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"Alternate" highpoint for IL

April 5 2006 at 10:49 AM
Zak  (Login zkmiller)

This subject has probably been brought up in the past: The owners of the IL hp and OH hp have been 'difficult' (to use a politically correct term; btw OH is closed on Sundays). So: I would submit that the highpoint of a state is THE HIGHEST POINT, manmade or natural! We highpointers do not condone trespassing; so to heck with the Wuebbels(sp?) in IL; because the Sears Tower Skydeck is OVER 714 FEET higher in elevation than their sorry little hill in NW BFE Illinois...for only $11.95, not only do you get the highpoint of IL, but an incredible view, close lodging, good food, and a great time in Chicago...

Of course, the manmade highpoint would be an "alternate". If you hit the natural one, then fine; but remember, this 'sport' is about enjoying oneself and that will include pristine natural areas as well as beautiful views of some cities (personally, I wish that Delaware had a building that was 20' or 30' taller, because the trailer park that I went to...was less than spectacular...)

There are 6 places where alternates would apply:
FL: hp elev:345' Four Seasons Hotel(Miami) building height is 789'+7' for mean land level=796' (451' difference!)
IL: Sears Tower Skydeck is taller by 714'
IN: Hoosier Hill=1257' but Chase Tower(Indianapolis)=1528' (271'difference)
LA:hp=535'; One Shell Square(New Orleans)=708'(173'difference)
OH: hp=1550'; Key Tower(Cleveland)1637' (87' difference)
Wash.DC: hp=429'; Washington Monument Observation deck:515' (86' difference)

IL & DC are measurements to the observation deck.
All of these measurements include the mean elevation of the city in their height.
If, generally, we can agree on this, then it might take a little more research on the four other buildings to determine what the highest level the public can reach in the buildings in question.

Lastly, there are a LOT more opportunities for enjoyment and entertainment in each of these cases instead of travelling to B.F.E. IL, IN, FL, OH, and even Louisiana... I've been to IN, OH, & LA, and if you read anything about IL or FL, you'll know that you're not missing ANYTHING if you tag the "alternate" highpoint. (LA was...mildly interesting, nothing more)

Lastly, for the purists, if you get the 'natural' still counts...

I would appreciate the thoughts of the forum!
I have been to 22 highpoints so far with 5 more to be done this year.

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John M.
(Login JohnMx)

Manmade list; access

April 5 2006, 11:34 AM 

Manmade structures - an interesting concept which has been discussed before. Somewhere laying around I think I have a list of highest manmade structures in each state which someone prepared. Please continue your research and submit it for publication!

Regarding your so-called "difficult" highpoints, just wait until you try WA or AK! Those highpoints are off-limits most of the year and even when they are open it is to visit the top.

A couple private owners have tried an totally open access, only to have incidents require them to restrict. Although never ideal, access is what it is. During the course of time, access constricts and expands, for both government and private HPs. There was a time when it was amusing to complain about that, but now there's a realization that progress and accommodation can be made.

Your concerns are noted, and as a Club we are certainly taking it seriously and reaching out to our friends, the HP owners (all 50).

FYI, for most of the past 50 years, IL has had some sort of restriction. I have old letterhead from the 1960's showing the open dates. And then there was a nominal admission fee. As for Ohio, read the Club Directory about Sunday access.

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(Login zkmiller)

Re: Manmade list; access

April 5 2006, 12:09 PM 

Thank You!

Yes, I've downloaded the 'tallest building in each state' list; and it (so far) seems that the tallest building is also the highpoint. There is the possibility that in 4 of the states, that this 'alternate' highpoint may be with a building that is not the tallest, but the not-so-tall building may be in a city that has a higher elevation than the tallest building that happens to be in a lower city...but I digress... I have a spreadsheet comparing the listed highpoints with the combination building+mean city elevation; more research does need to be done, and I will continue as time and $ allow.

As you mentioned: WA, AK, and even CA, possibly OR have limited access to keep unprepared individuals from either killing themselves or in CA's case overcrowding the place. Unfortunately, these are rules that we have to follow to get to the highest point in those states.

Again, thanks for your comments, when I have a more definitive list of 'alternates' I'll submit it!

