Site Updates and History

A log of the important events in the history of


DateUpdate or Event
2016-04-12New database update, with hundreds of fixes to the peaks in the database, many based on user feedback. Includes a promotion of a couple thousand provisional peaks.

Evidence has surfaced that shows that the West Peak of Mount Tamalpias in California is about two feet higher than the traditionally higher East Peak. This means that many California county list completions are suddenly off the books. By rules of the county highpointers, these prior completions should be "grandfathered" in. Therefore, "ghost" ascents of the West Peak have been added for completers to preserve their status. Ideally, eventually most of these climbers will tag the West Peak and then the ghost ascent can be removed. This feature will evolve over time and could be used for other list change situations.
2016-03-02Added a new report on the climber's home page for "Unique Peak and Peak Pairs"; Peak pages now have map source information shown; new features created for mobile apps to use; other tweaks to site code.
2015-12-19A new database has been deployed with over one hundred fixes, updates, and other improvements. Most of the email requests from users over the past few months have been addressed, and many provisional peaks have been promoted.

A few very minor user-interface changes were made (the ascents by peak page now paginates by year by default for frequently-climbed peaks; the home page peak photo now has a location shown; the zoom level on the peak maps is no longer way out for some peaks, etc.) but the main update is that the site was moved to new servers on upgraded software versions. This helps keep the technology of the site current, its performance acceptable, and its future more secure, all behind the scenes.

This upgrade has also removed the "site may be hacked" warning from Google--be assured that at no point was any user in danger in any way from using this site. The issue was some spam marketing content that happened to be on the same old hosting server the site was on.

2015-10-02A new database has been deployed with over one hundred fixes, updates, and other improvements. Most of the email requests from users have been addressed. Many provisional peaks have been promoted. Overall, just a broad data quality update.
2015-05-15The Front Runner's List (FRL) page now has an option to filter the climbers to those in a "Buddy List". If you are logged in to the site, and you have created a list of other users in a personal Buddy List, then there will be a link in the upper-right corner of the FRL page that will quickly subset the FRL to just your buddies. This can make a big FRL more manageable, and, perhaps, stir up more friendly competition among friends.
2015-05-11A new database deployment, featuring the usual mix of provisional peak promotions, bug fixes, new lists, and overall database quality and scope upgrades. New lists are for diverse places including Ohio, Canada, Peru, and South Africa. Most issues submitted by users should be now fixed. Thanks for the help!
2015-03-10Added a new "Progressive Lists" feature in the reports section of a climber's home page, which shows eight lists tracking progress over time for highest peak climbed, most prominent peak climbed, furthest north peak, etc. for the climber. Also, some minor code bug fixes.
2015-02-10A new database update was deployed--scores of corrections, bug fixes, updates, and other miscellaneous work done to the core peak data. If you sent an email with an issue needing attention in the past few months, it should now be fixed--due to volume of requests, individual notifications are no longer being sent in most cases. Do contact the webmaster if something was not fixed correctly or is still a problem.
2014-12-20Advertisements – you may now notice that certain pages on have banner ads at the top. This is an experiment to see what kind of revenue can be generated, and is part of an effort to make the site more sustainable in the long run. Ads will not be served if you are a registered user and you are currently logged in, so most loyal site users should not see any ads. If you have questions about this policy, feel free to email the webmaster using the contact link.
2014-11-10Finally-a new mobile phone app that works with has been released for Android devices. Scroll down for details about this exciting new way to access your Peakbagger account.
2014-10-04Added a new "Pick-and-Choose" list capability that allows users to create a peak list by selecting any peaks they desire to make their list. This supplements the "Query List" functionality which only allowed for objective criteria-based lists. Other various site improvemetns, too, including prominence type flavors of Front Runner's Lists, and some new topo map backgrounds for new countries.
2014-09-03Added some behind-the-scenes peformance updates to fix time-out issues when loading large pages of information. This involved turning the Ascent-Peak map view into a table in the database, allowing for quicker indexed retrieval of climber statistics.
2014-08-07Database update, with peak promotions, bug fixes, and overall quality upgrades.
2014-06-21After ten years of existence as a 100% free and non-commercial web site, will be experimenting with advertisements over the next few months. While all the very kind and generous donations over the years have been helpful and greatly appreciated, the site has grown to the extent where it makes sense to determine if there is a small revenue stream out there to help out with site infrastructure. Click here for more info about this topic.
2014-06-13Database update--got caught up on bugs, fixes, corrections, typos, etc. Most user emails should be addressed--contact the webmaster if this is not the case. New lists: Europe most prominent by country list, Netherlands province high points, Eastern USA 5000 foot peaks, Iceland P600m peaks, a few others.
2014-03-21Added a photo upload page that registered users can use to upload a limited number of mountain photos--it can be accessed from a climber's home page. Also added a new "List progress by year" report that summarizes the year-by-year number or peaks you have done on your top priority lists.
Also, the usual database update that fixed a myriad of bugs and promoted some provisional peaks. New lists include a few silly graticule-based lists and a couple for South Korea, based on good survey data for that country.
2014-02-07Another database update. About 10 news lists were added: UK County/Unitary Authority Lists, Philippines Province High Points, a new Usage list, Appennine 2000 meter peaks, and a few others. Over 1000 provisional peaks were promoted, and, as usual, many bug fixes from user input were addressed.
2013-11-01New database with scores of bug fixes and updates, mainly from user input. A few new lists (Bolivia and Venezuela Province HPs, New England 50 most prominent, etc.) were added. From a user's home page, new year-by-place grids report your significant ascents in a new and interesting format. Finally, updated site database to SQL Server 2012 to try and help some performance issues.
2013-09-06Added new "Usage Lists" where peaks are ranked based on site usage, such as peaks with the most ascents, most page views, highest user-designated quality, etc. These are located in the Random Other Lists section of the master list page. Also, added a new Geography article about the most remote places in US wilderness areas.

