The Angry Corrie 47: Oct-Nov 2000

TAC 47 Index

High Jinks - An update to World Tops and Bottoms

TAC34 saw the first raft of revisions to Grant Hutchison's 1996 booklet World Tops and Bottoms - High and low points of all countries and their dependencies, but the world being what it is, there is already plenty of scope for further carto-political meddling. So brace yourself for more news from a world where Gbahm Mountain is far higher than any Graham, where Doyle's Delight isn't just a sequel to The French Connection and where Galdh°piggen is finally spelt correctly. In what follows, the page numbers in brackets refer to the original booklet.

New highest points

Jordan (p7)Jabal Umm al Dami (Mount Um Adaami)1854m29║18'N35║26'E
Croatia (p9)Dinara1831m44║04'N16║23'E
Belize (p12)Doyle's Delight1174m16║30'N89║03'E

The stories of Dinara and Doyle's Delight were told last time. My thanks go to Nigel Gallop for pointing out the existence of Jabal Umm ad-Dami, in a remote southern corner of Jordan, and to Sakher Smeirat at the Jordanian National Information Centre, who confirmed its national high point status and provided the latitude and longitude. It replaces the previous record holder, 1754m Jabal Ramm.

New names

I can only apologise for the hash made of the last New Names section. A little more care has gone into this edition.

Cameroon (p3)FakoLocal alternative to Mt Cameroon
South Africa (p3)MafadiReplaces eNjesuthi (error)
Zambia (p4)NamitowaPreviously unnamed
Sierra Leone (p4)Loma MansaAlternative to Bintimani
Arab Emirates (p4)Jabal YibirPreviously unnamed
Liberia (p5)Gbahm MountainPreviously unnamed
Tajikistan (p6)pik Imeni Ismail SamaniReplaces pik Garmo (renamed)
Kyrgyzstan (p6)Jengish ChokusuReplaces pik Pobedy (renamed)
Kazakhstan (p6)Khan Tńngiri ShyngyLocal alternative to pik Khan-Tengri
Iraq (p7)Gundah ZhurReplaces Rawanduz (error)
Turkmenistan (p7)AyrybabaPreviously unnamed
Norway (p8)Galdh°piggenReplaces Galdh°ppigen (misspelled)
Belarus (p9)gora SvyatayaReplaces gora Dzerzinskaja (renamed)
Turks & Caicos Is (p11)Blue HillsPreviously unnamed
New Zealand (p12)AorakiLocal alternative to Mount Cook
Australia (p12)Mount KosciuszkoReplaces Kosciusko (spelling change)
Pitcairn Islands (p13)Pawala Valley PointPreviously unnamed
Jan Mayen (p14)Haakon VII ToppenHighest point on Beerenberg crater rim
Bouvet Island (p14)OlavtoppenPreviously unnamed
Peter I Island (p15)Lars ChristensentoppenPreviously unnamed

Last time I gave Pawala Valley Ridge as the highest point in Pitcairn, but I've since discovered that Pawala Valley Ridge culminates in Pawala Valley Point.

As mentioned in the Notes to World Tops and Bottoms, I never liked Rawanduz for the Iraqi high point, and I can now confirm that the name applies to a nearby village - the mountain is Gundah Zhur. (But thanks go to Mags Hunter and Richard Selman for pointing out the error of my ways with the Botswana highest point, on which I cast similar doubts - it really is called Otse, and so is the village next to it.)

The ex-Soviet republics have been busy renaming their mountains - and you can hardly blame Belarus for wanting to forget their most famous son, Feliks Dzerzhinsky, first boss of the Soviet secret police.

I messed up the spelling of Galdh°piggen, but the Australian map-makers messed up Kosciuszko - named in 1840 in honour of Polish statesman Tadeusz KoŢciuszko, but spelled without the "z" until 10 April 1997, when the New South Wales state government set the record straight. Belated thanks go to Phil Harmston for flagging this one - we exchanged mail in summer 1997, when the Australian Embassy was still denying all knowledge of the change.

The South African highest point continues to dog me. You won't find a high-point list that doesn't give the name eNjesuthi / Injasuti, but a check with the Mountain Club of South Africa reveals that Injasuti Dome is a 3410m summit 1.4 kilometres east of the highest point, which is called Mafadi. Thanks to Steve Cooke of the MCSA for straightening that one out.

New heights

Below are the current height changes, with a brief note of their sources.