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John M.
(Login JohnMx)

MoreBetter Points

April 5 2006, 3:31 PM 

In addition to a Higher Points list, I recall a list of better/best places to visit in each state. Perhaps this was trashed about by the county highpointers chat group. Although I like personally like Charles Mound, there are some pretty good county highpoints in Illinois that have better views, and certainly are more remote. Hiking effort/quality is just one of many considerations for this list. I think most would agree that there may be "better" peaks than Elbert in Colorado.

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Daniel Smith
(Login txmountaineer)

Restructed by the lists...

April 14 2006, 9:18 AM 

So true that there are better peaks than Elbert in Colorado, better peaks than Wheeler in NM, better peaks than Guadalupe in TX and, dare I say it, better peaks in AK then Denali. Most of my favorite hikes and climbs to date have come on non-highpoint mountains, though I've definitely had some great experiences on HPs as well.

I'm rambling...

Visiting the highpoints, be them state or county, doesn't always bring about the best or most-challenging nature experiences, but they do bring a community of hikers/climbers/nature-lovers/what-have-you together around a common interest. A great idea would be to climb the most difficult mountain / hill in each state, but debate would rage on for years about how to put together that list. The highest natural land in each state is relatively easy to identify (exception: Michigan) which has allowed for the creation of this unique highpointing community. Access difficulties will always be around (coming from a county-highpointer in the vastly-private state of Texas), though I think if you talked to Scott Surgent, you'd find that gaining legal access to Eagle Peak in Hudspeth Co was one of his happier moments. The challenge in getting to the state summits isn't always based on physical fitness or ability.

I'm rambling again, how does this always happen?

I must conclude by saying that Driskill Mtn in LA is definitely the best-good mountain in the state!


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Rich Allen
(Login lobodelnoche)

Eye of the beholder

April 5 2006, 11:38 AM 

I guess my thoughts are that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I enjoyed the pastoral view from the IL natural highpoint than the urban sprawl I viewed from the Sears Tower.

Even though some highpoints have less than stellar views, I find that to be part of the unique charm of this hobby. I like the variation. I feel if all you want are high-altitude views, then just go to high places. Nobody is twisting an arm (I think?) to visit all 50 highpoints, so just go where you wanna go.

Don't get me wrong, I love the mountains, and that is my preferred place to be (well, OK, maybe a tropical beach), but being the compulsive listmaker and peakbagger I am...I gotta go to Florida's (and others) highpoint.

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(Login zkmiller)

Re: Eye of the beholder

April 5 2006, 11:57 AM 

I heartily agree with your enjoyment of natural settings as opposed to city-scapes. That is one of my reasons for getting into this hobby. I also enjoy travelling 'the road less travelled', so I concur.

My original message would only suggest 'alternate' highpoints that offer something different and more exciting (in some ways).

I am thoroughly an outdoor enthusiast as are most in this 'sport'. But many people might like to introduce both convenience and variety into it. Rather than try to schedule a trip to Illinois for one out of only four weekends of the year to visit the over-protective Wuebbels' 100-miles-from-nowhere cow-pasture (which apparently is largely unremarkable from any other of the 100,000 cow pastures in the state ); we can visit the Sears tower on any day, almost any time and be welcomed!

I enjoyed the Louisiana hp; and probably would not 'trade' it for a building in New Orleans (which undoubtedly is a fun city). But the FL neighborhood, and maybe even the non-descript IN hill might be ones that I would substitute if given a chance to visit the cities mentioned previously. Just a thought, in my humble opinion only.

Thank you for your thoughts!

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Ed H
(Login ed29)


April 5 2006, 2:04 PM 

I never thought of Highpointing as being (or even wanting it to be) "convenient". If you want convenience lets just claim an airplane ride at 30,000 ft as the alternate for the 50 states, lets make it for the seven sumits as well.

If you put half the effort in planning and scheduling a trip to Charles Mound as you have in finding a more "convenient" alternate man made point you would have been there and back already!!

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(Login zkmiller)

Convenience to whom??

April 14 2006, 3:48 PM 

The issue isn't so much inconveniencing myself that I would seek to avoid. Afterall, I would love the opportunity to be inconvenienced on Denali.

