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Summit Signatures

27F San Jacinto Peak

Location: San Bernardino County, California

Named after a Saint Hyacinth (there were many). Phil Townsend Hanna (1896-1957), who admitted to having read all 12 volumes of Hubert Howe Bancroffs History of California while Editor of Westways (1926-57), believed it was Hyacintha of Mariscotti (1585-1640), a lady of Viterbo (Italy) who joined the third Order of Saint Francis, and is credited with many conversions and miracles. However, Gudde and Robinson prefer Saint Hyacinth of Silisia (1185-1231) who was part of the Dominican Order (feast day is August 16), and is credited with many conversions in Tibet and China. Whoever it was, the use here is derived from the (Spanish) Rancho San Jacinto (1821). which was located in the flatlands west of the peak and attached to Mission San Luís Rey. It antedated the (Mexican Land Grant) Rancho San Jacinto y San Gorgonio (1843).

This peak has been known by a great variety of names. Here at least we are fortunate that the remoteness of this peak and the toughness of the local Indians allowed their cultural memory to survive until it could be recorded by ethnologists. Archives of the Asistencia at San Bernardino cite the local Indian name as Jaguara, whereas Chief Francisco Patencio of the Western Cahuilla said it was called I-a-kitch (meaning "smooth cliffs")-Kroeber rendered this as the Serrano term Ayakaitch, Robinson Aya Kitch, and Strong wrote it as Aiakaic. Curtis recorded Tepachiwut as the Cahuilla name. Leon stated the Soboba name was Ya mí vo. It is the place where the ancient ones of the Cauhilla "Dream time" came after their wanderings following the death of the creator Mukat. Those who were too tired to reach the top turned to rocks and trees. Those who reached the top slept and upon awakening saw the promised green fields in the distance. Those who stopped on the way turned into birds. In another Cahuilla story, this peak is called Pawi, which was the home of dawn boy who was enamored of mist maiden who lived on Mount Palomar. It was also the home of Dakush a low flying meteor that was the legendary founder of their people, as well as the home of the horrible demon Dakwish or Tahquitz. Alternatively, Sparkman cites the Luiseño Indian Yamiwa, while DuBois recorded the name as Taakwi. The northern Diegueño Indians knew it as Emtetei-Chaup-nyuwa (meaning "'Chaup's house' Peak"). According to Kroeber, Chaup was the Diegueño name for Tahquitz.

The first Euro-American to see this peak was most likely Captain Pedro Fages (1730-94), who in pursuit of deserters from San Diego, skirted the foothills south and southwest of these mountains (1772). Later as acting Governor of California, Lieutenant Colonel Fages authorized the founding, by Gaspar de Portolá, of el pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles sobre el Rio de Porciúncula (1781) 2. Others were soon to pass near by San Jacinto, Juan Bautista de Anza noted it as "a high snow-covered mountain" (1774). The first known American in the vicinity was Paulino Weaver, a Tennessee fur trapper-he and other trappers were hunting and cutting timber in the nearby valleys as early as 1846.

In the first real map of Los Angeles, Lieutenant Edward Otho Cresap Ord (181843) cited this peak as Ygnacia Mt (1849).

The current name was first approximated by surveyor Henry Washington who called the entire range San Jacinto Mountain (1853). It was confirmed as San Jacinto Mts by the Surveyor General's Map of Public Surveys in California (1855).

There then followed a period of confusion with interchangeable use of area names. Lieutenant Robert S. Williamson named it San Gorgoña (1857), then Dr. Thomas Antisell, chief geologist of Lieutenant John G. Parke's Pacific Railroad Survey, identified it as San Jacinto (1859). It was first given its current full name by Lieutenant Eric Bergland on an ascent of this summit while part of the Wheeler Survey (1876).

The first known climb, as cited in the San Diego Union (September 16, 1874), was by a party of five men led by "F. from Riverside" who alone made the summit. Climbs for pleasure then became common in the 1880's.

Sierra Club Founder John Muir (1838-1914) scaled San Jacinto (1887), and exclaimed "The view is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth."

The first trail was constructed via Devil's Slide by the USGS (1896), later many others were built by the CCC in the 1930's.

The first mountaineering ascent was made by Sierra Club rock climbers Howard J. Sloan, Morgan Leonard, and Glenn Rickenbough (April 16, 1932). The first such solo ascent was made by Sam Fink (May 30, 1932). Another HPS hiker, Sid "San Jac" Davis holds the record for the most ascents, currently over 600.

The name "San Jacinto" was first printed in Hutchings' Illustrated California Magazine (1856). Name appears on the "Sketch of a Portion of Southern California" prepared by Lieutenant Bergland for the Wheeler Survey Atlas vol. I (1876).

This is both the high point of the San Jacinto Mountains and all the Penninsular Ranges in California.

Name first appears on USGS San Jacinto quad. (1901).


2-The Porciúncula (now known as the Los Angeles River) was the name given to this stream prior to the founding of the pueblo. [Yes, it was once a river before the needs of a thirsty city drained it dry, with trout fishing still possible as late as 1880.] Portolá, leading that part of the "Sacred Expedition" that founded Monterey, arrived by its banks the day after the Franciscan jubilee of Our Lady Queen of the Angels of Porciúncula (August 1, 1769). There is no seraphic host designated by this name, but there is a chapel in Italy. This naming deferred to Saint Francis (1181-1226) and to his chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli a Porziuncola, located on the plain below Assisi, where he received his call and which became the first center of the Franciscan Order (1209). The name was first abbreviated to "Porciúncula" by Miguel Costansó in his Diario histórico (1770). Note that "Nuestra Señora" although part of the original name of the river, was never a part of the official name of the pueblo. Attempts at making this addition began with well meaning Anglo civic boosters, who sought to aggrandize local pride by inflating the city's name (ca.1880).

Peak was on the original 1946 HPS Peak List. Weldon Heald climbed this peak in 1932.

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