There's been little activity on this site for a few days. Everybody off doing HPs, I guess.
I climbed Whitney back in 1992 with a bunch of college friends. I was aware of this peak's significance, but did not entertain any idea of doing other state HPs at that time. A year later I was driving through West Texas, heading toward Carlsbad Caverns National Park when I decided to camp overnight at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It was only then, upon reading the literature they hand out, that I learned Guadalupe Peak was the Texas state HP. On a whim, I hiked it the next morning. I went up an innocent young man, I came down a highpointer. That was the peak that did it for me - I began to peruse maps for the state HPs, which lead, over time, to joining the Highpointers Club, another 43 state HPs and now, sitting at my office desk typin this message.
Suppose I hadn't stopped by at Guadalupe NP to camp? Where would I be today?
I rode to the top of Mt Mitchell a few times in the "Assault on Mt Mitchell" in the mid '80's. I climbed the Dome with my bro and sis on a backpack in the Smokies in '86. I summited Humphreys in '89 with a hiking buddy. In '92 I summited Whitney. On top I pondered climbing the highest point in all 50 states. Little did I realize the gravity of the thought I made. Then Rogers, Wheeler, Kings, Black..... The disease continues unabated. I am now afflicted with county highpointing compulsive disorder. There is no hope. I am doomed.
A friend lent me Seven Summits by Dick Bass, Frank Wells and Rick Ridgeway. That's the story of Bass's ultimately successful bid to be the first person to climb all seven of the continental highpoints (McKinley, Aconcagua, Elbrus, Kilimanjaro, Everest, Vinson Massif and Mount Kosciusco).
I figured I'm not cut out for Everest nor do I have the financial wherewithall to get to the Vinson Massif, so I opted for the "50 Molehills" instead. I bought a copy of Paul Zumwalt's Fifty State Summits (autographed, direct from Paul) and started off with KS, a snowed-out attempt at CO and my home state, MO, in 1995. Eleven years later, 41 states down, 9 to go...copies of Winger and Holmes on the bookshelf, as well.
The only downside is that my son and hiking buddy will be off to college next year, now that he's a useful pack horse. Oh, well...time to solo the ones I can (AZ, NV, UT, ID) and find other HPers or guides for the ones I can't solo (AK, WA, MT, WY, OR).
Lots of road miles, lots of air miles, a ton of fun...trip reports are under the "Highpointing" section of my WWW site.
I did a lot of hiking/peakbagging around the Northeast during the 90s and in the process hit the highpoints of NY, VT, NH, ME and MA but it really had nothing to do with highpointing at the time. Spring of 2001 was the first time I hiked anything specifically because it was a State HP ... and that was Frissell. NJ and RI followed in 2001 and PA, MD and DE in Jan/Feb of 2002. Then I broke my back and that killed highpointing until the spring of 2003 right around the time I started a thread about the waiver on Black Mountain KY (he said sheepishly). Now I'm hopeless ... up to 38 HPs (and DC) with 12 western peaks to go.
After reading Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air I started buying mountaineering books on Ebay and ABE. The more I read, the more I wanted to try mountaineering. I contacted Eric Simonson at MRAG and sent my money in to climb Mount Rainer via the Emmons/Winthrop glacier route. Once the check was in the mail there was no chickening out. After reaching the summit in August 2003 I was hooked. My son and I did Washington and Mansfield in June 2005 and then my climbing partner and I flew to Vegas in October 2005 to climb Boundary Peak, Mount Whitney, and Mount Humphreys. After that vacation plans to various parts of the country were designed to include hiking to State highpoints. In 2006 I have done 15 State highpoints in the West, Midwest, South, and Northeast. Highpointing is addictive (and expensive)! My wife says I have the next 30 years to do the remaining 30 HPs, but I'm determined to hit 48 in the next 5 years. With the Highpointers Convention coming to Wisconsin next year my goal is to make Timms Hill #30. Every highpoint has been different and memorable. I have traveled to States I thought that I would never see, have dined at little off-the-beaten path cafes, met people in West Virginia who yearned to see the horizon, have hiked with 17 different people including 2 who have climbed the Seven Summits, and even climbed Kings Peak with county highpointers (the worst affliction possible). LOL.
