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Summit Signatures

16G Telegraph Peak

Location: San Bernardino County, California

Named for uncertain reasons. There are several similarly named spots in California, but not all of them were so named because of their use for telegraphic purposes. The most commonly accepted explanation for this name [Wheelock, et al] is that a heliograph [a signaling apparatus that reflects sunlight with a movable mirror to flash coded messages] was temporarily placed on the summit by the USGS as a means to signal 22 miles to Mount Wilson, and that it was briefly known as Heliograph Hill (1896). The fuzzy part is how and when this was shifted to the present name.

Another story [Will Thrall citing "an old prospector"] told of a murder that was committed in a nearby canyon and of a deputy sheriff who spotted a suspect fleeing along the canyon rim. The Deputy then climbed this peak to signal the posse. The manner in which this signaling was done remains unclear.

A third story, and the most common supposition, is that there once was some sort of commercial enterprise on this summit, but neither Western Union or any other company is known to have ever used this peak for any purpose.

It may be that this name is in no way connected with the actual act of signaling, but instead was given based on the idea of communication at a distance since the view from the top is almost unlimited. While not named, it is first noted by elevation 7700' on the Wheeler Survey Atlas sheet 73 (1878).

Name first appears on California State Mining Bureau Preliminary map of California (1891).

Peak was on the original 1946 HPS Peak List. Weldon Heald climbed this peak in 1934.

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