As the Boxer-McKeon Wilderness Bill works through Washington DC, another bill that affects our local mountains is also in the works. Last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer introduced legislation to change the name of a prominent Sierra Peak to honor former executive director of the Sierra Club David Brower.
If this legislation passes, North Palisade, high above Big Pine, would become the Brower Palisade. 14,242 North Palisade is the highest peak in the popular Palisade region of the Sierra, and the fourth highest peak in California after Whitney, Williamson, and White Mountain.
North Palisade is popular with climbers, because the summit is so difficult to reach, but also popular with hikers who like to walk up and view the glacier on the mountains flanks, the largest glacier in the Sierra Nevada.
Naming the North Palisade Peak after David Brower is a fitting tribute to a man who loved the High Sierra and all of Americas wilderness, said Senator Boxer. David Brower was a conservationist-hero and generations will come to know of his passion and achievements.
Brower was an aggressive conservationist who founded the group Friends of the Earth after being fired from his job as director of the Sierra Club in 1967. He took on the Sierra Club job after serving in the 10th Mountain Division during WWII.
It appears that a group called the Committee for Brower Palisade pushed state Attorney General Jerry Brown to ask for the name change. In a letter to Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown lists supporters as former Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, Amory Lovins, Ed Bagley Jr., and climbers Yvon Chouinard, Steve Roper and Allen Steck.
The peak was reportedly a favorite of Brower.
RJ Secor does credit Brower with the first winter ascent of the U Notch Couloir in 1940, in his guide to the High Sierra Peaks Passes and Trails.
The peak marks the boundary with Fresno County. Whether or not anyone locally was consulted on the matter is not known.