Updated the USA topo maps on the site to use the superior CalMaps service for hi-res USGS maps.

Also, for prominence geeks, added Key Col web pages for selected peaks that provide detailed information about key cols (prominence saddles). This includes parentage information and a map showing the prominence ridgewalk from peak to key col to line parent. Click on the "Key Col Page" link in the Prominence section of a Peak Page. This feature is not 100% complete and is currently only available for a few thousand peaks in the USA and Canada.

Finally, another incremental database update that incorporates many bug fixes.

2013-07-17Database update: promoted some provisional peaks, fixed scores of minor user-submitted bugs, updated accuracy of lat-longs and elevations in South Africa and Eastern Europe, and added 3 new lists: The Colorado Centennial Peaks, and region high point lists for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
2013-05-19Update to site infrastructure--not much visible to the end-user, but the database that runs the site is now more logical and consistent, and new features and maintenance will be easier going forward. Many peaks in the USA now have a city/town, where appropriate. Also promoted some provisional peaks, and added a few new lists, mainly for Europe and for sub-continent country high points.
2013-02-19Another database update, fixing user submitted bugs and making many small improvements to the overall database. Added 3 new "Club Lists".
2012-12-09Database update. Fixed scores of minor data bugs and issues. Added new formal lists:
  • USA Lower 48 Top 400 Peaks by Prominence
  • Mountaineers 100 Peaks at Mount Rainer N.P.
  • Southeast Alaska Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence
  • France Peaks with 600 meters of Prominence
  • Europe High Points with Iberian Substituion
2012-11-25Added a List Priority feature that allows registered site users to assign a priority value from 1 to 100 for lists they are actively pursuing. Sorting the large "List of Lists" and FRLs by Priority can highlight lists of special interest and who is most serious about certain lists. Also added summaries of key lists and peaks to the home pages of users to highlight their key accomplishments, and added a user's query lists to the main "List of Lists" page.
2012-09-25New Features: A personal "Master Peak Map" showing all peaks a climber has climbed worldwide; new "Personal Isolation" column on a climber's peak list; and site now supports export of your ascent list to CSV/Excel so you can store a back up copy of your climb data.