I travelled within the U.S. a fair amount during my college and post-college years. I was always fascinated with maps, and i spent a lot of time gazing at road atlases. Good ol' Rand McNally always listed in small print up in the corner what the state's highest elevation was. Then when i spent a summer in Taos, a few of us decided on a whim to try to climb Wheeler Peak in the morning. The morning came, we were all too hung over to get to the top before thunderstorms came, but i got to thinking about climbing the highest elevation in each state. I assumed that NOBODY had done it. (duh, me) So i devised a whole big plan, and looked at some topos, and figured i'd start with my state of residence(M0 then) and end with Wheeler. Well, i started researching both Taum Sauk and Arvon, and i stumbled across this site. Well, bummer, EVERYONE is a highpointer.
Sure has made it easier and more collegial though. 34 down, 16 to go, and i still have a JMT/Whitney trip report coming...
I have been a map freak ever since I can remember, and I also used to get the Rand McNally road atlas, and see the small print of the high point in the corner. Finally decided to act on it one day by taking a "detour" from visiting in western Wisconsin back to Green Bay, by doglegging up to do the HP of Michigan. I had gotten some maps and everything, and finally found the trail to the peak at the end of a rocky road in fog and rain at dusk. Dashed up, got my pictures (barely), and headed home that night, proud that I had completed my first state HP. Soon after, I heard about the club, and sent a letter to Jack. He sent back the list of HPs, and I prepared to check off MI, except that the name of the peak was NOT Curwood! What??? And what the heck is Mt. Arvon, anyway? And now you tell me I was THAT CLOSE, and only missed by about six miles horizontally and 11 inches vertically? And I have to go BACK??
Oh, well, nearly 20 years later, and 35 down (including MI), 15 to go, and many more adventures and great friends. Thanks, Rand McNally for creating a bunch of crazy HP "monsters". JES
As a teenager always I had my nose in the Britannica world atlas and in 1987 - same year I moved out of my parents, I bought a Rand McNally road atlas for a road trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I had that atlas for many years and I too recall the corner where it mentions the highest point and how it's denoted on the map with a dark triangle and other mentioned peaks have a clear triangle. Once we started on going more road trips, the family would eventually get me a new Rand McNally and sometimes a AAA one. Back in 2002, someone got me Mapster's RoadMaster Large Print by accident. But I came to prefer the large print and can't go back to the other brands.
Anyhoo, back to the high point subject. I made mental notes of high points that appeared to be accessible by car and if it wasn't far out of the way when we were traveling, I made it a point to make a side trip. The first one was Mt Washington in 1992. Then in '93 we traveled down Route 101 in RI and saw the road sign. At the time I thought that was the highpoint. A week later we visited High Point, NJ.
I eventually found Don Holmes' book in Eastern Mountain Sports and the quest started whole heartedly. I immediately sent out for the Highpointer membership and getting our first newsletter we saw that the next highpoint convention would be in Vermont the following month. We didn't attend the banquet but we did go to Mt Mansfield that day and met a few fellow hp-ers that day including Mr Holmes.
Up to 37 now. Certain hp's we know are beyond our capabilities but we'll be tickled if we make it 45.
I was a "Highpointer" for 18 years before I even realized it! I got all the topos & went to 49 state HP's before I knew that, damn!, there's a club?? I then did Denali and wrote to Jack Longacre to join the club. It caused a little consternation, since my completion in 1990 made me finisher #12, and bumped previous finishers #12 & #13 up to #13 & #14. I'm still Highpointing and now working on going back to every one, but addicted? Of course not. I could quit anytime I want......
Like you and others, I thought I had thought up the greatest hobby ever... hey, maybe I'd do a few, then start up a club and call it the highpeakers club. Highpeaking would be a great hobby I was sure others would enjoy. First hint that someone had beat me to the punch was dicovering two books - Zumwalt and Holmes - on the subject. This lead directly to my first non-mountain HP trip in 1996, which ended with an ascent of Black Mesa in Oklahoma is some brutal twister weather. Afterwards I met Alan Griggs at the Kenton Merc and had a long, great talk with him while we waited out the storm. It was he who showed me the newsletters of the club and gave me Jack Longacre's mailing address to join, which I did very soon thereafter.
