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Students Hit the High Points


10/31/2011

A group of Montana Tech students took-on a research project to measure and confirm the elevation of Silver Bow County’s highest point. Led by their instructor, Eric Martin, Tech students, Fred Hackenberg, Chris Muhlbeier, Larissa Watson (Civil Engineering Technology) and Jon Craig (General Engineering – Civil), set out on their journey to Table Mountain - one of the Highland Mountain peaks.

“We decided to approach Table Mountain by hiking along the crest of the Highlands via Red Mountain,” said student, Fred Hackenberg. “We were able to drive to within 700 feet of the summit of Red Mountain. Then it was a two and a half mile steep hike to the peak of Table Mountain. The view is really beautiful up there.”

The appropriately named Highland Mountains share their peaks with Silver Bow and Madison Counties. Table Mountain is the highest peak in the Highlands and the 174th highest point in Montana. Because Table Mountain lacks a clear, definable peak, the students guessed that this was the reason why the US Geological Service maps denote an indefinite county boundary between Silver Bow and Madison in this vicinity.

“Of course, peak is not the best descriptor of Table Mountain because there is no prominent peak,” said student, Larissa Watson. “Actually, it is more of a high, broad plateau, but our clinometer identified a high point and GPS measurements verified the published 10,223 foot elevation. And, yes, the view is spectacular.”

“I had the students use benchmarks in Butte and Whitehall,” said Civil Engineering Technology Instructor, Eric Martin. “We then placed a third GPS receiver on the summit of Red Mountain and we hauled a fourth receiver up to Table Mountain. I wanted the students to understand the process of using GPS on a project site is the same, whether you’re working on a small construction site, or gasping for air on top of a mountain. I cannot think of a better way to enjoy a late-summer afternoon in southwest Montana than being on top of Table Mountain.”

For any further information about this issue or any issue pertaining to Montana Tech, please contact Dr. John M. Garic, Dean of the College of Technology at 406-496-3714 or Amanda Badovinac at 406-496-4828.