I bow before the altar of the OP's tenacity.
But here are a couple of considerations regarding your sources. AA was famously inaccurate in his temporal statements and geographic locations, particularly in his later years. Some, for instance in the Making of 40 Photographs book, are flat out wrong. Specifically, the variously titled "Early Morning, Merced River, YNP", could never be located using his remembered exact description in that book. In fact many "experts" erroneously claimed the location to be in the eastern end of the Valley near Tenaya Creek, opposite of its true general location. The tree itself has since been lost to the Merced River (see here). This is in no way meant as criticism, it is simply fact relating to a reasonably long life well lived ("Old" ROL? :D).
I find it hilarious that Rowell was, at least at some point, comparing himself to Adams. He famously referred to Adams obliquely in his own writings as "hoary old bearded types". Read that: large format black & white photographers, in a not so subtle attempt to separate himself from the old crowd. Rowell, who never shirked from the ever abused approbation of THE ANSEL ADAMS OF COLOR, a title bestowed by philistine copy writers and agents upon nearly everyone and anyone who has ever shot anything remotely resembling color landscape (sorry – one of my pet peeves). And just to be clear, I am also a great admirer of Galen, who I supped with much prior to his photographic zenith. I feel, perhaps unjustifiably, that his documentary talents and tonal sensibilities were headed to more of a confluence with Adams then he even realized, at the point of his untimely departure.
I take your point about the inaccuracy of his description of locations. He had similar problems with dates, as he mentions in his description of Moonrise.
Originally Posted by ROL
However I'm satisfied that the photographic evidence shows that Clearing Winter Storm and the others were made within a few hundred feet either side of Tunnel View, which agrees with your original post that "New Inspiration Point is the present east end Tunnel View, where EVERYONE takes pictures – and with good reason". You were right; that's where AA took his, too. The fact that it also ties in which his recollection of the location (the road, esplenade and low stone wall) is a nice confirmation but not necessary for this conclusion.
The funny thing is, it doesn't really matter to me where they were taken. They stand by themselves; the precise location has only a slight historical interest. I mentioned "New Inspiration Point" in my review because it is such an appropriate name given the impact these photographs have had on me and so many others.
Thanks for an interesting discussion, ROL.