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Washtucna BM: The “Other” Franklin County Highpoint
Trip Report

Washtucna BM: The “Other” Franklin County Highpoint

 
Washtucna BM:  The “Other” Franklin County Highpoint

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 46.72445°N / 118.44807°W

Object Title: Washtucna BM: The “Other” Franklin County Highpoint

Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 5, 2011

Activities: Hiking

 

Page By: Klenke

Created/Edited: Nov 8, 2011 / Nov 15, 2011

Object ID: 758812

Hits: 1416 

Page Score: 79.62%  - 13 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

What Would Our Forefather Think?

Many of us, including the ghost of ol’ Ben, just assume the highpoint of each county has been clearly determined and “just go with it” and then only go to that place (or places) where they are. This seems fair enough. Those that did the legwork have been diligent. They would not have missed something.

For years my modus was just this. I did not find value (in expending time and energy) in pursuing other contender points. I had a hierarchy for my peakbagging order of things and I saw no reason to go for things that aren’t proven to be higher. But then the idea of calculating a summit’s error range or range of elevation (and prominence) values was given more credence. A peak’s prominence might be calculated from the mean value between saddle contours. Or the elevation of a summit could be a range of values, especially for summits with a closed contour not containing a specific elevation mark within it such as a spot mark or benchmark.

I had to change my hierarchy. If I was going to claim completion of a list of peaks, such as the Washington County Highpoints or Washington County Greatest Prominence Points or Washington County Greatest Isolation Points, I was going to have to also visit every other possible winning summit within a county, if any other possibilities might exist. In short, I became interested in the reality on the ground. Sure topographical maps might show one thing. But the truth might not be on a map. The truth might only be on the ground.

I had already altered my approach for the county GPPs and GIPs. I had now only to do the CoHPs.

The accepted highpoint of Franklin County is “Benjamins Butte” on the Washtucna South Quad. It is shown on the map as 500+ meters (1640.4+ ft). It has a “range” of elevation possibilities of 500-504 meters (1640.4-1653.5 ft). But that’s just what the map says. What is its true elevation above sea level and is it really the highest point in the county? A quick look around from the summit indicates it is definitely higher than every other sub-point on the massif it dominates. For instance, Pt. 494m one mile to the south is clearly lower. But if there is anything close to 500+ meters in height that is not within discernible sight distance, that other point should be further investigated.

Enter Washtucna BM (map) on the Sperry Quad next door. The map says 498 meters for this location. Well 498 meters is two meters (six feet) less than 500 meters, so if you go only by what the map says, it can’t be higher than Benjamins Butte. Or can it? The two points are about six miles apart so a look at one from the other cannot determine which one is highest.

So I thought I would do some other research…

On the Net Research

First, I knew Washtucna BM was the highest point around for some distance (it has an NHG isolation of 3.2 miles to a point in Adams County even if it has a clean prominence of only 75 ft). Given this, it was possible it could be the highpoint of the Sperry Quad. A check of Martin Shetter’s SRTM-based Washington Quad Highpoints showed this to be the case. Ah, but what else do I see on Martin’s list? A height of 1630 ft is shown for this QHP. Well, that’s only 496.8 meters. That’s less then 500 meters. But wait, the entry below the Sperry entry is the Washtucna South entry for Benjamins Butte. It says 1624 ft. 1624 ft is less than 1630 ft. Could this mean Washtucna BM truly is higher than Benjamins Butte? It’s a piece of evidence, but it’s hardly convincing.

