Pilot Peak (Nevada)
Pilot Peak, looking northwest from Interstate 80 in Utah
|Elevation||10,720 ft (3,267 m)|
|Prominence||5,726 ft (1,745 m)|
|Location||Elko County, Nevada, U.S.|
|Topo map||USGS Pilot Peak|
Pilot Peak is a mountain in far eastern Elko County, Nevada in the western United States. It is the highest point and the predominant mountain of the Pilot Range, which straddles the border between Nevada and Utah. It rises over 6,400 feet (1,951 m) above the Great Salt Lake Desert to the east, making it one of the largest mountains in terms of local relief in the contiguous United States.
Pilot Peak was named in 1845 for its use as an easily recognized landmark. John C. Fremont saw the peak from the east during his third expedition, mapping the Great Basin. Wondering whether his entire party could cross the desert he sent Kit Carson ahead to scout for water sources. Finding a perennial spring just east of the peak, Carson lit a large bonfire, the smoke from which signaled Fremont that the crossing was possible.
In 1846 the Donner Party also used the peak as a landmark for their crossing of the Great Salt Lake Desert, part of the Hastings Cutoff emigrant route. Running out of water, they had to temporarily abandon their wagons and oxen in order to reach the springs (now called Donner Springs) at the base of the peak. They eventually recovered most of their stock animals and wagons, and continued their journey to the California Trail and the Sierra Nevada mountains.
- "Pilot Peak". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
- "Pilot Peak". SummitPost.org. http://www.summitpost.org/page/153161. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
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