Forum Index > Trip Reports > Luna, East Fury, West Fury Theodolite Survey, Oct 22-23, 2022
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Eric Gilbertson
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Joined: 04 Jul 2018
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Location: Seattle
Eric Gilbertson
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PostWed Oct 26, 2022 10:02 pm 
Luna Peak, East Fury, West Fury Theodolite Survey Oct 22 Ė 23, 2022 8:30pm Saturday to 11:30pm Sunday (27 hours continuous) 54 miles (45 hiking, 9 boating), 10,000ft gain Eric, Nick, Talon Summary of results: East Fury is 45ft taller than Luna and 51 ft taller than West Fury. Elevations: East Fury 8,356ft +/-8ft, West Fury 8,305ft +/-10ft, Luna Peak 8,311ft (from USGS Quad). Detailed analysis at end of report.
Taking measurements from the false summit of Luna towards East/West Fury (photo by Nick)
Taking measurements from the false summit of Luna towards East/West Fury (photo by Nick)
The Picket Range is one of the most difficult-to-access locations in Washington, and holds some of the highest peaks in the state. Three peaks in the middle of range are each potentially among the hundred highest peaks in the state, but they have never been surveyed carefully enough to know for sure which is tallest, and thus which peak or peaks are among the top 100. It was previously widely accepted that Luna Peak was the highest peak in the range and thus the 99th tallest peak in Washington. But two other peaks Ė East Fury and West Fury Ė are nearby and of very similar elevation. If in fact one of those two peaks is taller than Luna, then this would affect the WA top 100 list. This is significant because many climbers in Washington work on climbing the top 100 peaks after finishing the Bulgers list. This involves climbing seven extra non-Bulger peaks, and one of these seven peaks is currently considered to be Luna. East and West Fury are considerably more difficult than Luna, though they were thought to be lower and are thus seldom climbed. As detailed in this report, I measured East Fury the highest of these three peaks. Thus, I think the WA top 100 list needs to be modified to account for this (likely bumping Castle off, and adding East Fury). As far as Iíve researched, the first survey of these peaks was for the 1953 15-minute USGS Mount Challenger Quad, which listed West Fury (also called Mt Fury) as 8292ft, East Fury as 8288 ft, and Luna as 8285 ft. There is a surveyors X tic on Luna but not on the other peaks. The quad was updated in 1989 to the 7.5-min Mount Challenger Quad. This listed Luna as 8311 ft with a surveyor X tic, but did not give elevations for West Fury or East Fury. They are merely within the 8280ft Ė 8320ft contour lines. (Data provided by John Roper).
The route
The route
Loading up at Ross Dam trailhead
Loading up at Ross Dam trailhead
Hauling the boat and motor down the trail
Hauling the boat and motor down the trail
This 1989 quad is currently the only measurement source Iím aware of for the elevations of these peaks. Thus, based on this map, it is not certain which peak of the three is highest. All lie within the same contour levels, so they are within the error bounds of the measurements. As far as Iíve researched no climbers have brought sight levels up to the peaks, and there does not exist any LiDAR data for this area. Google Earth has SRTM satellite elevation data, and this gives Luna as 7927ft, East Fury 8041ft, and West Fury 7935ft. But this has very high error bounds because the peaks are very sharp. So this data is not sufficient to determine which peak is the highest. One method to determine the highest peak is to bring a professional-grade theodolite to a summit and measure angular inclinations and declinations between the peaks. This is how the original surveys were done for the quads. Another method could be to bring a high-grade GNSS receiver to each summit, take an hour of measurements, and post process the results. Iíve used those GNSS receivers in the past, borrowing them from Compass Data and Waypoint Technologies, but I currently donít have access to them. I do, however, own a theodolite that is accurate enough for such a survey. I recently brought the theodolite up Mt Buckner and determined that the SW summit is 18 inches taller than the NE summit, settling that long-running controversy. Several prominent peakbaggers suggested the Luna-East/West Fury peaks would be another worthwhile measuring objective for my new theodolite. This area of the Pickets was in a fire closure zone in September, but then re-opened in October. I was lucky enough that the peaks still hadnít been covered by much snow in late October, when I had a weekend available. Friday and Saturday were supposed to be the first major snow of the season, but luckily only a few inches. Then Sunday morning looked to be a short clear window before more major snow came. Sunday appeared to be the last possible day this year to sneak in a Luna Ė Fury measurement. Once the peaks get covered in deep snow and cornices that will throw off any height measurements. So I planned to get myself to Luna Peak at sunrise Sunday, when the weather was supposed to be the clearest. Any later and clouds were supposed to build. It was critical that I be able to see between the summits to get clear measurements. Ideally I would climb each peak and sight the other two from the summit, then average out all the measurements to get the most accurate results. But Luna Peak itself is a very long ways in, and East and West Fury are even farther along a technical ridge. The typical approach is to hike 17 miles on trail, then 7 miles bushwhacking up access creek and scrambling to the summit of Luna. So itís a 48 mile round trip just to get Luna. East Fury is another few miles along a technical ridge, and West fury is more technical ridge traversing. I really only had a ~24 hour dry weather window to work with Saturday evening to Sunday evening. Iíve previously climbed Luna Peak in 16.5 hours car-to-car in late October 2018 (as far as I know this is still the current FKT). But that trip was snow-free and I had only a tiny day pack, meaning I could run the trails. On this trip I wanted to haul in 25 pounds of survey equipment, and the upper elevation would be covered in fresh snow. That meant much slower going, and potentially sketchy snowy 5th class climbing to get to East Fury. It really only barely made sense to try to get Luna in this weather window. But that would still be sufficient to get measurements. I would just take the theodolite up Luna and measure angular inclinations/declinations to East Fury and West Fury. Then I could figure out relative heights using some trigonometry. Even though I wouldnít have the backsighting measurements, the error should theoretically still be low enough to judge which is highest.
Assembling the boat
Assembling the boat
Testing out the jeep lights
Testing out the jeep lights
Taking out at Big Beaver at 11pm