Links for the SRTM results for the two points in question:
Washtucna BM "1630 ft"
Benjamins Butte "1624 ft"

Next I stopped in on the USGS benchmark database and retrieved all of the datasheets for Washtucna BM. I have placed these datasheets here since it isn't easy to get them out of the database. A first glance at the datasheet shows a familiar number: 498 meters (specifically 498.9 meters). Okay. But reading a little further, an elevation of 501 meters caught my eye. The value appears in two places and is referring to reference mark number three (PID SA1892, stamped “Washtucna No 3 1950”) and the azimuth mark (SA1893, stamped “Washtucna 1950”), two separate benchmarks to the Washtucna BM labeled on the map (SA1896). Washtucna BM is “461.741 meters” (1515 ft) away from the azimuth mark. Reading the text of the datasheet reveals that the azimuth benchmark is located in the north-south fenceline. Cross-referencing the satellite imagery with the topo map indicates this fenceline runs along the boundary line between Sections 4 and 5. The fence runs over the top of the ridge about 1500 ft NNE of the Washtucna BM triangle. (Strangely, this fenceline does not pass through the 495-meter contour so how can the azimuth mark at the fenceline be at a higher elevation than that contour?)

In light of all of the above, and especially the fact that 501 meters is greater than 500 meters, and also because Martin’s QHP data says the Sperry QHP at Washtucna BM is six feet higher than the Washtucna South QHP at Benjamins Butte, my opinion is that Washtucna BM is a contender for Franklin CoHP. I have no idea as to the probability of it being the true CoHP. I leave it as an exercise for the more mathematically driven among us.

In the Field Research

And so it was that on November 5, 2011 I made the long journey to Franklin County to bag Washtucna BM. I knew that once there I wouldn’t be able to prove anything. But I would be satisfied with having visited the place to claim an error range completion of the county, hence the state. I invited Martin to join me but he declined. So I invited John Roper.

Now given that John was the first to finish the Washington County Highpoints in 1994, it seemed a no-brainer to invite him. He was keen, even though I kept the venue a secret from him so as to surprise him. We had other summit destinations in mind for the weekend trip anyway.

It takes about three hours to drive from Seattle to Franklin County. We stopped in at a few other summit destinations on the way. We approached from the north after bagging the “new” highpoint of Sand Hills (shifted from Pt. 1520+ south of Highway 26 to Pt. 1532 north of the highway). I had done my research ahead of time so had a bead on how to get close to Washtucna BM with the minimum of walking and without “disturbing” the landowner.

On Palmer Road about ¾ miles ENE of the summit there is a draw that comes down to the road. This draw is about a ¼ mile north of a farm (probably the farm that owns the land). The draw is out of sight from the farm. Satellite imagery indicates a track arcing around up the draw and connecting to the better track higher up. We pulled off the road and onto the track. It’s not easy to see a track there, more like driving through grass. Anyway, we managed to get the Highlander in and out of the draw and onto the upper farm track without much trouble. Once on the farm track we quickly slithered up to the saddle and then left the track and humped the rig up to the ridge crest to a point about 0.4 miles NNE of the benchmark. Here we parked and continued on foot. It would have been possible to drive all the way to the fenceline on the crest, but we needed the exercise. The whole of the ridgeline is not within sight of any nearby farms so we felt secure in that respect.

We quickly strolled the grassy field to the fenceline to gain our first view of the highpoint still a few hundred yards off. The field on the other side had been sown with winter wheat that had yet to grow above the small furrows it was planted in. More casual strolling with bouncing dogs got us to within trekking pole throwing distance of the top. At this point I let Roper go ahead so he could be first to stand on the highest point. Once there I had him hold up a finger to signify he was #1. I then went on to explain where he was and its significance. Since he was first to finish the Washington County Highpoints, I humbly allowed him to be first to this top just in case it should later be proven to be higher than Benjamins Butte. I then joined him there.

The benchmark(s) here are all under the loess, just as the datasheets state.

Benjamins Butte was visible in the distance but it was too far away to make any height comparisons.

On the way back it seemed like the fenceline location along the crest might be higher than the 498m location, despite the fact that the fence cuts across a lower contour. We got there and turned around and now the 498m location seemed higher. This phenomenon happens all of the time out in places like this.

