Peak or Summit?

General Palm Springs area.

Peak or Summit?

Postby Dan-oh » Mon Sep 04, 2006 9:34 am

Is the top of the mountain the peak or the summit?

After you climb to the top, you've "summited". If you've "peak" it sounds as if you were at your best and now declining. For some reason summit sounds European or does it just roll off the tongue better?

Any comments on the semantics?
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Summit vs. Peak

Postby Hikin_Jim » Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:08 pm

You summit a peak, but you never peak a summit. Summit can be used as a verb, but peak cannot. The noun form of summit is a generic term for the top of a mountain or the highest point of a route. By generic I mean that seldom is a mountain named "X Summit". Typically you'll see things like Mt. San Gorgonio, Dobb's Peak, or Vetter Mtn. for moutain names. Summit is frequently used in names for passes or high points on roads (e.g. Cloudburst Summit) or trails. Isn't English fun? Happy trails...
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Postby Yichus » Wed Nov 01, 2006 9:59 am

Hi, Jim:

Good explanation. And yes, English is fun. Thanks for your comments.

Just a small correction, though: "peak" can be used as a verb--more specifically, an intransitive verb (sorry for the boring technical term)--though it's employed sans an object.

For example: The hiker began to peak after summiting San Jacinto Peak, where he peeked at the summit of San G. (:

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Postby Hikin_Jim » Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:26 pm

Lol! Good one! Yes, you indeed can "peak" in terms of your performance (although that's really not a reference to the very top of a mountain).

Well, I'm feeling a little peaked (i.e. pooped out), so that's it for now.

Intransitively yours,

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