New Lists: Added/updated many Isolation lists, including the World 1000 km list and several for the USA; added a new National Forest high point list; added new threshold lists for various areas in the USA; added a Eastern Europe prominence list.
2012-07-02Added the Climber Compare feature. Also a database update that includes some new lists, many bug fixes, and some selective peak promotions. New lists include more European prominence lists, updates to US county most prominent peak lists, a new complete California Wilderness high point list, and"Colonial Empire" lists for the US, UK and France.
2012-05-05Major database update: promoted over 8000 provisional user-entered peaks to the main peak database; added over 10 new lists, including several new European prominence lists; made almost 100 fixes and upates based on user feedback; and other minor clean-up and database integrity work. Thanks to all the users who submitted corrections and bug reports, and sorry for the delay in getting the site updated.
2012-04-28Moved to a new hosting company that should dramatically increase the speed and reliability of the site, and decrease time-out errors due to slow page loading. No new features or content, but still a lot of work to migrate both the database and the web site code, and to make sure it is all working correctly at its new home.
2012-04-18Updated the map pages to use the latest and greatest version of the Google Maps API. Also added color-coded map circles to the peak and ascent map pages to show if a climber has climbed the peaks or not.
2012-01-04Added new mapping functionality, including a full screen map page, new MyTopo tiles, and new topographic map sets for British Columbia, Ontario, Spain, and Norway. Also made some other minor code and data updates, including new lists for Denmark and sacred Navajo mountains.
2011-11-25Major new feature addition of Custom Query Lists. Registered users of the site can now create custom lists by running queries against the database and saving them as lists. In addition, added the capability of viewing lists using either the Clean, Average, or Optimistic calculation method, instead of just Clean as it was formerly. Also added NAVD88 elevations for USA peaks. On the data side, added/improved a number of lists, including a worldwide island high point list, and fixed a number of data bugs.
2011-09-07Database update that fixes several user-reported bugs and does some general clean-up. New lists added for Canada and France National Parks, and the "Second Lap" List for the USA.
2011-05-27Updated and added many US Wilderness High Point lists, greatly increasing the coverage and accuracy of this category of list. Also added a California Fourteeners list, and promoted a large batch of provisional peaks to full status. Finally, also performed many other minor data fixes, updates, and tweaks.
2011-03-29Some code changes to go with the big database update a few days earlier. The climber "hall of fame" pages now rank the top 100 climbers, with rank numbers. The map links on the peak page have also been re-arranged, and some minor bug fixes were made as well.
2011-03-25Depolyed a new database with hundreds of updates--some minor, some major. New lists include a 1000m prominence list for Indonesia, a 3000m peak list for New Zealand, a couple new Sierra Club lists for California, and county prominence lists for Idaho and Montana. Many other fixes, tweaks, corrections, and improvements have also been made, including promotion of thousands of provisional peaks. Overall, the state of the behind-the-scenes peak database is at its highest quality ever--which is not really saying much, since there are still likely untold thousands of data bugs out there.
2010-11-12Reworked the master list page--it is now a sortable single-column "list of lists" with more information, instead of the old static two-column page. This same page also shows a climber's completion statistics by list. Also added the ability to upload, display, and download GPS data for ascents. Other minor code updates as well, plus a few new lists, including regional county high point lists and Argentina province high points.
2010-07-31Added complete county-equivalent high points lists for all Canadian provinces; enabled peaks that compete for the same place on a list to both be shown (some as alternates); Added a "Snapshot Grid" year-by-month report (accessed from a climber's home page) that shows a climber's significant career ascents; Made cross-water globability of CoHP maps user-controlled; other minor data and code fixes.
2010-06-06Added a Buddy List feature; added new unsuccessful ascent and multiple ascent reports to a climber's home page; added guidebook links for many lists, peaks, and ranges; added the WA lookout peaks list; increased the SE USA prominence list to a top 50; updates to the French department high point list; other code and data fixes.