It was only after leaving the scene and further reading the datasheet that we realized this was the fenceline where the azimuth and no. 3 benchmarks are located. We had not done any searching for them in the long tufts of grass and weeds enveloping the base of the fence.

Notes

1st Trivial Note: Roper informed me that he finished the county highpoints in Franklin County twice: the first time on Benjamins Butte on August 2, 1994 and then the second time on Washtucna BM on November 5, 2011.

2nd Trivial Note: On his Rhinoclimbs website, Roper says he stood atop Benjamins Butte in “freshly-plowed, ankle-deep Palouse loess soil.” That may have been the last time the field was actively farmed. Every report and picture I’ve seen since then shows the field fallow/untended.

3rd Trivial Note: The Washtucna BM datasheet indicates the land is owned [farmed] by Mr. Rodrick Ross. The Washington County HP page on summitpost says the owner of the farm on which Benjamins Butte resides is a “Mr. Ross.” Is this the same person or a relative?

1st Humorous Note: The large hilly massif containing the accepted highpoint of Franklin County is a broad landform with no hilltops stabbing the sky. So it is a misnomer to call the highpoint Benjamins Butte, despite the alliterativeness of it. The highpoint is a nondescript flat ridgeline, essentially; most definitely not a butte.
But to call it Benjamins Hill wouldn’t work either. People might think it is named after the late, great comedian Benny Hill. Benny Hill’s real name was Alfred Hawthorne Hill (Reference).

2nd Humorous Note: I now have no reason to go back to Franklin County for climbing purposes. I have now done everything on this list but Pt. 1520+ (1530), which I wouldn’t do anyway given its low prominence and low isolation. That’s a relief. I hope my wife never wants to move there.

The End...or is it?

Maybe another Washington county has a similar thing going on. I’ll have to look around. Obviously, Mt. Rainier is the highpoint of Pierce County and Mt. Baker dominates Whatcom County. But what about Adams County, or Asotin County, or Grant County? Are there any other counties where there is a benchmark within the next-lower contour interval compared to the established county highpoint? If there is, its datasheets should be checked. And Martin’s QHP list should be checked for the relevant elevations. And I suppose one should not stop at benchmarks. Maybe next-lower closed contours with or without spot elevations in it should be checked, or at least considered. That is to say, what is the accuracy of the maps themselves? And what is the reality on the ground?

Images

Klenke on Washtucna BMBenjamins Butte fr Washtucna BMWashtucna BM from BelowApproaching the Fenceline from the NorthApproaching the Washtucna BM LocationRoper at Washtucna BMBenjamins Butte SRTM Data
Washtucna BM SRTM Data

Comments


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Bob BoltonSo why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Bob Bolton

Voted 1/10

OK, if we start using your "logic" for highpointing and prominence bagging, there would seem to be tons of other CoHPs and prominence points that are now suspect. In the past, if a closed contour stood out above all the others, that was good enough. In this case, there is no 500-meter closed contour at Washtucna BM, and it is even measured at 498.9 or 499.1 meters (1637 feet) according to the datasheets. Benjamin's Butte has a good-sized 500-meter closed contour, which makes it 1640+ feet, and the top must be higher than that. So where's the problem? Now, if both of these locations shared the same highest closed contour elevation, indeed we would have to touch them both. But they don't share the same highest closed contour elevation, and I don't see you guys advocating this handling of any number of other potential problem spots around the country where this situation exists. So why this one???

Andy Martin, ya gotta stop this madness! Don't let these OC Washingtonians discredit all your hard work! The "rules" have been in place for parts of two decades already (at least), so why should they be changed now?