A friend told me about a friend of his who was trying to climbe the highest point in each of the 50 states. I thought that was a cool idea and ventured out to visit the HPs of NC and TN while on Spring Break from college. I didn't really dabble very much in the HP-ing hobby, though, until 2001. In fact, until that year I had considered myself a mountaineer who had visited a few state highpoints, but had no desire to make a serious run at visiting them all. That all changed in November 2001. In the fall of that year the price of gas was low, air fares were rock bottom, and rental car and hotel rates were in the cellar following the September 11 terrorist attacks. I took advantage of this to fly from my home to Dulles Airport in northern Virginia. In the ensuing week I drove around and visited 20 state HPs. And while walking around near a trialer court, reflecting on the idea that I had just traveled 5,000 miles for this privilege, I finally admitted to myself that I was a highpointer. And now I only have one more monkey on my back - my home state's HP - until I can stop being one. I consider that I've completed 11 steps of my 12-step program. Or am I in Denial - er - Denali?
My wife and I were on our first semi-long backpacking trip together, travering the Presidentials in NH. We were hut-hopping (the AMC huts are a lot of fun), with no real goal other than to enjoy the experience. As we summitted Washington on a cold and cloudy day, I thought to myself (and this will probably sound familiar to many), "Hmmm, wouldn't it be cool to do this in every state? I'll bet no one has thought of that before." And so it began...
...at the tender young age of 12 (wow, 8 years ago already!) I was sitting in my dad's car, and suddenly wondered--wow, I wonder what it would be like to climb the highest point in Connecticut?
I did have sort of shaky highpoint experiences prior, like having hiked a bit on Mt. Rainier, and having been in awe of Mt. Washington while driving past it from Maine to Vermont one summer. Also, being a huge map freak, I'd go through each state and look for the highpoint, but before this had never seriously entertained the idea of actually climbing them.
After finding directions to, and reaching the highpoint of CT, I decided to try adding MA and RI to the mix as well, then DE and NJ, then the northeast...the rest is history :D
My girlfriend (who later became my wife) and I were on our way to climb some 14ners in CO when we pasted a sign in southern KS which read "Mt. Sunflower, Highest Point in Kansas". We thought "How crazy is that - let's check it out!" When we crossed over the cattle guard and reached the summit, I soon discovered the summit log and began reading the entries. What captivated me were the ones that said things like "This is my 14th HP", "My 28th HP!", etc. I stopped for a moment and thought about which states I had done, and realized I had been to the top of Mt. Washington. So Kansas was my 2nd HP, and the quest began...I knew I was totally addicted when we diliberately went to HI for our honeymoon so that we could do the HP! Now I have an even dozen left, but alas, Bridget will not make it because she will not go where there might me rattlesnakes!
...but you could tell her that many more people die from bee stings than from rattlesnake bites. Or that the overwhelming majority of rattlesnake bites happen to boys age 16-20. Or that the overwhelming majority of rattlesnake bites are on the hand. As long as she doesn't try to pick up a snake (or test out the depth of various rodent holes and rock cracks), she's safe. Or you could just go in winter, when it's too cold for snakes to be out and about.
To make a long story more interesting to others I'll shorten my path that lead me to HPing. I did the JMT in '04, I think, an ended on Whitney. This was my first long trek since I started bping only a few years previous as I was about to turn 40. HPing didn't even enter my mind untila year or two later I heard from a friend that his cousin just completed 50 HPs. That intriqued me which lead to searching internet info and came across HPers clubs, summitpost, and others. This was enough for me to try to hit as many HPs while I'm traveling on my bping trips. So far I;m at 14, all going to or coming from a bping destination. All except Rainier when I went west just to climb it. I did do some bping before this climb. Future climbs? I need more experience on the harder HPs so if anyone wants to teach a semi-newbie some rock and ice climbing techniques I'll make the effort to go whereever necessary. Thanks, you all motivate me an I love it.