A peak is a high, sharp point. (By comparison, a summit is an extremity, but not necessarily a sharp point, on a hill or mountain. While peaks are often rocky horns and/or pinnacles, summits can be found at the quite unspectacular highest point on a loaf of a mountain. Thus, although a mountain often has only one summit, which may resemble a peak, a mountain may also have multiple peaks and summits, even while having only one highest point.) There are a large number of peaks in the Teton Range, but the “Grand” Teton is the summit. “Going for the summit” can be a metaphor for human aspirations, particularly among mountaineers, Japanese climbers on Mount Fuji, and Native Americans seeking visions, all seeming to involve a testing of self and discovery of its essence in connection with a sight of the Altogether. Hopi Indians call the San Francisco Peaks a “cloud house” where gods live. The Navajos revere the wisdom of mountain gods. Taos Pueblo is oriented to sacred mountains. Ancient Greeks understood Mount Olympus as the home of the gods, and Tibetan Buddhists regard peaks and summits as centers of sacred energy.

William Kittredge