Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Feature Topics
Who's Online
3 registered (Norm, Twee, bobpickering), 21 Guests and 92 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
3486 Members
10 Forums
5378 Topics
49659 Posts

Max Online: 382 @ 11/07/12 05:45 AM
Topic Options
#52729 - 03/13/18 08:12 PM Mt Whitney elevation?
skiroc Offline


Registered: 09/08/12
Posts: 5
Loc: Cal
Been reading the forum for many years, so how's this topic for a first post? Search function did not turn up much.

Last year I developed a permanent photographic display that is currently in front of the big window facing Mt Whitney in the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center in Lone Pine. The USFS and NPS requested that I use an elevation of 14,494 ft. on the picture, which I did. I am also working on a nine foot panorama that will be behind the information counter.

I am now working on some other pictures and knowing that books, maps, and guides vary in their elevation, I did a little research. There are two National Geodetic Survey data sheets dated 8.12.4, each for a different Designation (location), one has an elevation of 14,505, and this has an elevation of 14,508.
https://www.ngs.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ds_mark.prl?PidBox=GT1810

After some additional reading a geodetic surveyor on my staff said that both 14,505 and 14,508 are valid for their locations and both use the latest datum and calculations. But if you want the highest, you would obviously use 14,508.

Hiking guides, climbing guides, and Wikipedia are not primary sources of data, but the National Geodetic Survey is. I know that another survey, by a different surveyor, even at the same Designation, could result in a different elevation. But until then, the latest NGS elevation is 14,508, so... why the continued controversy on the elevation of Mt Whitney?








Edited by skiroc (03/14/18 07:09 AM)

Top
#52734 - 03/14/18 01:30 AM Re: Mt Whitney elevation? [Re: skiroc]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 205
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: skiroc
Been reading the forum for many years, so how's this topic for a first post? Search function did not turn up much.

Learn to set up the search tool and look for the word: geoid between 5 and 10 years ago.

Originally Posted By: skiroc

so... why the continued controversy on the elevation of Mt Whitney?


Lots of old books, old maps, old posts and even old t-shirts are still out there along with old memories. Most of the years I've been up Whitney the number was 14,496.

Since our discussion here in 2010 the reference geoid which defines sea level has been updated from GEOID09 to GEOID12B, but that produced no change to Whitney marker elevations. But wait... they plan to issue a new GEOID18 this year (2018), it might change then!

Dale B. Dalrymple

Top
#52736 - 03/14/18 07:43 AM Re: Mt Whitney elevation? [Re: dbd]
skiroc Offline


Registered: 09/08/12
Posts: 5
Loc: Cal
did lots of searches but not for geoid, which is an obvious omission

found the old thread and the issue is more complex than I thought. The variation in elevations has never been of concern to me as a hiker, but I would like to get it "right" for this project. I have some connections with NGS so I'll contact them.

Top
#52737 - 03/14/18 08:52 AM Re: Mt Whitney elevation? [Re: skiroc]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7444
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: skiroc
Been reading the forum for many years, so how's this topic for a first post?

Well! Not quite your first post. Here's the first. smile

I hope you found the 14,505 or 14,508 -- Mt Whitney Elevation? thread.

Congratulations on getting the display setup in the Visitor Center! It's curious on the sentimental clinging to the old elevations. Links in that 14,508 thread to Doug's WPS site show he had a strong opinion about the elevation numbers, too. He didn't want the 508 number on the webcam picture. I see now that I never updated the one on this site:
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wc_notes.htm

Top
#52738 - 03/14/18 12:01 PM Re: Mt Whitney elevation? [Re: Steve C]
bobpickering Online


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 340
Loc: Reno, Nevada
There are many discrepancies on the maps. USGS maps will show a trail one place, Google Street Maps will show something different, and the Google Satellite photo will show it somewhere else. The USGS map says Alta Peak is 11,204’, but the contour lines clearly show that it is 11,280’+. Despite the new measurements on Whitney, the USGS GNIS database still says 14,494’. The “summits” of Mt. Morrison and Mt. Lamarck are lower than nearby un-named summits.

To add to the confusion, I’m working on climbing the Sierra Club SPS list. I’ve been recording my summits for 30 years, and I needed a way to combine my database (just a giant text file) with the official SPS list to produce a new list showing which SPS peaks I have and haven’t climbed. To make that work, I had to change my recorded elevations to match the elevations in the SPS list. That included changing Whitney to 14,491’.

Top
#52739 - 03/14/18 01:38 PM Re: Mt Whitney elevation? [Re: bobpickering]
skiroc Offline


Registered: 09/08/12
Posts: 5
Loc: Cal
Steve - I went to my profile last night and discovered that I did have that one post in 2012 right after I joined. The time span of my memory is shrinkiing...

Top
#52740 - 03/19/18 11:29 AM Re: Mt Whitney elevation? [Re: skiroc]
skiroc Offline


Registered: 09/08/12
Posts: 5
Loc: Cal
I have been in communication with the regional surveyor for National Geodetic Survey and he also provided me a paper on the history of elevation surveys and computations for Mt Whitney written by USGS.

My correspondence with NGS today says 14,500 ft. USGS says that 14,494 should be the published elevation for USGS provisional maps, single edition USFS maps, and GNIS, but that using NVD88 and VERTCON program from NGS, the elevation is 14,500.

NGS said the new datum in 2022 is likely to reduce elevations in the Whitney area by 3 ft.

I'd be happy to send the USGS doc to anyone interested.


Edited by skiroc (03/19/18 11:34 AM)

Top