Devils Crags P750 SPS / WSC

Tue, Aug 14, 2007

With: Matthew Holliman
Jeff Dhungana

Etymology Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 Profile

Devils Crags (12,420 ft.)

Named by J.N. LeConte in 1902

"Named by J. N. LeConte sometime before 1903, since the name is in LeConte's list of peaks in the Sierra Nevada over 12,000 feet. (SCB 4, no. 4, June 1903: 285-91.)"
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada

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"There are in California between 150 and 200 topographical features that are named for the Prince of Darkness. Probably no other state can equal this number. We have not only many forbidding places in mountains and forests where he might abide, but also an assortment of weird formations of basalt, sandstone, and lava, as well as numberous evil-smelling pools and wells, which people like to connect with the devil. Besides the common generic terms, the most popular terms found are Gate, Punchbowl, Den, Kitchen, Gap, Backbone. There are a number of unusual combinations: Devils Speedway [Death Valley NP], Devils Rock Garden [Shasta Co.], Devils Playground [San Bernardino Co.], Devils Half-Acre [Shasta Co.], Devilwater Creek [Kern Co.], Devils Parade Ground [Tehama Co.], Devils Heart Peak [Ventura Co.], Devils Nose [Calaveras Co.], and Devils Head Peak [Napa Co.]. (Note that the absence of the apostrophe in all these names is in compliance with a general rule laid down by the U.S. Board on Geographical Names.) The name is also applied to a town: Devils Den [Kern Co.]. The bend in the Sacramento River, north of Colusa, was once known as Devil's Hackle. The 'devilish' names in Geyser Canyon [Sonoma Co.] were already current in 1867 - Devils Gristmill, Inkstand, Laboratory, Pulpit, Quartzmill, etc. Well-known features are Devils Postpile National Monument [Madera Co.], a strange pile of basalt columns established as a national monument, July 6, 1911; Devils Crags [Kings Canyon NP], named by J. N. LeConte in 1906; Devils Golf Course [Death Valley NP], a wide expanse of jagged salt hummocks on which only the devil could play golf; and Devils Garden [Riverside Co.], an immense thicket of cactus. Devils Homestead [Lava Beds NM] is so named because of the weird appearance of the formation along the west boundary of the Monument caused by a recent lava flow (i.e. only a few centuries old). Devil's Mush Pot Cave [Lava Beds NM]: J. D. Howard originally applied the name Devil's Mush Pot to the small crater near Indian Well, and the name Pots to the cave south of Hercules Leg because there were 'two stonewhirl pools' on the floor of the lower chamber. "
- Erwin G. Gudde, California Place Names


References to can also be found in these files:

  • More of Bob's Trip Reports

    For more information see these SummitPost pages: Devils Crags

    This page last updated: Sat Apr 7 17:02:14 2007
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