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Fremont Peak, 1842

"[The Range] is correctly represented in the view from the camp on Island Lake." p. 67, 1843 Report

Above, in single view juxtaposition, are the two Preuss drawings as published in the 1843 Report of Frémont 's first expedition. Note the exact correspondence with the image at right, in which the range is rendered from 7.5 minute USGS DEM files using MacDEM and POV-Ray.
The range can also be seen top left in the bottom image on this page.

Other Preuss location drawings and correlations:
go Long Camp at Carson Pass
go Pyramid Lake, Nevada

go See another correlation. And why do the peaks on the right side of the drawing look like spires? And what is a camera obscura?

In making an identification of the 1842 expeditionary route, and identity of the particular peak climbed, all of the following have been examined:
Fremont's narrative, as published in the 1843 Report to Senate of the United States.
Frémont's Tables of Astronomical Observations, and Meteorological and Barometric Registers--appendices to that report.
The Report illustrations, drawn by Charles Preuss.
The 1843 Frémont / Preuss map.
Expedition cartographer Charles Preuss's diary.
See bibliography below.

Frémont's 1842 Route to Frémont Peak

To follow the route from Boulder Lake to Island Lake, it is necessary to consider the 1843 Frémont/Preuss map which accompanied the report. This is an actual size scan from that map of the part of the area being considered. Note the very small size. But the engraving contains very fine detail--enough to enlarge many times.

There is, however, a problem with this area of the map--it is distorted. That distortion is because of a bad determination of longitude made at Boulder Lake on August 10th. Whereas the determination of longitude made at Two Buttes [W109° 37' 51"] on the 9th was nearly correct at W109° 58' 11', the determination at Boulder Lake [W109° 41' 59"] on the 10th of W110° 08' 03" is puts that position on the constructed map relatively too far west by some twenty seconds of arc. Below, we shove it back eastward with Photoshop.

The area north of Boulder Lake needs no correction, as it was drawn using compass bearings only--there were no astronomical observations made between the 10th and the 17th of August.

In this enlarged scan, the problem area has been shifted east to compensate for the longitudinal error. It now shows the route traces to be nearly north from Boulder Lake, instead of northwest in the uncorrected original. Because on the very small size of the original engraving, some of the route tracing cannot be resolved in the northernmost portion.

Note: The features colored blue, to represent water, are not necessarily actually water--this coloring was done by hand on each individual print by people who had no idea of the geography, and any closed shape was painted blue.

There are two astronomical stations shown. The bottom one is the camp near Two Buttes on the New Fork. The upper one is Boulder Lake. Note the engraved date 15 Aug at the upper right, which is the most easterly position--the summit of Frémont Peak.

go See a large trace of the route on an aerial photo.


A Summary of Expedition Movements August 10 and 13, 1842

8/10 Leaves camp on the New Fork River (6933') near Two Buttes and reaches Boulder Lake (7290'). Breaks last remaining barometer crossing the stream.

Fearing Indian trouble from Jim Bridger's report on July 8, over the next two days they build a breastwork to protect the horses and mules.

8/11 Frémont repairs his broken barometer. go The barometer repair.

8/12 Frémont leaves the camp in charge of Bernier with 15 men mounted on mules and 1 pack mule with supplies. They travel north-northeast, and detour around the southwestern side of 3 lakes [Fremont Lake Reservoir 7418'] and then resume the march to the northeast. They camp early, and Frémont collects botanical specimens and, with one of his men, explores a route for the next morning. From an elevation, he espies the "defile" [Fremont Canyon] leading toward the peaks, in which he plans to travel the next day.

8/13 Entering the Fremont Canyon, they pass by several lakes, and near noon, the canyon opens up at Lost lake (9755') and they are presented with a view of the peaks (1st Preuss drawing).
In the afternoon, Frémont leaves the mules in charge of the camp (mule camp), and with Carson, Maxwell, Preuss, Lajeunesse, Ayer, Lambert, Jannisse, and Descoteaux, proceeds on foot toward the mountain peaks without supplies; deceived by the scale of the scene, he believed that he would be able to make the ascent and return before nightfall. Their route was over many steap ridges, and past many small deep lakes.

They arrive at Island Lake (10346') (second Preuss drawing). Preuss, who did not enter it into his diary until the 17th, says it was 11 a.m.--Frémont says it was 4 p.m. They traveled on around the lake and found a camp where the last pines occured, just above the waterfall (10446'). Too tired to attempt the peak, they made an exposed camp without food, blankets, or shelter.

The climbing routes 8/14-8/15 of the two attempts on the summit
of Fremont Peak--the first via Titcomb Valley and second from Indian Basin (11000') are described on the previous page. go



This view to the northeast, shows the route north from the camp on the New Fork River near Two Buttes , to Boulder Lake, and Fremont Lake (reservoir), and then northeast up through Fremont Canyon to Lost Lake:

August 13th: We soon entered the defile I had seen the night before...[it] continued for about three miles, when we suddenly reached its termination in one of the grand views, which, at every turn, meet the traveler in this magnificent region. Here the defile up which we had traveled opened out into a small lawn, where, in a little lake [Lost Lake], the stream [Fremont Creek] had its source. I determined to leave our animals here [Mule Camp] , and make the rest of our way on foot.

This image was rendered from USGS DEM files using MacDEM and POV_Ray. The Wind River Range, and Frémont and Jackson Peaks, are shown as in the Preuss drawing above--the first view on the approach as in the above quotation (a), and the second from Island Lake (b).


For the routes (2 routes on two days) of the actual climb of Frémont Peak, return to the page Wind River Range: My own views on the peak climbed in 1842 go


Bowditch, Nathaniel, Ll. D., The New American Practical Navigator, E. and G. W. Blunt, New York, 23rd Edition, 1853 (includes year 1842).

Frémont, J.C., Lieutenant, A Report on an Exploration of the Country Lying Between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, on the Line of the Kansas and Great Platte Rivers, Senate Document 243, Washington, 1843. Contains the 1843 Frémont/Preuss map.

Greely, Gen. A. W., American Weather, Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, 1888.

Middleton, W. E. Knowles, A History of the Barometer, The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1964.

Negretti & Zambra, A Treatise on Meteorological Instruments, London, 1864.

Nicollet, Joseph Nicolas, Essay on Meteorological Observations, Printed by order of the War Department, Washington, 1839.

Nicollet, Joseph, eds. Bray, Martha Coleman, The Journals of Joseph N. Nicollet, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, 1970.

Plympton, George W., The Aneroid Barometer; Its Construction and Use, D. Van Nostrand Company, New York, 1884.

Preuss, Charles, Exploring With Frémont, Translated by Erwin G. and Elisabeth K., Gudde, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1958.

Williamson, R. S., On the Use of the Barometer on Surveys and Reconnaissances: part I, Meteorology in its Connection with Hypsometry; part II, Barometric Hypsometry; New York, D. Van Nostrand, 1868.

©1999, 2007
Bob Graham