Eastern Canada Peaks with 2000 feet of Prominence
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2000 feet of prominence has become an informal threshold among U.S. prominence researchers that signifies that a peak has major stature. There are just enough of these peaks to keep track of them, and tallies of the number of peaks with prominence of 2000 feet (P2K) by state and region is used as a rough measure of mountainous ruggedness.
Edward Earl, Andy Martin, and others compiled lists of all the P2K peaks in the 48 U.S. states--a total of about 1200, with Nevada (169), California (163), and Washington State (144) having the most. Alaska is so huge and so mountainous that no attempt has been made to tabulate all the P2Ks there; instead, a 5000-foot threshold gives plenty of results. Western Canada is like Alaska--any attempt to find all the P2Ks would be a massive undertaking.
Therefore, I decided to find out how many P2Ks there were in eastern Canada. I figured that there were not too many--the highpoint of the Torngat Mounains, a few in the northern Appalachians, and the Newfoundland island high point. My guess was that there were maybe about ten.
When I started looking at the online topo maps of the Torngat Mountains, though, it became clear that there were scores of P2K peaks. I posted my preliminiary tally of about 40 or so, and over the next few months Richard Garland picked up where I left off, finding more Torngat peaks and exploring off into the other ranges of Labrador. I double-checked Richard's work using GIS software to help me make sense of the terrible online Toporama maps, and determined all the P2K peaks in the Canadian Appalachians. Together, Richard and I came up with this list of 73 peaks. Later work found about 10 more, so the total is now in the mid-80s.
This is an amazingly high number. This is more P2K peaks than in the eastern USA (78) or Colorado (81), and about the same as in Arizona or Oregon. Considering that the high point of the area is only 5420 feet, and most of it is very flat, this number is surprising. The glaciers really carved up the ranges of northern Labrador with deep gorges, exactly the kind of geologic action that produces high-prominence peaks.
This list should be over 95% complete at this point. Most summits have no names, so are designated by their elevations and map sheet names. Most of them have probably not been climbed yet. There are 10 peaks on this list in the greater Appalachian Mountains (south of the St. Lawrence): 7 in Quebec, 1 in New Brunswick, and 2 on the island of Newfoundland. Then there are 4 peaks in central Quebec, and the remainder are in Labrador.
Many thanks go to Richard Garland, who did an incredibly impressive job of helping me research these peaks, their elevations, and their prominences. We both spent hours poring over the terrible online GIFs from the Toporama web site, counting unlabelled contour lines, and Richard didn't even have the advantage of GIS software to help out! I especially thank him for inspiring me to continue work on this after I started to lose some interest. See his web site below for the most complete reference for the Torngats ever assembled.
Links Papa Bear's Torngat's Page - Richard Garland
Toporama: Canadian Topographic Maps Online
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