FWIW
Posted Nov 9, 2011 1:11 am

KlenkeRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Klenke

Hasn't voted

Me thinks you didn't fully read my report.
Posted Nov 9, 2011 1:20 am

Bob BoltonRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Bob Bolton

Voted 1/10

I will admit that I didn't fully understand everything you wrote. I am reacting to this quote: "...my opinion is that Washtucna BM is a contender for Franklin CoHP". The very fact that you went there and left open the possibility of it being the highest point in the county is enough reason for me to raise the flag about the rules. It didn't help either that Roper said he had now completed the state a second time in Franklin County. So what did I miss? I am simply appealing to the long-accepted practice of only visiting multiple areas if they share the same highest contour elevation on the USGS maps. If that practice is now inadequate, as your report seems to imply, you have opened a massive can of worms -- hence my appeal to a "higher power", Andy Martin. :-)
Posted Nov 9, 2011 1:49 am

KlenkeRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Klenke

Hasn't voted

I raised it as a possibility (as a contender) but I never stated a probability. It could have a 1 in 1000 chance. Or it could be 50-50. Maybe LiDAR data will answer for us in the future.

"I am simply appealing to the long-accepted practice of only visiting multiple areas if they share the same highest contour elevation on the USGS maps."
You mean like Mt. Buckner?

Posted Nov 9, 2011 2:49 am

mrchad9Re: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

mrchad9

Voted 10/10

Andy Martin's rules apply to only Andy Martin, and other individuals who chose to follow them of their own free will. No one else.

Regardless if you agree with the statements made I think it is an interesting writeup and well written, and the points are well made. USGS Topo maps are not the gospel even if you choose to treat them that way.

The only rule in this game is that you should be satisfied for yourself that you have accomplished the objective you have in mind.

Alameda County in CA has two possible COHPs, though a lot of folks seem to accept the easier one and bypass the other. I seriously doubt those individuals made the COHP convincingly, but it doesn't matter. For me, however, I went to both to convince myself.

Similarly there are a lot of folks that think they completed Placer County and the state as a result (or that they are 'grandfathered' in, which to me is a laughable concept). As far as I'm concerned if someone visited Granite Chief and not the correct point on the north side of Tahoe they still have one left to go.

Bottom line... you make your own rules. No one else's matter.
Posted Nov 9, 2011 11:35 am

phillinleyRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

phillinley

Hasn't voted

LIDAR will change a lot of things. Which is why I'm purposely steering clear of 20+ point counties for the next five or so years til the technology gets good enough to rule out most of the grey areas.
Posted Nov 9, 2011 10:05 pm

Bob BoltonRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Bob Bolton

Voted 1/10

Yes, I mean like Buckner. I still plan to join Adam Helman on his climb, whenever that happens.
Posted Nov 9, 2011 11:24 pm

Bob BoltonRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Bob Bolton

Voted 1/10

You may note that I put quotes around the word "rules". I am referring to the so-called rules that have been established by the county highpointing forum. It is true that one can claim anything one wishes based upon one's own rules. There are some who simply like to base their claims on a standard established by a body, however loose-knit, that recognizes the achievements one seeks. You wouldn't get very far in golf or tennis or baseball or basketball or soccer if you made up your own rules and argued that your rules are as good as any others. You used the right word -- it's indeed a game, but I happen to prefer games that have rules, not games that are based on anarchy.

Having said that, however, Andy Martin didn't write the rules. They were decided on in a forum of people pursuing common objectives. Andy merely did a huge share of the research required to find the highpoints. If we have to research each situation such as this to the extent that Paul did, you might as well kiss goodbye to the county highpointing game until Lidar answers all questions, if it ever does. Meanwhile the game has reasonable "rules" that I choose to live by as best I can, not being the anarchist sort of person.

