Surveyor: Odakota Mountain’s elevation lower than thought

June 2, 2019

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s second-highest peak is a little lower than advertised, according to a Nebraska surveyor.

Jerry Penry, a 52-year-old professional surveyor from Lincoln, Nebraska, pegged Odakota Mountain’s elevation at 7,197.7 feet above sea level. That’s about 2 to 12 feet lower than previously published figures.

His new survey using modern equipment and GPS found the mountain in the Black Hills still high enough to rank No. 2 on the list of named South Dakota peaks.

“We have the technology to get stuff right,” Penry told the Rapid City Journal.

South Dakota’s topographical giant belongs to Black Elk Peak, which Penry surveyed in 2016 and found to be 7,231 feet, rather than the widely published 7,242 feet.

Penry visited Odakota Mountain last month. The peak is 45 miles west-southwest of Rapid City.

To get the elevation Penry set up a GPS receiver on a tripod and let it communicate with dozens of satellites in space for more than four hours. He ran the resulting data through the National Geodetic Survey’s Online Positioning User Service to determine Odakota’s true elevation.

A report from that service gave Penry a high degree of precision.

When Penry goes on vacation from his surveying job in Nebraska, he does more surveying. But he doesn’t always survey peaks. On other adventures, he has tracked down historical surveying markers and boundary monuments, and places such as the “pole of inaccessibility,” which is the farthest point from a coastline. In North America, it’s in Bennett County, South Dakota.

“Odakota” is a Dakota Sioux word meaning friendship, alliance or a peaceful relationship, but the name was not bestowed on the mountain by Native Americans. The late Loretta Bradfelt, who co-owned land near the mountain’s base, proposed the name in 1968 and successfully petitioned the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to accept it.


Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

All contents © copyright 2019 The Associated Press.All rights reserved.