Taking out at Big Beaver at 11pm
I had a secondary objective for the trip also. I have a zodiac boat with motor, and itís possible to shave off about 12 miles round trip from the hike by boating up Ross Lake to the Big Beaver trail. Ross Lake is not accessible by road, so itís tricky to get a motorized boat in. Two weeks ago Talon and I launched the zodiac from Diablo Lake, which is accessible by road. We then hauled it up the frontage road between the lakes with my retractable wheels, and boated up to climb Hard Mox. My secondary objective for this trip was to test out double carrying the zodiac down the trail from the Ross Dam trailhead. This is an alternative way to get a motorized boat to Ross Lake, and I wanted to practice this method to see if it was faster than the Diablo Lake method for use on future adventures. That was a lot of gear for one trip. Luckily Talon and Nick were interested in joining. That way we could split the survey gear between us and split the boat hauling so it could be done in two loads. My boat has capactiy for three people with big packs, so it should work. I estimated if we started hiking 8:30pm Saturday evening and pushed through the night without sleeping, that would put us on the summit of Luna around sunrise as desired. That would also have us starting just after the rain Saturday let up, which would be nice. Saturday afternoon we met up at the Ross Dam trailhead at 4pm. We decided to ferry the first load down then, then take a nap, then go down with the second load at 8:30pm. We strapped the 5hp, 60-pound propane motor to Talonís backpack, then strapped the boat and boat accessories to Nickís electric bike. Then I hauled down the 50 pound propane tank and some other gear in my pack. The bike idea seemed good in theory, but was difficult in practice. The trail was very rocky, and the boat kept scraping on rocks. Thatís not good for an inflatable vessel, even though it is very tough. Nick walked the bike down a little bit, but then I got too nervous about the boat and called a stop. I then slung the boat bag over my shoulder and Nick took the propane on his back and a few lighter items on the bike. We made it down 0.6 miles to the road, then stashed the gear in the woods. We hiked back up, then laid down to take a short nap in the truck. Iíve found from a lot of trips that even getting an hour or two of sleep is significantly better than zero hours of sleep. I managed to take a 90 minute nap, then we got up at 8pm and were moving soon after. We decided the bike hauling idea is not actually as good as expected in practice, so we left the bike locked to the bed of the truck and just hauled the next load down all by foot. We soon reached the stashed gear and started assembling the boat. We took turns pumping up the five independent air chambers and mounting the wheels and motor. We then rigged up a rope on the front, deployed the wheels, and loaded the gear inside. Itís very important to have the gear as close to the wheels as possible to make the hauling easier. We dragged the boat on a short flat section, then a half mile downhill to the lake. At the lake I changed into my dry suit and water shoes and handed out life jackets. I also whipped out my new improvement for the boat Ė a set of Jeep off-roading headlights hooked up to a motorcycle battery and tough waterproof velcro. I attached the velcro to the bow of the boat, then mounted the lights. They were extremely bright, and would prove to be very helpful for navigating Ross Lake in the dark. On previous missions I had just used handheld spotlights and headlamps, but these lights are a real game changer. They are waterproof and the battery lasts 6 hours at max setting, so totally sufficient for this trip. We loaded up, then I wrapped all the gear in a tarp. Talon and Nick went to the small dock while I pushed out and rowed the oars to deeper water, then over to the dock. Once we were all inside I pushed the motor down and started it up. We boated into the dark with the bright headlights on. Iíve become pretty familiar with boating on Ross Lake by now, and we easily navigated to the passage through the left side of the water fence. Then we headed up the lake. I have all the topo maps for the area on my gps watch and this was very helpful to navigate in the dark. Talon and Nick kept a close eye out the front for submerged trees while I kept us on course. We went at max throttle, which gets the boat to about 5.6 mph with my 5hp motor. Thatís about as fast as I feel safe going on Ross Lake at night anyways. One improvement I noticed I still need to make is that the super bright lights reflected off the low fog and made visibility not as good as I had hoped. I think if I can make them tilt down more like fog lights that will help.
Massive cedar trees
Massive cedar trees
Luna Camp
Luna Camp
Crossing Big Beaver around 2:30am
Crossing Big Beaver around 2:30am
After about 45 minutes we made it to the Big Beaver takeout. Iíve found that it is important to gradually ease up on the motor when taking out instead of quickly turning it off, so that it starts easily when turning it back on again, though Iím not sure exactly why this works. The lake was too low for the dock to be in the water, so when we got close to shore I eased up, then turned the motor off. I pulled the motor up out of the water then rowed in the last bit with the oars. This ensures the motor doesnít scrape the bottom. We jumped out next to a canoe and a sea kayak, tied the boat up, and unloaded. It was great to have three people then to distribute the survey gear. I took the pelican case with the theodolite, Talon took the tripod, and Nick took a bit of my personal gear to even things out. We soon started up the trail, passing a bunch of tents in the campground and some hikers staying up late around a campfire. I think it was around 11pm then. The fire danger is essentially gone for the season now with so much recent precipitation. I had read the Big Beaver trail had been logged out to Luna Camp in early August, and indeed it was in great shape. We made quick time hiking in, taking a few breaks to admire the massive cedar trees. This is one of the places in Washington with the biggest trees, in my experience. Other good areas are the north fork sauk, the hoh rainforest, and the little beaver creek. After about 3 hours of cruising up the trail we reached Luna Camp and stopped for a break. Past Luna Camp there are multiple ways to gain the Access Creek bushwhack. Early season the Big Beaver Creek runs high and it is critical to find a good log jam to cross at. But, from my experience climbing Luna in October 2018, I new late season the creek is very low and pretty easy to cross. Nonetheless, we didnít want to take any chances. Our friends Steven, Elise, and Dave had climbed Luna in July this year and gave us their GPS track of a good crossing. We hiked up the trail a bit, then followed their bushwhack route to a good logjam. On the other side we bushwhacked a bit up