Lidar Supports New Elevation For Tallest Mountain

Photo of Mountain Lidar Supports New Elevation

In Central Idaho, the Lost River mountain range towers over the landscape with Mount Borah as its apex. It’s easily Idaho’s tallest peak, roughly 400 feet taller than nearby Leatherman Peak, the state’s second-highest point. Recent mapping results show that lidar supports an even taller elevation for Idaho’s tallest mountain.

From an article in Idaho Statesman by Nicole Blanchard.

Now new data shows Mount Borah is even taller than has long been thought — but experts said that may not be reflected on maps for years to come.

Mount Borah has long been considered 12,662 feet in elevation, despite reports that, following a 1983 earthquake, the peak rose by 1 foot. It was first determined as the state’s highest peak in the early 20th century, though Idaho Statesman articles from the time showed there was debate over when it was officially surveyed and why officials believed Hyndman Peak — now considered Idaho’s ninth-tallest — took the top spot for several years.

Tom Carlson, a National Map liaison for the U.S. Geological Survey, said that elevation was likely measured using maps, compasses and an altimeter — a device that uses barometric pressure to determine altitude.

In recent years, the U.S. Geological Survey launched its 3D Elevation Program, using technology called light detection and ranging, or LiDAR, to remeasure elevations across the U.S. LiDAR uses sensors attached to airplanes or helicopters to determine elevation based on how quickly light emitted from the aircraft takes to reach the Earth’s surface and return to the sensor.

Carlson helped organize ongoing LiDAR projects in Idaho. Earlier this year, the U.S. Geological Survey released some of its Idaho LiDAR data to the public, including measurements of Borah and other Lost River Range peaks. The results put Mount Borah at 12,666 feet — 4 feet taller than people have long thought.

When will Borah elevation be updated?

One of the only places where you’ll find Borah’s LiDAR-pinpointed elevation listed online is at ListsofJohn.com, a website that catalogs U.S. mountain peaks, highpoints and other mountain information. It’s popular among hikers and mountaineers and allows recreationists to log their summit ascents.

For the complete article on how lidar supports a new elevation CLICK HERE.

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