As for the grandfather rule, it is actually very reasonable, and it has been applied by many individuals in a respectable manner, IMO. As a hypothetical example, would you be willing to remove a person from the list of folks who completed the state highpoints if they had died or become infirm before Mt. Arvon was discovered to be the highpoint of Michigan? Maybe you know of an example of someone who refuses to return to Placer County because of the grandfather rule, but those who I respect have always maintained that if a person is able, s/he should return to pick up the corrected HP even if s/he has already "completed the list". The folks I know from the list of California completers have all held to this philosophy. But that doesn't mean to me that the grandfather "rule" isn't valid. It was human error, after all, that caused people to visit Mt. Curwood instead of Mt. Arvon, and the Curwood visitor did so in good faith, actually putting out more effort than Arvon visitors need exert today. I have no problem with allowing a deceased or infirm highpointer to retain his recognition based on Mt. Curwood. I can't imagine having any other attitude.
Posted Nov 9, 2011 11:58 pm

mrchad9Re: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

mrchad9

Voted 10/10

I guess I am an anarchist. :-)

I think the difference here is that in the sports 'games' it is a competition, whereas I do not see COHPing as a competition at all, at least not one between individuals. It's just yourself and your goals. I think people can police themselves to some extent and if some like Paul want to be more thorough then that just enhances their own experience. As I mentioned I do not think most are thorough enough in Alameda County, but I'm not going to bother trying to take it away from them. They did what suited them.

BTW- if the 'rules' are not Andy's, then why did you specifically address him when you wrote a note to the COHPers saying the 'rules' were being messed with?

WRT your question... yes. As far as I am concerned if someone died having completed the incorrect HP, then they definitely did not complete the COHPs of that state. That isn't even debatable. You can still choose to recognize them, but then what you are maintaining is a list of people who believe they climbed the COHPs of a state, not a list of people who actually did it. This is what the COHPers do today, and that's fine. You just have to acknowledge the difference.

If Sir Edmund Hillary had climbed K2, thinking it was the HP of the earth, and then died still thinking that, we would not remember him for having climbed the highest point on earth. We'd remember him for having climbed K2, and whoever ACTUALLY climbed the true HP for having done that. Participants dead or not.
Posted Nov 10, 2011 10:47 am

KlenkeRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Klenke

Hasn't voted

You make good points, mrchad.

And thanks for voting for my wife's mother, even if she didn't win. :)
Posted Nov 10, 2011 4:25 pm

Bob BoltonRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Bob Bolton

Voted 1/10

Well, I guess you may need to take this up with the Highpointers Club so they can right a horrible wrong -- the person recognized by the club as the first 50-state completer never did visit the true Iowa state HP, yet because of the grandfather clause he is still recognized as the first completer. He "completed the states" in 1966. He died in an avalanche on Dhaulagiri in 1969 before he was able to return to Iowa to touch the true HP. I'm guessing this rankles you (??), but the way I reconcile it in my own mind is to remember that this is a game with rules, and if a body wants to recognize a person's accomplishment based on their rules, they have every right to do that. You may be able to understand my comments better when you realize that this is their context. If you don't care about being recognized by a body, of course you can claim anything you wish that makes you happy -- it really doesn't matter one way or the other if you're just doing it for your own entertainment. But I think you can agree that recognition by a body would HAVE to be based on rules. And the rules are very well defined for this game.
Posted Nov 12, 2011 12:36 am

KlenkeRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Klenke

Hasn't voted

Bob, were you attempting to respond to Andy's last email or to mrchad9?

Anyway, I don't care about the rules in this case. I care about the truth. And that's it.
Posted Nov 12, 2011 1:26 am

Bob BoltonRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Bob Bolton

Voted 1/10

I was replying to mrchad9. Of course I already knew you were only interested in the truth, and that is noble and right. My only concern is that highpointing as we know it is seriously challenged by this because now we can't trust anything where there is not an obvious and clearcut winner. I for one don't have time or inclination to research these situations to make sure we have the right spot, which discourages me from pursuing the hobby because of the possibility that someone may come along later with new information challenging my costly and time-consuming effort that has already been expended. Your research just opens a can of worms, and that's it.
Posted Nov 12, 2011 2:18 am

KlenkeRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Klenke

Hasn't voted

It is also noble to follow the rules. But the truth doesn't need rules. You might say that "the truth" is transcendental.