the hill until eventually we stumbled upon a climbers trail on the north side of access creek. I recalled a faint intermittent trail on this side in 2018, but the trail is now in much better shape. I think a lot of climbers have been up that creek in the past four years, which was great news for us. Once we hit this trail our progress was quite fast. It was still overgrown enough to occasionally catch the tripod sticking out of Talonís pack, but he powered through it. Halfway up the trail Talon told us his leg was hurting and it was a bad idea to continue and make it worse. So Nick took the tripod from Talon and Talon decided to hike back out to the boat and wait for us. We each had inreach satellite texting devices so could communicate if there were any problems. Nick and I continued up the trail, and I was able to mostly follow it in the dark, though it occasionally petered out. I always managed to soon find it again, though, and it is really in great shape for an unmaintained trail (nowhere near as good as the Eldorado trail, though). We eventually crossed over to the south side of Access Creek and then hiked through a talus field. I was very happy the snow hadnít accumulated on the talus field, but we would soon find slippery conditions.
Leaving the access creek drainage at sunrise
Leaving the access creek drainage at sunrise
Nice views of the southern pickets (photo by Nick)
Nice views of the southern pickets (photo by Nick)
I led us up the valley below the east face of Luna, then navigated by GPS in the dark to find the correct gully up to the southwest. I got a bit off course but soon corrected. We ascended steeply up the gully, and hit snowline around 5000ft. From there the terrain got more and more slippery. We had brought crampons, but microspikes would have been the correct tool for the job. The snow wasnít really deep enough for crampons so we just climbed up carefully bare booting. It got really slippery in the fist-sized rocks covered in snow, and on the heather. But up higher we found the climber footpads in the dirt that made slight switchbacks, and this was an improvement.
Traversing across the heather slopes
Traversing across the heather slopes
Just as the sun started coming up we crested the notch at 6400ft and were treated to a great view of the southern pickets. The few inches of snow dusting the heather and mountains made it very scenic. We took a short break, shot some pictures, then continued. I remembered the next traverse to be steep heather slopse, so I mounted the pick on my whippet to self arrest if needed. Nick led the way following a faint trail traversing below the south face of Luna.
Traversing the south slope of Luna (photo by Nick)
Traversing the south slope of Luna (photo by Nick)
Heading towards Luna
Heading towards Luna
Approacing Luna Col (photo by Nick)
Approacing Luna Col (photo by Nick)
We cut across the heather then made a rising traverse aiming for Luna Col. Just below the col we took a shortcut and scrambled up to the right to gain the southwest ridge of Luna. The views by then were amazing of East and West Fury and the northern pickets. The sky was clear above us and the valleys were filled with a nice undercast. I was worried, though, since thin wispy clouds were rising up from the valleys on the south side of Luna and the Furies. Maybe the sun was melting some snow and turning it to vapor which was rising. It was critical that we could see all the three peaks to get good measurements. So I kicked it into gear and hiked up very quickly. By 9am I popped out on the false summit of Luna and dropped my pack. My top priority was to get the measurements, then I would worry about scrambling over to tag the summit of Luna. The summit scramble could be done in a whiteout, but the measurements could not.
Approaching Luna Col (photo by Nick)
Approaching Luna Col (photo by Nick)
The view of East Fury through the scope
The view of East Fury through the scope
Nick on the true summit
Nick on the true summit
Nick gave me the tripod and I started setting it up on a big flat sheltered area on the edge of the false summit with good views to East Fury, West Fury, and Luna Peak. I remembered from my Buckner survey that it was very important that I pick a spot big enough that I could carefully and safely get the theodolite perfectly level. On Buckner I had balanced the theodolite exactly over the summit, but this was next to cliffs and made it hard and precarious to get it level. This time I chose a spot where I was certain I could safely get it level, even though it wasnít on the true summit. My plan was to sight the angle up to the summit, then sight the angle up or down to each of East Fury and West Fury. I could then use these angles and the known distances between the points measured from Caltopo, to determine the relative heights. Nick took some pictures while I was setting up, then he started the scramble over to the summit.
Panorama from false summit
Panorama from false summit
I started by getting the theodolite approximately level by eye, and pointed the scope towards East Fury. I then used the tuning dials to get it perfectly level. I would rotate two dials in opposite directions to get one bubble level, then rotated the third dial to get the perpendicular bubble level. I then spun the horizontal disk 90 degrees and repeated. I repeated this all the way around until it was back pointing ast East Fury. Then I double checked to make absolutely certain the vertical bubble was perfectly level. I angled the scope to point exactly at the summit of East Fury. The scope has 30x magnification, so even though East Fury was 2.2 miles away I could still very clearly sight the top. And with only a dusting of snow I could clearly make out the highest rock on the summit. I then took a picture of the readings on the C and D vernier dials. Iíve found the most accurate way to read the measurement is to look at a picture back at home and zoom in on it. So I always take pictures of all my measurements. Plus, this allows other people to double check them if they want. Following standard surveying procedure I then rotated the horizontal plate 180 degrees, flipped the sighting scope 180 degrees, and took a picture of the new readings on the C and D vernier dials. This procedure allows slight leveling errors to be accounted for. The final angle reading is an average of these four measurements. The angular resolution is 20 arcseconds (0.0056 deg), so it is a very precise device. I then did a transect where I pointed the scope exactly at east fury, then rotated the horizontal disk to point towards west fury. The crosshairs in the scope were well above the west fury summit, so this qualitatively assured me West Fury was shorter than East Fury. While pointing towards West Fury I rechecked that the bubbles showed the theodolite was perfectly level. Then I repeated the four angle measurements for West Fury.
On the false summit
On the false summit
Sunrise to the east
Sunrise to the east
