Help - Historic Peaks in the Database

“Geologic time includes now”, according to Gerry Roach. And while 99.9% of the time we can ignore the minor changes that occur to the shapes of mountains observable in our lifetimes (e.g. minor rockfall, millimeters of rise from tectonic forces, etc.), there are some cases where alteration is significant. Most notably, when a volcano blows its top, there is sudden and dramatic change to topography.

To handle these situations, the database now stores a “From Date” and a “To Date” on all peaks. For the vast majority of peaks, the “From Date” is assumed to be the dawn of historic time, and the “To Date” is assumed to be the present instant. For a peak that has changed, though, there can now be two peak entries, an old one and a new one. For example, there is now a “Pre-eruption Mount Saint Helens” with a “To Date” of 1980-05-19, and current “Mount Saint Helens” with a “From Date” of 1980-05-19.

Climbers are free to log ascents of either peak using the full Ascent Editor page, and if someone tries to enter an ascent date that is not possible for a peak, it will not allow it. Because of the software cost of doing this calculation, however, “Quick Add” functionality for these peaks has been disabled and the “Full Add” ascent editor must be used instead.

List Considerations

The question then arises of how to handle lists that contain changed peaks. Generally speaking, every peak list on has an implied “at the present day” tacked on to the end. Therefore, it is simple to create new, special lists that are valid only for certain time period in the past. No single list will work in these situations.

For example, there are currently 57 peaks in the contiguous USA with 5000 feet of prominence. But before 1980, there were 58, including Mount Saint Helens. Having just the current list is not really fair to those who climbed the old Saint Helens, but having only the historic list is not fair to climbers born after 1980 who cannot complete it. Therefore, in this case, will host both lists.

I believe that the rule for certain large lists is different, however. If a list has no geographic limitations and is essentially non-completable (for example, the World 5000-foot prominence list), then only one version of the list needs to exist, and ascents of peaks that once met the criteria are still valid on the current single list.

This brings up an interesting point. The pre-eruption Mount Saint Helens and the current Mount Saint Helens both have (or had) over 2000 ft or 600 m of prominence. So if someone climbed both, do they get credit for two peaks on the World P600m list? I would way say yes, since the two peaks have different elevations, different summit locations, and require two separate and different ascents/routes. They are really two different peaks, and both should count on large, unbounded, and non-completable lists.

The Query page on allows custom queries to be run for a certain date. Most of the time the “List Date” box can be left blank, but entering a date there may change a list if the criteria include a changed peak.

Changed Peaks:

There are currently only three historic peaks in the database right now:

PeakLocationCurrent PeakHistoric PeakChange Date
Gunung Tambora Indonesia LinkLink1815-04-10
Ngga Pulu Indonesia LinkLink1950
Mount Saint HelensUSA-WA Link Link1980-05-18
Mount Cook New ZealandLinkLink1991-12-14
Kebnekaise-SydtoppenSweden LinkLink2019-09-03

Current Historic Lists:

Other Peaks or Lists can certainly be added if anyone has any suggestions for other areas that have undergone significant change in historic times. Email the webmaster.

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