This New Orleans article unfortunately misspells the Louisiana highpoint!
St. Bernard family of hikers gets in peak condition
Mountain climbing the perfect challenge
Thursday September 25, 2003
By Rose Marie Sand
There's no doubt that Phil Gioia Jr. of the St. Bernard community enjoys a challenge.
Gioia, 52, president of the Chalmette Track Club, has competed in almost 100 marathons, including the past 20 Mardi Gras Marathons in New Orleans.
Gioia's vacations even include traveling to compete in races, sometimes several in one trip. While hiking during a vacation in 1999, Gioia discovered a new, even more challenging sport.
During the trip, Gioia and his wife, Janel Mumme, 43, participated in a marathon, followed by white-water rafting, biking and a triathlon in Colorado. To round out the trip, the couple decided to a climb Mount Wheeler, a 13,161-foot peak and the highest point in New Mexico.
After researching on a club called the Highpointers, a group of mountain climbers devoted to climbing to the highest point in each of the 50 states, the couple decided to embark on their own adventure.
Since then, Phil has hiked 29 high points and Janel has conquered 28, often combining hikes in several states on one vacation.
Most recently, Phil and his son, Jason Gioia, 25, climbed Mount Borah in Idaho. The trailhead for the climb was at 7,000 feet, with the summit at 12,662 feet. After a struggle from the start because of sharp rocks, boulder fields, a crevasse called "Chicken Out Ridge," and 13 hours of hard hiking round-trip, Phil Gioia said Borah was his hardest climb so far.
Gioia said he's found that at the summit of a high point is a register and notebooks to sign, and some hikers even leave food and first aid provisions for those who come next.
Including Mount Driskoll, located on private property in Shreveport, the Gioias also have reached high points in Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Florida.
The family is making plans for a 2004 vacation that will include the Highpointers convention in Washington and a climb up Mount Rainier, the state's highest peak.
New Orleans Times-Picayune