More views of the Furies
More views of the Furies
After than, I spun the horizontal disk around so the scope pointed up to the true summit of Luna. I rechecked the bubbles that the theodolite was perfectly level, then repeated taking the four angle measurements for Luna Peak. I have pictures of each measurement that can be double checked if desired. By that point my fingers were getting pretty numb, and I was kind of happy to be done with the measurements. It was around freezing and a little windy. I heard Nick yell out and saw that he was standing on the summit of Luna. I got a few pictures, then returned and took down the theodolite and packed it back up in the pelican case. Then it was time to go tag the summit of Luna. I recalled the traverse being not too bad in October 2018, just a little bit of exposure but good hand and footholds. However, this time it was covered in snow and was much sketchier. It wasnít enough to warrant crampons, but enough to be slippery. I recalled my previous route had gone along the right (southeast) side, and this is the route nick had taken. Luckily I had his tracks to follow in the snow so navigation was easy.
Me on Luna summit (photo by Nick)
Me on Luna summit (photo by Nick)
On Luna
On Luna
Spicey traverse back
Spicey traverse back
I downclimbed from the false summit onto the southeast face and followed exposed ledges. It was pretty spicy and I took my time, making sure my hand and foot placements were solid before proceeding. Just below the summit I passed Nick, then I scrambled directly up to the northeast side, then spiraled back to make the final steep exposed scramble to the top. I reached the top just as Nick reached the false summit, and he got a picture of me on the summit. I was too nervous to stand up on the snowy rock like Nick had, so I just sat there. There was no way I would have tried to balance a theodolite on that summit, and Iím glad I took measurements from the false summit. I was disappointed that I couldnít find a summit register. This seems to be a growing problem in Washington, with many recent summits Iíve been to missing registers. Maybe climbers see the registers as full and remove them with good intentions. But they should then remove just the notebook and leave the canister, and hopefully leave some paper there for a future register. Maybe Iíll just have to start carrying spare registers around to repopulate all the peaks. By now the view to the furies was obscured by clouds and I was very happy to have gotten the measurements. I very carefully downclimbed the snowy, slippery, exposed rock and inched my way back along the ridge. We packed back up and headed down by around 10:30am.
Starting down
Starting down
Hiking down
Hiking down
Hiking down
Hiking down
We made quick progress following our tracks in the snow down to near the col and then traversing the south face of Luna. We took a brief break at the 6400ft notch to admire our last views of the southern pickets, then very gingerly started down the northeast gully. The snow was quite slippery, and I really wished Iíd brought micro spikes. But we took our time and made it down without any major slips. It was a relief to get back below snowline, and in the daylight was got great views of the fall colors in the valley below the east face of Luna. We made much quicker progress down, with a combination of being able to see in the daylight and being able to follow the route on my watch I had recorded on the ascent. At the access creek crossing we topped off water, then started down the trail. This time I was able to follow the trail basically the whole way without losing it. The daylight definitely helped a lot. I was kind of surprised that I wasnít sleepy at all despite pulling an all-nighter, but I think this is because even the 90 minute nap still was very helpful over having zero sleep.
Hiking down
Hiking down
Last view up to Luna
Last view up to Luna
Crossing Big Beaver (photo by Nick)
Crossing Big Beaver (photo by Nick)
By 2:30pm we reached the bottom of Access Creek and the climbers trail petered out. I think this happens because climbers chose many different routes to cross the creek depending on time of year and log jams, and all those routes take a little while to converge higher up Access Creek. We found a different crossing that required on log walk then a rock hop, and we both managed to maintain status in the dry foot club on the other side. After a short bushwhack we reached the trail, and finally removed our gaiters. The gaiters had proteceted most of my pants from getting torn up by the bushwhack, though I did suffer a huge tear in the thigh area that would have made me look indecent anywhere but the woods. I resolved to wait until I got home to sew it up properly. By 3pm we reached Luna Camp and took a short food break. We then hustled down the trail, making pretty good time, and finally reached Ross Lake 10 miles later at 6:45pm.
Big Beaver. Not too bad in October
Big Beaver. Not too bad in October
Hiking out
Hiking out
Hiking out
Hiking out
The camp was deserted and we couldnít find Talon anywhere. We learned he had just hiked out the seven miles back to the trailhead rather than wait around for us all day. We sent him inreach messages that we were boating out, and we pushed off just after dark. I rowed out, then dropped the motor and tried to start it. It took a long time to start, which generally means the engine is flooded. On the way in I had forgotten about the choke and left it open almost the whole way, only pushing it in at the end. I think this had flooded the motor. So I took off my key, waited 5 minutes, plugged back in, and then it started. Itís definitely good to gain experiences like this now before more ambitious boating trips in the future. Now we had a slight headwind, which is typical for Ross Lake. Generally the wind comes from the south in the evening and is calm in the morning. This meant the water was a bit choppy. I started out going really slow so the waves didnít splash Nick in the front. But then we discovered if I went max speed and Nick sat back a little bit the bow would ride high enough to go over the crests of the waves and the waves wouldnít come in the boat. This was actually pretty fun, especially in the dark. We scared a few sea gulls and geese in the water, and I made sure to follow the exact course as on our way in. That way I didnít really have to worry about submerged trees.
Back to the boat
Back to the boat
Boating back
Boating back
At the takeout, blocked by the trucks
At the takeout, blocked by the trucks
