A Cold Shoulder for Chipeta

By Wayne Iverson

Southern Chaffee County boasts a fabulous view of three mountains in the Sawatch Range named for a Ute (Nuche) Indian family – Mount Ouray, Chipeta Mountain and Pahlone Peak. Indians don’t typically name mountains after themselves, so my guess is that some “white guilt” went into that honor – like a developer who names streets after the trees cut down to build a subdivision. But there is another problem – perhaps an error on the part of the applicant or the U.S. Geologic Survey Board on Geographic Names (BGN). Mount Ouray and Pahlone Peak are named for the highest point on their respective mountains, but Chipeta Mountain is named for the second highest point on its massif and is actually out of plain sight. Thus an effort to commemorate an important woman ends up coming across as more of an insult. So perhaps a campaign to move the name “Chipeta Mountain” from the 12,850-foot sub peak to the 13,472-foot highpoint is in order. 

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My Mount Princeton

By Richard R. Cuyler

Up close, Mount Princeton is an ugly pile of granite; from a distance, it is beautiful in all its changeability of weather and seasons.

At 71, should I have known better? Six of us, Princeton University alumni and friends, gathered for the annual climb up “our” eponymous mountain. Since it was mid-August, I dressed in my usual eastern gear: shorts, T-shirt and hiking boots, with a fleece pullover and a poncho for good measure. We met in a drizzle, so out came the poncho. I was chilly, but why break out the fleece when the climb would soon warm me up? Our late start didn’t concern me. I knew about the furious afternoon storms but thought they couldn’t happen on an overcast day, since heat wouldn’t build up, a condition I understood as necessary.

First the road, then the trailhead, then the short stretch of tundra before the boulders, interrupted occasionally by sections of rough trail. I could tell the air had become thinner, but the light rain had stopped. I was warm and content. Although I had to stop frequently to catch my breath, I was exhilarated. Sometimes I could hear water purling through the jumble far below my feet. Everything, including my knees, was right with the world.

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