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Thread: Darby Field and the "First" Ascent of Mt. Washington

  1. #16
    Senior Member Fisher Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul View Post
    Approx distance to visual horizon assuming a spherical earth.
    d=sqrt(13*h)
    d (distance) in km
    h (viewpoint height) in m

    d=sqrt(1.5*h)
    d (distance) in mi
    h (viewpoint height) in ft



    Doug
    Holy cow. My head hurts.
    " by reason of much foule weather and Extreme Bad Woods to travel in.."- From the letter of my great uncle Samuel Willard (accompanied by my grandfather Henry) to Governor Dummer on August 16, 1725, explaining the reason for his return, being instructed to "range all the country", of the Wawobadenik (White Mountains) July 19-August 16, 1725. I am a 13th generation New Englander and proud of it.

    LIVE FREE OR DIE - DEATH IS NOT THE GREATEST OF EVILS
    Gen. John Stark July 1809

  2. #17
    Senior Member Mats Roing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
    Curvature of the earth isn't much of a factor at the distance between Mt Washington and Mt Adams (four miles) - something like ten feet of apparent height would be lost to curvature of the earth at that distance.
    Yes, but the curvature to the horizon amounts to considerably more........

    Here are some great formulas: http://tchester.org/sgm/analysis/pea...ew_params.html
    Last edited by Mats Roing; 05-08-2009 at 05:20 PM.

  3. #18
    Senior Member RoySwkr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fisher Cat View Post
    J. Rayner Edmands claims that he built the Edmands Path up to the proximity of Eisenhower based on an old footpath leading to what turned out to be exposed rhyolite, a perfect stone for tools. There was evidence it had been worked. That's not too far from reaching the summit.
    Interesting, but the miners themselves were still miles from the summit including all the above-treeline section. But if Indians were out prospecting they might have had a reason to visit the summit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I thought the Native Americans thought it was sacriligious or they were superstitious about climbing it?
    The particular Indians that Darby Field met refused to go to the top, and didn't know anyone who had. No artifacts have been found high on the mountain. That doesn't mean that nobody had been there before, just that any such thought is pure speculation. Members of some other tribe could have been there or somebody had climbed it but was afraid to tell his tribe and accept blame for any bad luck. Given thousands of years of
    human habitation, I would think somebody had been there.

    The Watermans' emphasis was on the fact that only a few years after Plymouth Colony was founded, this guy made a trek into an unknown region and climbed a mountain that no information was available for - quite the adventure whether he was first or not. He was not a government-sponsored explorer or a mineral prospector or a real estate promoter, but rather the first known Boston peakbagger :-) They also speculated on his route.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Fisher Cat's Avatar
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    RoySwkr brings up some good points. Though local Abenakis may have had some reservations about ascending such a peak, there were other tribes which made their own forays into the area. The Mohawks are but one example as they were in territiorial disputes with them quite a bit. They may not have had the superstitious fears.

    A factor in Field's favor for having made it to the top and knowing how to do so is, of course, the fact that he returned again for a second ascent and that time with a larger party. Unless, that is in dispute as well, which if it is I'm unaware.
    Last edited by Fisher Cat; 05-09-2009 at 10:30 PM. Reason: forgot something
    " by reason of much foule weather and Extreme Bad Woods to travel in.."- From the letter of my great uncle Samuel Willard (accompanied by my grandfather Henry) to Governor Dummer on August 16, 1725, explaining the reason for his return, being instructed to "range all the country", of the Wawobadenik (White Mountains) July 19-August 16, 1725. I am a 13th generation New Englander and proud of it.

    LIVE FREE OR DIE - DEATH IS NOT THE GREATEST OF EVILS
    Gen. John Stark July 1809

  5. #20
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    Bump.

    Maybe we should grab a pint at a pub in Manchvegas after the talk (i.e., Strange Brew)?

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoySwkr View Post
    The particular Indians that Darby Field met refused to go to the top, and didn't know anyone who had. No artifacts have been found high on the mountain. That doesn't mean that nobody had been there before, just that any such thought is pure speculation. Members of some other tribe could have been there or somebody had climbed it but was afraid to tell his tribe and accept blame for any bad luck. Given thousands of years of human habitation, I would think somebody had been there.