Eventually we curved around Cougar Island, then snuck though the gap in the water fence and made it back to the takeout. This time were two trucks from the resort parked in the middle of the road, making it impossible to roll the boat around. We happened to see a resort employee walking down, but he said he unfortunately did not have a key to the trucks. So I dropped Nick off at the takeout and we removed the gear and the motor. Then I rowed around to another part of the shore up from the trucks. I then got out and we carried the boat steeply up to the road. We then put the motor and gear back inside and dropped the wheels. I then changed out of my dry suit into my regular clothes. We towed the boat up the road a half mile to the ross dam trail, then stopped to unload. This time we only had two people instead of three, but we figured we could still make the trip in only two carries if we were efficient. Nick went up first with the propane, boat accessories, and personal gear while I stayed to deflate and pack up the boat. Then I went up with survey gear and remaining boat accessories.
Towing the boat up frontage road
Towing the boat up frontage road
Nick hauling the first load up
Nick hauling the first load up
Me hauling the boat up (photo by Nick)
Me hauling the boat up (photo by Nick)
Meanwhile Nick came down and brought up the motor strapped to Talonís extra pack. I then returned with my backpack, strapped the boat to the pack, and hiked back up. In all it indeed took two trips from each of us. But with the delay taking the boat out of the lake and some packing inefficiences we didnít get all the gear back in the truck until 11:30pm. I think in the future the lake-to-trailhead time could definitely be optimized a bit more. So I think this route is slightly faster than the Diablo Lake route to get a boat to or from Ross Lake. It had been a 27 hour push on 90 minutes of sleep Saturday afternoon, and we were both pretty tired. I stayed awake with skittles and red bull and talking to Nick, and after dropping Nick off I finally made it home by 3:30am. I managed to squeeze in a two hour nap before going in to work to give my morning lecture. Results Analysis At home I analyzed the angular measurements. I converted each measurement to decimal degrees, then multiplied the tangent of the angular inclination by the distance between the theodolite and the peak (see Fig 1 and Fig 2) to find the height of the peak relative to the theodolite. In each case I measured an angular inclination looking up from the theodolite to each peak. I first found the theodolite scope was 31.0 ft +/- 0.7ft below the true summit of Luna. The error is the one sigma error from the four different measurements. Then East Fury was 72.4ft +/-7.2ft above the scope, and West Fury was 21.3ft+/- 9.5ft above the scope. Because East and West Fury are so far away, over 2 miles, the curvature of the earth actually has a noticeable affect on measurements (see Fig 3). These height differences assume a flat earth between the peaks, but taking into account the earthís curvature means accounting for an approximately 1 inch vertical drop per 300ft horizontal spread at this latitude. This means 3.2ft should be added to the East Fury relative height and 3.8ft to the West Fury relative height.
Fig 1. Locations of peaks, survey point, and distances from survey point to peaks
Fig 1. Locations of peaks, survey point, and distances from survey point to peaks
Fig 2. Relationship between distances, angles, and relative heights of peaks
Fig 2. Relationship between distances, angles, and relative heights of peaks
Fig 3. Earth curvature correction
Fig 3. Earth curvature correction
The summit of Luna is the only point surveyed in the USGS quad, so I found heights relative to that height. So the height of East Fury is 8,311ft Ė 31.0ft + 72.4ft + 3.2 ft = 8,355.6ft. The one sigma error is the sum of the luna error and the east fury error, so 0.7ft + 7.2ft = 7.9ft. I rounded this to the nearest foot, so 8,356ft +/- 8ft. The height of West Fury is 8,311ft Ė 31.0ft + 21.3ft + 3.8ft = 8,305.0ft. The one sigma error is the sum of Luna error and West Fury error, so 0.7ft + 9.5ft = 10.2ft. I rounded these to the nearest feet, so West Fury height is 8,305ft +/-10ft. See this link for the raw measurements and calculations: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1vXTJ78SY-mrnloSLxiAHg79EkCtFJ8FWm1ptS9_BouI/edit?usp=sharing Before reporting my results, though, I wanted to somehow double check them since these results might be controversial to people who have climbed Luna but not East Fury. (Note: I myself have only climbed Luna but not East Fury, so these results are a little disappointing to me). The most important result to double check was that East Fury is taller than Luna, since this was the most consequential result for the WA top 100 list and other lists. I consulted with other peakbaggers Greg Slayden and Andy Martin, and we determined there do not exist any LiDAR surveys of these peaks, so that wasnít an option to double check the results. I looked at Google Earth SRTM data, and that data shows East Fury is 90 ft taller than Luna. However, the peaks are sharp and SRTM has errors up to 50ft in general, so that is not very definitive. Steven Song checked his GPS track from his July 2022 trip up Luna, East Fury and West Fury. He had measured East Fury 35-65ft taller than Luna and also East Fury 35-65ft taller than West Fury. Luna and West Fury were similar elevations. These measurements are all consistent with the theodolite measurements. The last possible option was analyzing photos taken between the peaks. Andy Martin analyzed five photos taken by John Port (onehikeaweek.com) and Steven Song taken from West Fury to East Fury and from East Fury to West Fury. Andy concluded East Fury is taller than West Fury by around 20ft. He used elevations of and distances to known peaks in the background of the photos to reach this conclusion. So his results are consistent with mine that East Fury is taller than West Fury. Greg Slayden used photo analysis software written by Edward Earl to do a similar analysis on photos taken from Luna looking towards East Fury and from East Fury looking towards Luna. This software is a bit more sophisticasted, and corrects for angular distoration in an image, refraction, and atmospheric affects. I was previously a bit skeptical of the validity of the math models, but Greg previously applied the analysis to the SW and NE peaks of Buckner, which I had also measured with my theodolite. We got very similar results, and in my mind this is a strong step towards validating the photo analysis method. Greg found East Fury 18ft Ė 28ft taller than Luna based on the analysis of a picture I took in October 2018 from Luna looking at East Fury, and from a picture Steven Song took in July 2022 from the summit of East Fury looking at Luna. The one sigma errors for these numbers are pretty high, but they are still consistent with East Fury being taller than Luna Peak. Iím not aware of any other measurements to confirm or refute the theodolite measurements. But all data Iím aware of is consistent with my measurement that East Fury is taller than Luna, so I am comfortable reporting this result now. I believe this means East Fury should now be added to the WA top 100 list, and Castle bumped off. Link to more photos: http://www.countryhighpoints.com/luna-east-fury-west-fury-theodolite-survey/

