There have been 3 Geological surveys done on the Adirondacks
1) The original survey in the late 1800s done by Verplanck Colvin & Crew
2) The 1955 USGS. Heights done in standards units (feet). Maps used by the ADK in their books
3) The 1978 USGS. Heights done in Metric. Maps used in Barbara Mcmartin Discover Books and TOPO software.
*When making my list of Mountains, I used the Metric maps and converted to feet. I am assuming the technology was better in 1978 then in 1955 so I presume the metrics are more accurate. Plus I am a fan of the discover books over ADK books and TOPO software which I used uses the metric maps.
*In late 1970's there was a brief movement in this country to go Metric. So the government authorized the USGS to redo many maps throughout the country. Since the Olympics were going to be in Lake Placid in 1980, the Adirondacks got picked. The "Go Metric" fad quickly faded and the metric maps haven't become as popular as the standards.
* The Adirondack Mountain club which puts out the most popular trail guide and the Adirondack 46ers still use the 1955 Standard.
*Not all of the Adirondacks was re-done in Metric. The Lake George & Ticonderoga areas and Northern regions were not done.
*For Both the 1955 & 1978 USGS the Adirondacks were broken up into sections called Quadrangles. Quadrangles usually named after a town within it's boundaries, but sometimes they were named after a mountain or lake. To confuse matters many of the quadrangles between the two had the same names but were in different locations.
* Advantages & Disadvantages of the 1978 Metric
>> The Biggest disadvantage of the the Metric Maps is of course the fact that we Americans don't use metric. To most of us a height given in meters is useless. We don't know if it is big or little. <<
>>Another disadvantage is that there isn't any metric maps out there that combine quadrangles, while the Adirondack Mountain club combined many quadrangles to make bigger maps.
>> If you are just hiking on trails the standards are ok to use, however if you plan to do some bushwhacking definitely use the Metrics. The metrics contain more geological features such as ponds & streams that the standards are missing. This is VERY important if you plan to do the Jay Range or Sawtooth Range. The Standards have a mountain in the Jay range that isn't there and there are a few critical streams missing from the Sawtooth range maps.
* There were many great differences in Mountain Heights between the 2 surveys.
Here is a comparison using The Adirondack 46. The Rank & Heights are used from the 1955 USGS survey still used today by the Adirondack 46ers, compared to the Newer 1978 Heights
|Rocky Peak Ridge||20||4,420||23||4,383||-3||-37|
|Blue Ridge (Raquette Lake)||97t||3,440||101||3,428||-4||-12|
|Brown Pond Mt||100||3,425||103||3,419||-3||-6|
|Unnamed (E of hornet Notch)||N/R||95t||3,451|
* even though Mcnaughton is higher the 4 Mts. it is still counted as the 47th Highest. Mcnaughton is not a required mountain to be a 46er.