Morocco (p3)Jebel Toubkal4167m(Hamish Brown)
St Helena & Deps (p4)Queen Mary's Peak2060m(Ordnance Survey)
Malaysia (p5)Gunong Kinabalu4095m(Resurvey 1997)
Svalbard (p9)Newtontoppen1713m(Resurvey 1996)
Canada (p10)Mount Logan5959m(Resurvey 1992)
Paraguay (p12)Unnamedc 900m(Military Geographic Institute)
Pitcairn Islands (p13)Pawala Valley Point347m(Friends of Pitcairn)
Marshall Islands (p13)Likiep Atoll6m(Marshallese government)
Bouvet Island (p14)Olavtoppen780m(Norwegian Polar Institute)
Johnston & Sand (p14)Summit Peak5m(CIA World Factbook 1999)
Ashmore & Cartier (p14)Unnamed3m(CIA World Factbook 1999)
Coral Sea Islands Terr (p14)Cato Island6m(CIA World Factbook 1999)
Kingman Reef (p14)Unnamed1m(CIA World Factbook 1999)
Palestinian Entity (p15)Jebel Quruntulc 225m(Survey of Israel)
Australian Antarctic (p15)Dome Argus4039m(GTOPO30 database)
Argentine Antarctic (p15)Mount Jackson3184m(Resurvey 1997)
British Antarctic (p15)Mount Jackson3184m(Resurvey 1997)
AdÚlie Land (p15)Unnamed3102m(GTOP30 database)
Peter I Island (p15)Lars Christensentoppen1695m(Norwegian Polar Institute)

The Canadian Geographic expedition to resurvey Mount Logan summited on 6 June 1992, well before World Tops and Bottoms was published, but they forgot to let me know - oops. Mount Jackson was resurveyed in late 1997 by a team from the British Antarctic Survey, who reported the summit to be an overhanging mushroom of snow, which presumably may vary in height by a few metres from year to year. Thanks to Chris Doake for passing on their results. The Norwegian Polar Institute resurveyed both Newtontoppen and another mountain called Perriertoppen, both of which had been previously credited with a height of 1717m. Perriertoppen has now been demoted to 1712m, leaving Newtontoppen as the undisputed highest point. The Kinabalu resurvey was mentioned last time, but needs updating. They summited on 25 June 1997 and the Chief Minister of Sabah made a live broadcast from the top, giving the height of Low's Peak as 4093.372m - the implausible millimetric accuracy suggests someone reading aloud from a GPS receiver. By 17 August 1997 a bit of faffing around with geoids and suchlike had occurred, and the Prime Minister officially announced: "Low's Peak is the highest point of Mount Kinabalu at 4095.2 metres." There then followed a bizarre statement that the June height was measured relative to the "Global Positioning System (the British system)" while the August height was "based on the World Geodetic System 84 (the American system)." This makes so little sense that it actually sheds darkness on the whole affair, I'm afraid.

"But what about Everest?" I hear well-read TACers cry (is there any other kind?). Everest has been resurveyed twice in the last two years. The American Everest Expedition nailed down a height of 8838m on 20 May 1998. A year later, the Millennium Expedition nailed down a height of 8850m. Frankly, your guess is as good as mine - there have now been at least four very precise but mutually incompatible measurements made in the last 15 years. I'm also waiting for the dust to settle on the German GPS expedition to Kilimanjaro, which reported at the end of last year that the height of Uhuru Point was 5892m - three metres lower than previously stated.

The highest point in Paraguay is steadfastly unnamed, but a bit higher than usually reported. The current (1982) 1:200000 map of Guairß Province from the Paraguayan Military Geographical Institute gives no spot height but shows a loop of 900m contour surrounding the summit, which lies in the euphonious Cordillera de Ybyturuz˙. Some tables give the highest point a name - General Eugenio A Garay - but that turns out to be a nearby village.

The 1:100000 Survey of Israel map of Jebel Quruntul shows it as a subsidiary summit of a 301m peak on (at present) Israeli soil - no spot height, but a loop of contour at 225m.

The CIA have revised their highest point for the much-vandalised US territory of Johnston and Sand Islands. The whole place was bulldozed into an airstrip in the 1930s and 40s so five metres seems about right, but it does make the phrase "Summit Peak" even more risible than before.

The GTOPO30 database provides an average height for every square kilometre of the Earth's land surface. The Antarctic icecap is so level in the vicinity of the Australian Antarctic and AdÚlie Land highest points I feel able to quote an exact height with confidence, pending further global warming. And on the theme of global warming, the government of the Marshall Islands seems suddenly to be taking a keen interest in the national highest point, and now includes details in official statistics (which is handy, given that the country is so low it is rumoured that there is no word for "contour" in Marshallese). Perhaps they're planning where they're all going to stand when sea level rises.

And the "Friends of Pitcairn", in case you're wondering, is an email forum full of folk who own out-of-print maps of Pitcairn Island. Thanks to Paul Lareau for putting me in contact with them.

New territories

As previously reported, the USA seems to administer Howland, Baker and Jarvis Islands as separate territories, so I might as well list highest points for each individually - those below are the latest from the CIA, who do seem to be having trouble making their minds up. Clipperton is an uninhabited French coral atoll I missed from my original list, and Corsica turns out to have had limited self-government since 1992, making it a collectivitÚ territoriale, deserving its own entry.

Jarvis Island (US)Unnamed7m0║23┤S160║02┤W
Baker Island (US)Unnamed8m0║15┤N176║27┤W
Howland Island (US)Unnamed3m0║48┤N176║38┤W
Clipperton Island (Fr)Rocher Clipperton21m0║17┤N109║13┤W
Corsica (Fr)Monte Cinto2710m42║23┤N8║56┤E

And finally...

There's a mountain in the Gissar Range in Uzbekistan called pik Imeni Dvadtsat' Vtorogo Parts-yezda KPSS. I just wanted to share that with you.

Grant Hutchison

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