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zimmertr
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PostWed Oct 26, 2022 11:11 pm 
Too cool, Eric! You're doing a huge service to the climbing community with these surveys. This is one of my favorite posts I've ever read on NWHikers.

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Alden Ryno
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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 5:20 am 
Wonderful trip report! A serious push coupled with a consequential result. The boat haul at the end seems defeating after such an effort, but that's the toll for boating (plus you gained valuable experience there). I'm curious how this will be received and what will transpire. While I have no credentials in the matter, I give a vote of confidence in your results. Without opposing information/data, I think it'd be difficult to uphold a different stance. This is really awesome, Eric.

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Eric
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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 8:26 am 
Fascinating report. Thanks for your work here, this is an excellent service to peakbaggers everywhere. You mentioned the top 100 list but it would seem if accurate that this makes Flora (since it has a BM elevation right at 8320) and some others lower than East Fury. While the Bulger list is an informal club list and quirky in its rules on named peaks and volcanoes, if the list criteria had been applied with this elevation indicated at 8,356' then East Fury would have been included. You mentioned an 8 foot margin of error, I am curious, do we know with what confidence we can say that East Fury's elevation is at least 8321? I'd imagine it is quite high. What's next on your theolodite adventures? The two summits of the Cradle? Whitehorse/Three Fingers? So many choices.

