The Grace Peak Proposal
One of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a person is to name a mountain in their memory...and the Adirondack Mountains have a colorful history of mountain naming.
Most of the peaks are named for men, including New York State Governors, scientists, state surveyors, a war hero and the early guides. Some of the peaks have names of aboriginal origin. One mountain, Esther, is named for a legendary young woman who climbed the peak for the sheer joy of climbing.
Two of the summits in the Dix Range still do not have true names. Bob Marshall, who first climbed them, identified them East Dix and South Dix, by association with the highest peak in the range, Dix Mountain. When Russell Carson wrote the first history and trail guide, Peaks and People of the Adirondacks, he realized that in the future there would be people whose influence in the High Peaks should be honored. He, therefore, left the temporary names East and South Dix for that purpose and wrote, “The most interesting fact about these two mountains is that their names are not important enough to be retained and that they can be given distinctive titles, when the right occasion comes without violation of old established names.” A committee of the Forty-Sixers leads a large and growing body of thought that such a time has now arrived.
The Grace Peak Committee of the Forty-Sixers is developing a proposal that East Dix be named "Grace Peak" in honor of Grace Hudowalski #9, and South Dix be named "Carson Peak" in honor of Russell M. L. Carson. Russ Carson compiled the first authoritative history and trail guide to the Adirondacks in the 1920’s. He was a charter member and served as president of the fledgling Adirondack Mountain Club. An extract from a 1922 letter from Russ to Bob Marshall became the ADK mission statement: "A challenge to educate the public to properly use our vast wilderness and yet preserve it for future generations."
As a supervisor for the New York State Commerce department and as founder of the 46ers, Grace became the authority in developing the Adirondack High Peaks as a recreational outlet and tourist attraction. She was the 46ers Historian for more than sixty years, and popularized educating the public how to properly use and preserve the wilderness character of the mountains.
Grace and Russ both spent their lives forging this ideal that we continue to strive for today.
The final authority for naming a mountain is the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. The naming must have the support of local government and other local interest groups, and must be recommended by the corresponding State authority, the New York State Committee on Geographic Names. The state level committee is not expected to make the needed recommendation until local endorsement is obtained, so the Grace Peak Committee is now on a campaign of education and enthusiasm-raising across New York State. Click here for the latest Status Report.
The Grace Peak Committee continues to gather all support it can, and individuals can certainly make a difference by writing letters of support, and perhaps by other means. This Request for Support explains how YOU can help.
Russ Carson wrote, “True Adirondack lovers feel that the mountains which are most appropriately named are those that perpetuate the memory of men who have had a close connection with the region.” Perhaps in due course, the memories of Grace and Russell will be commemorated most appropriately, among the mountains.
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