The issue is that why should we be forced to plan on one of only four weekends per year to visit the IL cow pasture? Afterall, the highest landbound point isn't there anymore. Why suck up to the Wuebbel's rule for their IL cowpasture, when there is a better highpoint! I'll gladly plan a trip anywhere, but it will be at my discretion, my timing, my planning...not somebody else's that is unreasonably overprotective of their silly hill. It's a lot like the idiots that finally sold their RI hp to the decent and cool couple that owns Jerimoth now...If there were a higher point, manmade or otherwise in RI I would have gone to it. The idea here is having an alternate and equally valid claim to the highpoint; and I would promote the Sears Tower (especially if you climb the stairs!) as equally (or more) valid. My 2 cents that's all.

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Ed H
(Login ed29)

Why Should You??

April 17 2006, 7:31 AM 

Why should you suck up to the Wuebbel's Rule for their cow pasture?? Simple. Becuse in order to rightfully claim IL you must stand on top of that cow pasture. And, since the Wuebbel's own it, they have the right to make any rules they want. It may be "just a cow pasture" to you but to the Wuebbel's it is their home and where they make their living. In short it's called respect. Compared to not allowing any access at all, lets be greatfull we have the scheduled access times we do.

If you want to do somthing different then the Club's offical list of the 50 state highpoints for whatever reason I would respect that and would even cheer you on. Just do not look for the Club to reconize you as a "completer".

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Olivier Kozlowski
(Login kozesq)

Higherpoints - more info

April 5 2006, 2:22 PM 

I posted something about this a while back myself. Since then I've done a bit of work on it, but it's by no means complete.

First of all, rather than trying to figure out average heights of cities, I've been using altitude above MSL (mean sea level), which is something that I would imagine would make determining this stuff easier by using pilots' maps. In contrast, AGL (above ground level) seems more like what you're saying.

Second, you're going to run into problems when you try to visit some of the really tall radio & tv antennae out there. From my research, the "alternate" DE HP would be the WBOC tower (read: "antenna") at about 1,002' MSL, as compared to Ebright Azimuth's 448.' At 2,407,' Alabama's Cheaha Peak doesn't even retain it's crown when compared to the WTTO tower, which reaches about 2,656' MSL. The best you could do in these cases (legally, I suppose I should add) is visit the base & look up at a really tall antenna.

A couple of resources I've used (in addition to my MapSource software to get ideas of ground elevation) are:

Unfortunately I can't find the link right now to the radio tower info, but I'm pretty sure it was either contained in the above sites or linked from there.

E-mail me off-list if you want to combine efforts on this.

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John M.
(Login JohnMx)

ND radio tower

April 5 2006, 3:27 PM 

probably higher than the butte

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(Login markvotapek)

alternate routes up the WBOC tower

April 8 2006, 2:44 AM 

I'm planning my trip to the WBOC tower and i have some questions for any highpointers local to there. Are there any viable alternates to the standard route of climbing the pinnacle from it's base? I was thinking that i could swing in from a fire truck line to the east end of the antenna and still climb the majority of the prominence. Also, is there any legal camping on the tower? I have my bivy hammock and am flexible...i just need to sleep somewhere ON the structure. Thanks for any replies.

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(Login zkmiller)

Ahh, the sweet smell of sarcasm!

April 14 2006, 4:02 PM 

Ahh, the irony of your message! GREAT!

It figures...somebody opens a can of worms in the middle of a lo mein party and the whole conversation goes straight to hell!

I responded to the guy who brought up the antennae subject...trying to put the lid back on that can of worms!

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(Login zkmiller)

interesting idea

April 14 2006, 3:59 PM 

Perhaps I mis-stated my intention, and I'm sorry if it gave you the wrong impression.

I don't mean to start climbing antennae to get to any highpoint. Certainly, there are structures that are not meant as a public standing place that may be higher than the official (land) highpoint; but this is crossing the "public accessible/standing platform" line.

What I've done is find a city's mean height above sea level (MSL) and added to that the height of it's tallest building. If that comes out to be the highest point in the state, then fine, I'll take it IF (and only if) the land highpoint is inaccessible.

So Delaware would still be in the trailer park; LA would still be on Driskill, but Florida and Illinois would have alternates in Miami and Chicago respectively. In Indiana, take your choice, a little rise in the outback of the state or the highest floor of the tallest building in Indianapolis...