ozzy, Brushbuffalo, Eric Gilbertson
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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 8:28 am 
Quote:
It was previously widely accepted that Luna Peak was the highest peak in the range and thus the 99th tallest peak in Washington. But two other peaks Ė East Fury and West Fury Ė are nearby and of very similar elevation. If in fact one of those two peaks is taller than Luna, then Luna would lose its distinction of being a top 100 peak.
Is that right? Wouldn't Luna just move from 99th to 100th as it would still have ~1300' of prominence (above the Luna-Fury Col, rather than ~3100' of prominence connecting it to Spickard).

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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 8:31 am 
Astounding! This is a reshuffle of many important WA lists, as well as historic completion status. Tough news for some folks, undoubtedly.

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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 8:44 am 
Yeah Castle rather than Luna would be dropped for Easy Fury. These findings may be more consequential for folks doing P2Ks or P3Ks. As a practical matter the bottom of the top 100 list is uncertain because of all of the 8280+40 summits like Booker, Big Kangaroo, WyEast etc that may or may not be higher than 8311. It's worth bearing in mind when we talk about lists too that USGS standards are that 90 percent of all surveyed points are within half a contour interval so 20 feet typically in mountainous terrain. At some level we are dependent on USGS info that does have some flaws until LIDAR or other technology steps in but you do have to take it all with a grain of salt. Map errors are infrequent but far from unheard of. Peakbagging lists-- made of stone but not set in it.