2010-04-23Added or updated several lists (Great Basin Peaks List, Canada Province Prom Points, Alberta CD High Points, B.C. 1500m prom peaks) and fixed some minor code bugs. Also, made cosmetic improvements to the auto-generated county high point maps and got through a fair amount of user bug reports that were minor database tweaks.
2010-03-22Promoted a large batch of user-added provisional peaks to permanent status; re-organized the island high point lists for the United States; added a new list for British National Park high points.
2010-03-08Added the ability for a user to create a personal "life list" and/or "wish list", composed of personally selected peaks. Also added automatically generated color-shaded county high point completion maps for the US county highpoints list.
2010-01-25For climbers with over 100 ascents, the default view of the Ascent List is now just the current year, with links to the other years and an (often slow) link to show all ascents. Also, added the final US county high point lists so now all states are present--thanks to the folks at for their help with this.
2009-11-25Enabled the US county highpoint lists for states in the South and Midwest; Added new "Time-Period Reports" to the climber home page that show year and month based ascent data; Now showing alternate high points on the peak map for peaks with multiple areas; Re-did the internal architecture of the list generation system to increase speed and flexibility in showing columns; Promoted a large batch of provisional peaks.
2009-11-08Updated most isolation lists to use actual isolation distance, not an approximation to the nearest higher neighbor. Rewrote the isolation help topics, too. Added the N.C. Lookout tower list, and fixed some code bugs.
2009-10-18Added new locational data fields for climber accounts. Upgraded the site to use ASP.NET 3.5 and SQL Server 2008. Fixed some bugs in the site due to the way Internet Explorer 8 displays standards-compliant web pages.
2009-10-03Updated the HTML for the site to XHTML 1.0 Transitional, mainly for better Firefox compability. Also added "Quick Login" and "Quick Search" functions to the main banner, and added this "Site History" page.
2009-08-07Database updates: promoted a batch of provisional peaks; added Las Vegas Mountaineers list; updated county prominence lists for New England.
2009-07-25Database updates: promoted a batch of provisional peaks; added the Western States Climbers and Japan 100 Famous Mountains lists; several other minor bug fixes in the data.
2009-05-11Added the ability for users to update or delete peaks they have provisionally added to the database.
2009-01-04Added Google Maps showing locations of peaks to the List pages, including color-coding that shows peaks climbed by a logged-in user.
2008-12-05Added the ability for registered users to add provisional peaks to the database.
2008-02-09Upgrade website to ASP.NET 2.0 and SQL Server 2005.
2006-03-17First users sign up and start logging ascents (not counting family and friends). They had to request an account via e-mail.
2005-06-03First Paypal donation received.
2005-04Create a login system and start working on the ascent logging functionality. This turns out to be a bigger project than I anticipated. I discover that serving up peak lists and other content is one thing, but when user input is in the picture, the issues multiply greatly. is turned on in its current form as an ASP.NET-driven site. The old Mountain Explorer site is now gone. The new site has over 100 data-driven peak lists and many other of the current features, but no ascent logging.
2004-05-02Deploy first test site to my IP address at the new hosting company. still points to the old Mountain Explorer site.
2004-03-09Arrange for hosting of an ASP.NET site and start actively developing a completely re-written site that access a database of thousands of peaks.
2003-08-08I met Edward Earl, noted prominence researcher. He had some valuable suggestions for the database, including adding the contour interval to peaks and saddles where exact elevations were not known.
2002During this year, I spent a great deal of time drawing the range boundary polygons for the Peakbagger Range Classification Scheme. My goal was to have a set of shapes that could be used to assign any peak in the world to its correct ranges.
2001-07For the next few months did a great deal of updates to the peak database in Europe and other parts of the world outside of North America, adding lat-longs and checking elevations against map sources. Records indicate updates were done for Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Antarctica, Mexico, Brazil, and Greenland, including many country-by-state high point lists.
2001At some point during 2001 the main peak list is moved from an Excel spreadsheet to a Microsoft SQL Server database. I toyed with MS-Access for a bit before discarding that platform and deciding to go all-out for a serious database solution. The transition took some time, with many schema updates and interim data migrations, but at end of the process the database was in the physical form that it remains in today.
