quorum was 10 members and after that it was 10% of the membership. However, only six members attended the November 1960 annual meeting at Harwood Lodge when Old Woman Mountain was added. Mail ballots were used as early as 1965 for peak list changes but the requirement for mail balloting of all the members was not put into the bylaws until April 1973.
The annual meeting of December 7, 1956 delisted Coso and Maturango because of difficulty of access. Both peaks were added again to the list in 1961 but Coso was delisted for good in 1973. Marble was also delisted in 1973 because of the nearby new freeway. Two other peaks which came and went were Funeral, December 1957 to December 1959 and Searles, May 1959 to March 1960.
At a meeting in May 1959, Kofa (now Signal) was made an emblem peak. The number of peaks for the emblem was raised to fifteen including the five emblem peaks which were now New York Butte, Telescope, Montgomery, Rabbit and Kofa. In May 1960, Inyo replaced New York Butte as an emblem peak; the latter had become a possible drive up. In March 1966, El Picacho del Diablo, and in April 1973, Charleston Peak were made emblem peaks, but the requirement for the emblem stayed at fifteen peaks including five of the seven emblem peaks.
Bill T. Russell
|EDITIONS OF THE PEAKS LIST DOCUMENT
(A.K.A. List of Qualifying Peaks)
|Edition||Year/Month||No. of Peaks||Remarks|
|1||48/?||13||In alphabetical order--columns for peak name, elevation, location. Six peaks required for membership and seven for the emblem, including New York Butte, Telescope & White Mtn.|
|2||50/01||18||Ordered by elevation--columns for peak name, elevation, range|
|6||57/03||35||Nine peaks required for emblem, including New York Butte, Telescope, Montgomery & Rabbit.|
|7||60/?||45||Added a column giving state in which peak is located.|
|8||61/02||52||Added a column for climbing classification--fifteen peaks required for the emblem including the four emblem peaks.|
|9||61/06||54||Five emblem peaks required for emblem: Montgomery, Inyo, Telescope, Rabbit & Kofa (Signal).|
|11||64/06||62||Ordered by ranges (many)--two columns, hard to read.|
|13||66/07||66||The document carries the incorrect date of July 1965. El Picacho del Diablo made an emblem peak.|
|14||68/07||71||Omitted Sombrero and Pescadores, should be 73 peaks.|
|15||69/09||73||Ordered by the presently used geographical areas--topographic maps listed--explanatory notes given for certain peaks--five columns: peak name, elevation, climbing class, maps, note index.|
|18||73/05||82||Charleston made an emblem peak.|
|23||80/04||93||Information paragraphs added--UTM coordinates added--typeset.|
|24||86/06||96||Names of three peaks added to 23rd edition by typing.|
|25||88/08||96||Index numbers assigned to peaks--eight columns: index number, name, class, elevation, UTM coordinates, principal map code, 7.5 maps, 15 maps.|
|26||90/04||97||Added alphabetical list of peaks with index number.|
|27||91/07||97||Reprinted version of the April 1990 Peak List with an appendix showing July 1991 map revisions.|
|-||-||96||Bridge Mountain was added to the list in May 1999. No updated version of the list appeared showing this change.|
|28||03/09||97||Muddy Mountain was added to the list in May 2002.|
Editor's Note: In DPS Newsletter # 59 we find the following passage:
The Desert Peaks Section was officially born in October, 1941. Membership in the section, which at that time had no dues, no officers, and no meetings, was open to those Sierra Club members who had climbed all seven of the qualifying peaks. This first list of qualifying peaks consisted of White Mtn., Waucoba Mtn., New York Butte, Cerro Gordo, Telescope Pk., Maturango Pk., and Coso Pk.
This list obviously pre-dates those in the above table. This was taken from the definition of the new (1941) DPS Section which appeared in a Club Publication. (probably the schedule) This was probably written by Versteeg. If so, then Chester may be the earliest known author of any peaks list in the Club. It also explains why the DPS list was originally known as the "Qualifying Peaks List".