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Alaska program seeks to officially name peak ‘Gorgon Spire’

June 3, 2019

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska outdoor education program is trying to officially name a mountain peak, a report said.

The Juneau Icefield Research Program is seeking recognition of the name “Gorgon Spire” for one challenging peak, The Juneau Empire reported Friday.

Program faculty member Scott McGee submitted a geographic name proposal to the Alaska Historical Commission in February for the peak 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Juneau.

The program in Juneau provides students training and research opportunities in Earth sciences, wilderness survival, and mountaineering skills.

McGee was prepared to submit a different name before finding that the peak was referred to as Gorgon Spire — after the Greek word “gorgos” meaning grim or dreadful — in old editions of the Alpine Journal and American Alpine Journal.

Program members at one time were “going all over the icefield and climbing all sorts of things,” while giving areas unofficial names. McGee learned they named the peak Gorgon Spire in 1969.

“Even to us JIRPers that have been with the program for a long time, a lot of these place names that they came up with back then are sort of lost to history because they didn’t really document these things really well in writing,” McGee said.

The historical commission will decide whether to submit Gorgon Spire to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. A public comment period is open through the end of June.

The process normally takes about six months, said Jo Antonson, Alaska deputy state historic preservation officer.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com

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