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Mark Kness
(Login MarkKness)

Re: "Alternate" highpoint for IL

April 8 2006, 11:40 PM 

I don't think I agree that you can pick an "unnatural" point just because it is a pain to get to the actual highest natural point. "Restrictions" are just part of the challenge.

That said, I am interested in the highest artificial points, especially ones that you can get to and look out. It is certainly a list worth putting together.

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Olivier Kozlowski
(Login kozesq)


April 10 2006, 10:06 AM 

The key would be to establish what criteria you'd use. Do you need to reach the absolute highest point, or the highest point accessible to the general public? Maybe a skyscraper has an observation deck that's open to the public, but also a roof that isn't and a tv antenna on top. What "counts?" Then there are the antennae that I mentioned earlier.

Personally I'd like to do the publicly accessible ones as bonuses - kind of like Fort Reno - but I won't count those for anything. I'm also eliminating the antenna, because (presumably) the highest publicly accessible point on those is ground level.

You could also blur the lines with another type of man-made highpoint: the landfill. If memory serves, at least 2 of our HPs have been surpassed by landfills at one time or another. Once they're capped and grassed over, if you don't see the pipes sticking out they look just like many of the rolling hills you see on the way to the "real" highpoints. I think there was even some discussion about whether the actual spot in DE was the result of man-made activities. Hmm, I think I may also need to find a reason to eliminate the need to visit the top of a landfill...

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(Login zkmiller)

Here's THE question!

April 14 2006, 4:13 PM 

Good, Now we're getting academic!
Someone brought up the subject and the question that needed to be asked! Hypothetically speaking:

Say I 'own' the highpoint of my state. Then, the guy nextdoor to me gets busy with a bulldozer and makes his land 2 feet taller than mine, plants grass, and puts a marker and a logbook on top.

Is mine still the highpoint?
In 100 years, which would be the highpoint?
Does he have a valid claim to owning the highpoint?
What's to stop me from buying a bulldozer a year later and reclaiming my hp?
What if his hp was a landfill? What's the difference?
What if he 'makes' his hill out of steel and concrete? Would that make a difference?

If the indians raised a burial mound 1000 years ago that became higher than the 'natural' highpoint, would we know? Would we care?

See my next post for the answers (such as they are...)

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Olivier Kozlowski
(Login kozesq)


April 14 2006, 4:41 PM 

Not that I speak for the club, but I believe the "official" response would go:

--Q. Say I 'own' the highpoint of my state. Then, the guy nextdoor to me gets busy with a bulldozer and makes his land 2 feet taller than mine, plants grass, and puts a marker and a logbook on top. Is mine still the highpoint?

A. No, his is man-made.

--Q. In 100 years, which would be the highpoint?

A. Yours.

--Q. Does he have a valid claim to owning the highpoint?

A. According to the club, no. But then, people are free to make up their own lists: second highest, man-made HPs, etc.

--Q. What's to stop me from buying a bulldozer a year later and reclaiming my hp?

A. Maybe the fact that you never lost it (at least in the eyes of the club).

--Q. What if his hp was a landfill? What's the difference?
What if he 'makes' his hill out of steel and concrete? Would that make a difference?

A. No, no, no. All man-made.

--Q. If the indians raised a burial mound 1000 years ago that became higher than the 'natural' highpoint, would we know? Would we care?

A. You probably hit the nail on the head with "would we know?" Presumably we'd have some idea. I think I posted a question a while back about whether your favorite HP (IL) was in fact a burial mound and the response came back pretty definitively that it wasn't. Would we care? I suppose it depends on who "we" are. If you went back to do Arvon when Curwood lost out to it; if you crossed the crater on Rainier to get to Columbia Crest; if you go back to climb Jefferson after Hood erupts (oops, looking into the future again), maybe you do. But then again, maybe you don't. Like I said, really kind of turns on what your goals are.

Again, if I can channel the club powers-that-be for a moment, the group was formed when a bunch of people thought that it would be neat to pursue this peculiar goal. If you want to compare apples to apples, you kind of have to agree on what an apple is.

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Olivier Kozlowski
(Login kozesq)


April 14 2006, 4:42 PM 

Oops, meant to say "yes" to your first question, but I think you got it from context.

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