What's in a Name? Monument vs. East Peak

Harlan WS

I first climbed Monument and Hidden Peak on a cold, windy day in December 2002; I was with "Hiking Las Vegas," a group run by Branch Whitney (BW). It was a great time for me; I had suffered a freak stroke 9 months earlier, and was left partly paralyzed, with little natural balance. The winding scramble up Black Velvet Canyon, over Hidden Peak, and around the northeast side of West Monument brought stunning views and a sense of accomplishment, rebirth. Since then, I've been up Monument 11 times by a variety of routes.

Or have I? The naming of these peaks -- which are totally unmarked on the USGS topo maps -- has brought contradictions, illustrated below.  Around 2000, BW divided the higher ridge into West, Center, and East Monument. The "East Monument" described by BW in his on-line guide, is a sharp little nubbin with ~100' prominence; this "East Monument" is very hard to reach.
He used "East Peak" as a moniker for the eastmost summit of the ridge; that peak is ~ 5340' in elevation, and has less than 200' of prominence. More recently, other authors have referred to "East Peak" as "East Monument;" the confusion is illustrated in the pictures below, with a final kicker in the last image.

A view of West Monument,
 the whitish peak at R.
 This is a truly striking peak,
with water-filled tinajas in the
late winter. View E.
Here's how BW denoted
the peaks. In 2008 we
traversed over the ridge,
starting at Black Velvet
Canyon parking; that's the
blue track.
Google Earth illustrates
the deep ravine just W of
"East Monument;" this
topography is not resolved
on the topo map. Same
track as in previous photo.
This view shows the ridge
from the SW (Black
Velvet Peak). Center
Monument's east end
blocks a complete view
of the ravine between it
and East Monument.
BW's East Monument
is quite striking when
viewed from the Black
Velvet parking; this image
reproduces the names
(without copyright
violation!) of Photo 1
in BW's guide. At the
parking lot, the higher
Center Monument is
blocked from view by
the lower summit.
This is a view N from
Mud Springs.
Here's a view N from
just below East Peak. There
is a sharp drop of about
200' to the L, in the gully
between East Peak and the
rest of the ridge.
The new register on East
Peak, placed in 2012. The
elevation is probably closer
to 5340', both from
gps and topo map.
This is a view W toward
"East Monument," from
East Peak.
(From East_Mon.pdf: on BW's HikingLasVegas.com site:
"Note: East Peak and East Monument are two different peaks. [...] Once through the chute,
head NE and scramble up the sandstone to the ridge. There’s a great view of East Peak, which lies almost 500 feet
below you! [...] Continue west to the triangular black-faced rock in Photo 11. Just before the
 rock stands East Monument Peak. [...] We placed a cairn at the peak in May of 2000. Unfortunately,
 there’s no sign-in book, yet. From the peak you can see the problem Center Monument Peak poses."
The date stamp embedded in this pdf is December, 2001.)
Now here's the rub.  
Rock climbers generally refer
to the area around BW's
"East Peak" as "Monument;"
this naming goes back to the
1970s at least, and is illustrated
on p 35 of  Jerry Handren's
Red Rock Climbing Guide.
This is the official BLM map
of climbing routes in the area
(6-22-07 document). One
"Monument" climbing area
(Desert Gold) is arguably on
the edge of East Monument;
but the other two are on
the E side of "East Peak." There
is a well-used trail to the base
of the "Monument South"
climbing area.
BW created the "52 Peak
Club" in 2011, and since
then, hundreds of people
have been to BW's "East Peak,"
so the name is unlikely to go
away.  Just know that when
you discuss "Monument" with
rock climbers, they may have a
different opinion of where it is.