Josh Lewis, Brushbuffalo, Eric Gilbertson
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cascadetraverser
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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 8:51 am 
What an amazing report. You are doing trips and reports here that I don`t think I could even dream of. Kudos to you!!

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rstoddard24
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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 12:39 pm 
Awesome trip and interesting results! Last summer from multiple view points in the pickets it always looked to me like E Fury was higher than W Fury. See below pic from the summit of Himmelhorn looking straight on. Harder to say about E Fury vs. Luna tho. S pickets could be a good place to validate such important results. There are several surveyed summits to choose from (maybe W Mac is easiest), and could validate method by measuring all 3 summits then comparing Luna measurement result with surveyed result. I don't doubt your height ranking of the 3 peaks, but it seems a 50' difference between E and W fury would be more obvious in the field

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raising3hikers
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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 4:12 pm 
Very interesting results! That's a lot of work to carry that extra weight up there to measure. Nice work

Eric Eames

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Slim
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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 4:35 pm 
Well done! The logistics alone make me shudder. I hope you had an electric pump to inflate/deflate your boat !?!

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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 4:47 pm 
Another great report! Now I have to figure out a way to do something in '23 that tops your stats...age adjusted of course.

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zimmertr, Eric Gilbertson
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PostThu Oct 27, 2022 6:57 pm 
Thanks!
Quote:
You mentioned an 8 foot margin of error, I am curious, do we know with what confidence we can say that East Fury's elevation is at least 8321? I'd imagine it is quite high.
I quoted the one-sigma error as 8 ft based on assuming a normal distribution for those four measurements I took. That's 68% confidence. 8321ft would be more than four sigma away, so if we assume normal distribution that would be over 99% confidence that East Fury is higher than 8321ft. But I doubt it's a perfect normal distribution.
Quote:
What's next on your theolodite adventures? The two summits of the Cradle? Whitehorse/Three Fingers? So many choices.
So many choices! But they will likely have to wait for summer now since the summits are getting covered in snow, which will throw off the measurements.
Quote:
Wouldn't Luna just move from 99th to 100th as it would still have ~1300' of prominence (above the Luna-Fury Col, rather than ~3100' of prominence connecting it to Spickard).
Yeah, that's a good point. I forgot Luna still has over 400ft prominence. So it seems like Luna would get bumped down to 100, and Castle would get bumped off the WA top 100 list. Then East Fury would be number 87.
Quote:
As a practical matter the bottom of the top 100 list is uncertain because of all of the 8280+40 summits like Booker, Big Kangaroo, WyEast etc that may or may not be higher than 8311.
Yes, that's another good point. These peaks probably need proper surveys too! I suspect at least some of them have been hit by recent LiDAR surveys to give more accurate heights. Though if they are sharp (like Big Kangaroo) LiDAR might miss the summit. That would be a good project to comb through the LiDAR data and see. Maybe I'll look into that more.
Quote:
S pickets could be a good place to validate such important results. There are several surveyed summits to choose from (maybe W Mac is easiest), and could validate method by measuring all 3 summits then comparing Luna measurement result with surveyed result. I don't doubt your height ranking of the 3 peaks, but it seems a 50' difference between E and W fury would be more obvious in the field
Yes, I'm all for more validation! But that would require someone hauling survey gear up W Mac. I doubt a 5x sight level would be super helpful at that distance, but couldn't hurt to try. I've started just always bringing my 5x sight level on trips now since it's small.
Quote:
I hope you had an electric pump to inflate/deflate your boat !?!
No, just a foot pump now. I ought to get electric. I was worried about overinflating the boat too easily, but my pump has a release valve at the appropriate pressure for that reason, so I could find a way to hook up an off-the-shelf electic pump to my existing pump perhaps.

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PostFri Oct 28, 2022 2:42 am 
Great Trip and Report! What an improvement over the old Tabor and Crowder pamphlet!!! Jerry Baillie

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PostFri Oct 28, 2022 11:16 am 
This might be the most impressive TR that I've read here, and there are some insane TRs here. Well done! Beyond the measurements, the shots of the Pickets with a fresh coat of snow and clouds in the valleys are breathtaking. You mention that you climbed Luna in October of 2018, by chance do you have any photos of the larches between Luna and Luna Lake, even from above? I've seen photos of them in the summer but never in the fall with their needles turning. In my head I'm picturing the view from that larch grove looking west towards Challenger in early-mid October with the larches changing and maybe some snow at higher elevations being one of the best scenes that Washington has to offer, among many impressive scenes.

SpookyKite89, Brushbuffalo, zimmertr
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Luna, East Fury, West Fury Theodolite Survey, Oct 22-23, 2022
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