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Windom Peak is higher than Mount Eolus

PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:46 pm
by Scott Patterson
According to Gerry Roach:

Windom Peak is slightly higher than Eolus.

Windom is sometimes listed as 14,082 and Eolus at 14,083, but these are the elevation of the benchmarks, which are really not on the precise summits.

The summit of Euolus is one foot higher than the benchmark and Windom is 5 feet higher than the benchmark, this Windom is actually slightly higher.

Gerry Roach verified this with the USGS and that the elevations of 14,082 and14,083 are actually for the benchmarks, not the summits.


Pages 292 and 293 of Colorado's Fourteeners From Hikes to Climbes, Third Edition.

He also corrected this on his list that links to LOJ for each peak: ... 4ers.shtml

Re: Windom Peak is higher than Mount Eolus

PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:17 pm
by John Kirk
Gerry mentioned this at one point. Seems to me there needs to be a formal survey before refuting Eolus being higher. The intentions behind the spot elevations are not known (whether they are the benchmark elevations or not), and you'll get a different answer everytime you ask the USGS. I've attached the official forms for Windom and Eolus from GNIS showing Eolus was considered higher irrespective of benchmarks.
CO_187988_003_Mount Eolus_frm_1960.pdf
(92.85 KiB) Downloaded 50 times

CO_187990_001_Windom Peak_frm_1974.pdf
(89.82 KiB) Downloaded 51 times

Re: Windom Peak is higher than Mount Eolus

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:11 am
by Scott Patterson
Of note, only the USGS 7.5 maps list Eolus (or at least the Benchmark) as being higher.

The 1:100,000 USGS maps list Windom as higher:


On those maps, the converted elevations match Roach's elevations, at least very closely.

Windom's elevation of 14,087 feet (which is what Gerry Roach uses) = 4293.8 meters = 4294 meters, which matches the metric map exactly.

Eolus' elevation 14,083 correlates to the metric map, but 14,084 would bump it over the threshold for 1493 meters.

I also have other maps that show Windom as higher.

As far as I know, the only one that doesn't is the 7.5 minute map, but my assumption is that it is because those are the benchmark elevations.

Anyway, interesting stuff.

Re: Windom Peak is higher than Mount Eolus

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:59 am
by John Kirk
I put a note on the page for Eolus, indicating Windom may be higher:

Re: Windom Peak is higher than Mount Eolus

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:50 am
by doug72901
Curiously enough NOAA doesn't even carry those benchmarks on their inventory any longer. It does look to me like those were horizontal control and points and the elevations on the topo maps were likely scaled and not run in with a level line.

Re: Windom Peak is higher than Mount Eolus

PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:51 pm
by John Kirk
This information was enough to convince me to change it today:

[prominence] Windom vs Eolus, prominence/CoHP king resolved
Douglas Harris [prominence]
12:47 PM
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Eolus and Windom are both located in the Chicago Basin north of Durango. Some maps have Eolus listed as the higher of the two, while others suggest that Windom is slightly taller. Several people have hypothesized that the source of the confusion is that the Windom benchmark is placed several feet below the real peak. My son and I went up to Chicago Basin over the Labor Day weekend and surveyed the two peaks using a Trimble professional-grade GPS unit. After post correction of the positions, we have reached the following measurements. The listed uncertainty number is the one sigma level. There is a 98% confidence that Windom is the taller of these two peaks, making it the p2k king along with CoHP champion.

Eolus: 37.6218°N, 107.6227°W
14085.4 ft +/- 2.1’

Windom: 37.6212°N, 107.5919°W
14089.9 ft +/- 1.4’

This real-world example shows the strengths and limitations of surveying GPS for resolving peak heights. There needs to be ~4' difference in elevation to definitively end disputes.

Doug and Arthur Harris