After discovering the inspiration for the name of each peak, I divided them into several categories:
- Big Slide
- Upper Wolf Jaw
- Lower Wolf Jaw
- Rocky Peak
IMPORTANT FIGURES IN ADIRONDACK MOUNTAIN HISTORY
NEW YORK STATE GOVERNORS
FIRST TO ASCEND THE PEAK
NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLE/WORDS
NAMED FOR SOME RELATIVELY UNIMPORTANT HIKER
OTHER IMPORTANT PEOPLE
- South Dix
Upon my analysis of these names, I was surprised that relatively few peaks were named after important figures in Adirondack history. Only eleven, or less than a quarter, of the mountains pay homage to the men and women who committed so much of their lives to these mountains. In addition, only four (if you include Couchsachraga and Santanoni) of the peaks acknowledge the indigenous peoples that first claimed these lands. Several of these peaks have an alternate, Native American-inspired name, including Marcy (Tahawus), Colvin (Sebele), Seward (Oukorlah), and Whiteface (Theianoguen, Wahopartenie, and Ounowarlah). In each of these cases, the name of the white Anglo-American (or the name prescribed by the white Anglo-American) prevailed.
I found the gender disparity of the names unsurprising, given that Adirondack Mountain history and early recreation was very male-dominated. The people who recorded the first known ascents of these peaks and named them were almost exclusively male, with women like Grace and Esther seen as outliers. Out of the twenty-four peaks named for individuals, twenty-two were men and two were women. And, as far as I know, every single one of these individuals were white.
The distribution of these names, contrary to what I originally believed, does not honor the figures most important to Adirondack Mountain history. Several of the peaks were named for New York governors who did not make any substantial contributions to the region. Others were named under fairly random circumstances, for less notable men like Colden, Armstrong, and Allen, when there was an unnamed peak in the area and these men just happened to be in the right place at the right time.