Don't be discouraged because of the can of worms I opened. I think to question the validity of some CoHPs is a good idea. It gets us thinking about things we may not have necessarily thought about before. Also, honestly though, did you really assume that all determined county highpoints are infallible (excluding those that are already in question, such as Buckner)? There are a lot of counties in America. It seems improbable to me that not a single one could be in error. As for Washington, I've compiled a list of other counties where there "could be" another contender. By "could be" don't take that necessarily as "is" at this time. I'll send that compilation along in an email soon.
Posted Nov 12, 2011 6:18 pm

mrchad9Re: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

mrchad9

Voted 10/10

Actually I don't think the 'rules' are that well defined. If you read them you will notice it is full of phrases like 'probably', 'would be willing to', 'significantly', 'good enough', and 'in my opinion'. These are not phrases of very well defined rules in my opinion. btw- I don't see anything in the rules that you linked to that indicate anything about 'grandfathering'.

That said, there is one in there that for me is the only one that matters... 'If you don't climb to the highest point, you can not claim the county.' Everything else is moot if you truely accept that one.

And like Klenke, I am only interested in the truth. Nothing else. I think we agree on your last points, of course an organization like the COHPers or state highpointers is free to make its own rules. And others can follow the truth as they see it for themselves. As far as I am concerned this fellow who didn't climb Iowa still lacks one state HP. It is fine if the club recognizes him... as I said before "You can still choose to recognize them, but then what you are maintaining is a list of people who believe they climbed the COHPs of a state, not a list of people who actually did it. This is what the COHPers do today, and that's fine. You just have to acknowledge the difference." It sounds as though this statement applies to the state group... and that's also fine. I think you believe this too to some extent, there is an asterisk on this fellow in the mind of everyone who is aware he didn't climb Iowa's HP, that is why you put 'completed the states' in quotes right?

And also like Klenke says, don't be discouraged. You can be just as free to apply one set of rules to your endeavor as I am another to mine and he is another to his.
Posted Nov 12, 2011 6:34 pm

Bob BoltonRe: So why do I always come off looking like the lazy bum? :-)

Bob Bolton

Voted 1/10

Grandfathering is a carryover from the state highpointing rules. Mr. Lobdell apparently didn't deem it necessary to restate all of those rules -- they are implied because most of the original county highpointing crowd came from the state game and those rules were already implied.
Posted Nov 19, 2011 3:18 am

RedwicHow accurate is the SRTM-based data?

Redwic

Voted 9/10

I am not convinced that the SRTM-based data is without errors, itself.

The flaw I found in your theory lies within your own resources. Your theory appears to be totally based off of one resource (SRTM-based data/Shetter map) showing the summit elevation of "Benjamins Butte" being 1624' instead of the USGS-mapped elevation of 1640'-1656' (500-504.9 Meters). The SRTM-based data you are trusting for "Benjamins Butte" also shows the summit elevation of Washtucna BM as 1630', yet the USGS data you researched showed that summit elevation might actually range from 1633.8'-1643.7' (or 498-501 Meters). So immediately you have shown your resource of the SRTM-based data to be flawed (at least when compared with "official" USGS data).

Hence, the SRTM-based data for "Benjamins Butte" also cannot be trusted, as a result. In my opinion, that context of your research actually *improves* the status of "Benjamins Butte" as the most likely CoHP contender of Franklin County because it raises doubt about the reliability of your resources.

Your trip report basically suggests trusting USGS data over SRTM-based data for Washtucna BM, but trusting SRTM-based data over USGS-supplied data for "Benjamins Butte". So it is good one way, but not the other? Unlikely.

Also, if the summit elevation of the Washtucna BM has "grown" by two meters (from 499 to 501) then who is to say that the "Benjamins Butte" summit elevation has not also been similarly incorrect/underestimated? Plus, how likely is it that the "Benjamins Butte" elevation/contour has been suddenly dropped by 16'-26' elevation? At least the "Benjamins Butte" summit contour has a defined mapped summit contour above 500 Meters, unlike the Washtucna BM.