    The Watermans' emphasis was on the fact that only a few years after Plymouth Colony was founded, this guy made a trek into an unknown region and climbed a mountain that no information was available for - quite the adventure whether he was first or not. He was not a government-sponsored explorer or a mineral prospector or a real estate promoter, but rather the first known Boston peakbagger :-) They also speculated on his route.

    Excellent talk by Allen Koop in Candia on Tuesday night. Pretty much as Roy recalls, although Allen speculates that Field may have ascended Mount Washington in June 1641 rather than June 1642, which was the month and year that Mass. Gov. John Winthrop's summary was published. Although Winthrop was the first identified source, another earlier source, and probably the intermediary between Field and Winthrop, was found much later in written materials recovered in the U.K. (Field was illiterate and unlikely conferred directly with Winthrop; the intermediary source was someone based in Saco who met Field before and after his adventures). The Winthrop summary is quoted in Wikipedia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darby_Field

    Also, Allen provided much interesting speculation about Field's route, which for hundreds of years was believed to be from the east (i.e., Pinkham Notch), but a reading of Winthrop's account makes more sense if Field ascended from the south, either along the southern Presi peaks (later the Crawford Path) or Montalban ridge (over Mount Isolation). The southern Presi route makes much more sense to me, as Montalban would have been the mother of all White Mountain bushwhacks. Also, references by Field to lots of snow in June seem reasonable, as 1641 (and 1642) were in the heart of the Little Ice Age when Boston Harbor was frozen solid, etc.

    Whether or not native Americans ascended Mount Washington before 1641 most likely will never be known, unless a third source materializes in which Field credits his guides with having made earlier ascents. Just as we still await the finding of Mallory's camera.

  7. #22
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    Wilmot Public Library, 4 pm, Sunday, 28 February 2010

    Here's another opportunity for those of you who have not heard/seen Allen Koop's slide talk on Darby Field & the "First" Ascent of Mt. Washington, which is excellent, IMHO (see blurbs in earlier posts).

    Hosted by the Wilmot Historical Society; Contact: Rosanna Dude, 603.526.6804.

    Wilmot is a few miles west of Franklin, N.H., just north of Rt. 11; you can Google or Mapquest "Wilmot, NH, Public Library" for detailed directions.

  8. #23
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    Hmm. If there is curvature from apparent mass involved, then the gravitational effects on light path must be considered. Einstein's Field Equations are:

    G_{\mu \nu} + \Lambda g_{\mu \nu}= {8\pi G\over c^4} T_{\mu \nu}


    (How do you paste stuff in here?)

  9. #24
    Senior Member J.Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nartreb View Post
    Tie a weight to a piece of string, and tie the other end of the string about halfway along a pole. Hold the pole up by your eye, and sight along it like a rifle as you point it at Adams. Have a friend standing to the side look at the angle between the string and the pole - is the angle larger on the side towards your eye or on the side toward Adams? The larger angle is on the side of the higher object.
    Does the pole have to be carbon fibre, or is aluminum OK?

    Can the weight be an unladen sparrow?

    "Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball."

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  10. #25
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    North Woodstock Town Office Building, 7 pm, Thursday, 29 April 2010

    Here is another chance to see Allen Koop's slide talk "Darby Field and the "First" Ascent of Mt. Washington" up north. I believe that the North Woodstock Town Office Building is just up Rt. 112 to the west of the junction with Rt. 3 (#165 Lost River Road is on the south side of the road, I think).

    http://local.yahoo.com/NH/North+Wood...nity/City+Hall
    Last edited by Dr. Dasypodidae; 04-01-2010 at 04:12 PM.

  11. #26
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    This thread may be too old to be resurrected, but I thought I'd inject my own take on Field's ascent. Here is a link to an article published in Appalachia in the Winter/Spring 2013 issue. I believe that Field had been employed by the Laconia Company to reach Lake Champlain for the purpose of establishing a fur trade with the natives - something that had proved very profitable for the French to the north. The "best" map at the time, by none other than Samuel deChamplain, showed Lake Champlain to be much closer to the Atlantic than it is. My supposition is that Field, having traveled as far as he thought the lake should be, then climbed the highest peak to try and at least see the lake. As one of the posts mentioned, he climbed it again later that summer with members of the Laconia Company. And still later that same summer, another group climbed Washington without Field - apparently still thinking that they could see the lake. After that, it was many years before the next ascent, but likely sooner than my final statement. So, here's the link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...f=true&sd=true

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