2000The latitude/longitude columns of the master peak spreadsheet were a major project about this time, as were most of the US county high points in the west and northeast.
1999I started adding huge numbers of peaks to my master Excel spreadsheet, including many from the GNIS for the USA and the BGN gazetter for the rest of the world.
1997-10-16I met John Roper and Jeff Howbert, noted Washington-based list compilers, and we compared our lists of Cascade Range peaks. John was impressed that I had found a new, correct prominence saddle for Mount Adams. My Excel spreadsheet was pretty well developed for Washington, and I was now adding lots of prominence information.
1997-10-09Get the domain switched to Hiway Technologies after registration snafu. Then I move all the old "Mountain Explorer" content to the new domain, and the web site is now branded as "The Mountain Explorer at". It's still the same lame old site, mainly my trip reports.
1997-09-30Registered the domain
1997-08-18Posted a journal of my climb of Mount McKinley (Denali) to the Moutain Explorer site.
1997-07-26At a US State Highpointer's convention in Colorado, I met Andy Martin, who sold me his "County High Points" book and got me hooked on a whole new level of peakbagging obsession.
1996-05The "Mountain Explorer" web site goes live at\~gregsl\ . Most of the site's content is trip reports from my mountain hikes and climbs--with no database technology, there is only one peak list (8000 meter peaks). Although pretty lame, the site generates some interest, due mainly to the lack of other mountaineering sites at the time.
1996-04-22Sign up for new internet service with Accessone ISP and start working on first web site.
1995-04Get on the internet for the first time with a fly-by-night ISP that folded after a couple months, after I had pre-paid for a year.
1994-11Finally recognizing the drawbacks of large text files for database tasks, the master peak list is moved to an Excel spreadsheet. I also started adding latitude-longitude information to peaks at this time, starting with peaks in the Southern Taconics in Connecticut. I was using a digitizing tablet and the USGS topographic map.
1994-03Following through on my idea in Bali, I concatenate all my random text files of peak lists into a single large text file with one line per peak. This file is still full of errors and poorly formatted, but it does represent the real genesis of the database.
1993-10-08While watching a dance performance on vacation in Bali, I had the sudden idea that I should combine all my random peak lists into one master file that had all significant peaks together in one place. My idea was to limit the list to peaks such as country, state, and mountain range high points, and peaks on famous lists such as the Colorado fourteeners, New Hampshire 4000-footers, or 8000 meter peaks. I even started listing the peaks that might be included in such a list.
1992-11Spent time trying to write a book tenatively called "An Insider's Guide to US Mountains" that never really got anywhere. As part of this project, I created a huge mountain range taxonomy that is the ultimate source of the US part of the Peakbagger Mountain Range Classification Scheme. Also, some of the peak and range descriptions on this site come from stuff written for this proposed book.
1991-1993Around this time I was working on several large text files of lists of mountains from around the world. This includes several poorly-researched lists of world country high points, US county high points, and major world summits. One of my key early sources was Michael Kelsey's "Hikers and Climber's Guide to the World's Mountains", an endlessly fascinating tome but hardy an authoritative reference. Also, world atlases were pretty much all I has for most of the world.
1987I start work on a master computer text-file list of all the 3700-foot peaks of the Northeastern USA. Although this is a classic "threshold" list, I was very aware of the need for a rigorous prominence cutoff. So I thoroughly researched the "vertical rise" for all peaks with less than 1000 feet of prominence--above that, its status as a separate peak seemed beyond doubt. The "W" in "Mount Washington" that was typed in for this list has survived many transformations and is still in the master database.
1984-06My initial peakbagging obsession was the New Hampshire 4000-footers, and by mid-1984 I had hiked to 42 of the 48 summits. Almost done with that list, I transferred my obsession to the US State high points, and by the fall of 1984 I had visited 20 of those summits.
1969-08-10A few years after my real birth, the peakbagger in me is born. My father took me on a hike up Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire, but we had to turn back short of the summit, perhaps because he had to carry me part way up. I recall being very disappointed at not reaching our goal.

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