Also, judging by your photos, the Washtucna BM area appears to have been thoroughly plowed and subject to a lot of regular agricultural activity through the years. That would probably lower its summit elevation over time, not raise it. In contrast, the summit elevation of "Benjamins Butte" has not been regularly subject to agricultural activity.
------------

Personally, I have to agree with BB on this one, not only because of the size of the "Benjamins Butte" summit contour but also because multiple people (myself included) had GPS devices that showed summit elevations there that were higher than the Washtucna BM elevation and not at all close to 1624'. Also, from my own standpoint, your data comparisons raise more doubts about this COHP contender theory than enhance its likelihood.

I am not poo-pooing your theory, and I respect your efforts and research, but I am trying to look at this as logically and completely as I can. There seems to still be too much room for error with this particular CoHP contender theory. But, heck, you can believe what you want. ;-)
Posted Nov 9, 2011 2:02 am

KlenkeRe: How accurate is the SRTM-based data?

Klenke

Hasn't voted

The point would be that we can't really trust anything we read and think we know and the reality "on the ground" may be something completely different.

Either way, I found this Franklin County anomaly intriguing, and thus worth visiting and then writing about.

This is no different than having error range summits for the GPP list, per Edward Earl's webpage, only the data sources are expanded.
Posted Nov 9, 2011 2:42 am

RedwicRe: How accurate is the SRTM-based data?

Redwic

Voted 9/10

If you are (or if anyone is) proposing this as a possible CoHP contender, then there is nothing wrong with good, healthy debate and analysis about it. I am not suggesting that this is not intriguing, as I am a big fan of anomalies and obscure details. You made some compelling arguments and analyses. However, there just does not seem like enough proof to convince me this is a true CoHP contender (yet). I am interested in seeing other opinions from the CoHPers out there. Heck, with enough debate and further research, it is possible that even I can be convinced otherwise.

Also... EE's GPP list is based completely off of USGS/mapped/contoured data, not a combination of different resources as you have done here. That is the difference. If you kept the argument to the USGS data showing a reference to the Washtucna BM being 501 rather than the mapped 498, while the "Benjamins Butte" summit contour is 500+, then that could be argument enough without bringing any other resources into the equation. But bringing up the SRTM-based data immediately raised doubt for me.

I might explore this further the next time I am near that general area, assuming I have some other measurement devices and people with me.
Posted Nov 9, 2011 2:49 am

RedwicOther Observations

Redwic

Voted 9/10

-> The data for “Washtucna No 3 1950” (SA1892) and “Washtucna 1950” (SA1893), not surprisingly, are each from 1950. Old data.
-> Unlike the first two Washtucna datasheets you listed, each of which have more recent elevation and USGS data compiled using what appears to be non-map-based methods, for each of the “Washtucna No 3 1950” (SA1892) and “Washtucna 1950” (SA1893) elevations "the orthometric height was scaled from a topographic map." That topographic map was unlikely from 1950, but even if it was there is a definite chance it was incorrect.
-> Also, because it is not currently mentioned in the report, did either you or JR take an altimeter reading at the proposed CoHP contender? If so, what did it say? If not, why not?

-> "MrChad9" is correct. Each person has to decide for himself or herself if a peakbagging list has truly been satisfactorily completed. As an example, I personally do not believe the NE summit of Buckner Mountain is the highest point of Skagit County, and I will satisfactorily finish the WA CoHPs on Mount Baker even if that NE summit of Buckner is not yet attained. I might return later, but that will be up for me to decide if/when that occurs. As another example, after finishing the WA CoHPs you (PK) felt compelled to return to Klickitat County and, now, Franklin County to feel satisfied with completing the WA CoHPs. Are you and JR going to change the records books? My guess is not, but that is totally up to you to decide. Either way, I appreciate the effort you made in this report and it might prove valuable to others and in the future.
Posted Nov 9, 2011 11:45 am

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