those odd highpointing challenges

those odd highpointing challenges

Joined: January 24th, 2004, 8:34 pm

March 5th, 2006, 2:15 am #1

I've not been on this site for a long while, probably because the combination of a nagging back injury and young children have kept me stalled at 36 hps for the 6th year in a row. So Denali and Mt. Hood still await, as do a dozen non-mountainous spots in the middle of the country. One day I'll do those less than interesting high points. I've been thinking that others must have done something to spice them up, to add to the challenge. So what have you done to make the easy high points more interesting?

I'll list three things I've done to make easy highpoints more fun.

Delaware -- the lowest point to highest point hike. Delaware's highpoint is only about 6 miles from the Delaware river, which, at sea level, is the lowest point in Delaware. Traveling on foot from lowest to highest point seemed like a good idea. I live in the area, so it was easier to do than for most. The Delaware river waterfront is state property, but the area closest to the highpoint is cut off by a huge oil refinery. You need to go a little further south to get access to the water, to the Claymont train station. From there you can walk on roads (mostly Naaman's Road) to the hp. I chained a bike up near the highpoint and road back to my car so that I only had to walk one way. I've always wanted to do it again, and actually run the thing as hard as I could, but now that I'm not in good enough shape to put up an impressive time, I haven't bothered. Some day.

West Virginia -- I did this 14 years ago (it was my 3rd hp) so I don't remember the details, but there is a really cool 20 mile or so roundtrip hike up spruce knob. If you get the maps for the area, you'll find it. We figured it out after stopping by the ranger station at Seneca Rocks. One of my favorite hp hikes, and most people drive this one.

Alabama -- I'd strongly recommend hiking up from Cheaha lake. A trail passes through some very pretty white cliffs to nearby the highpoint, then you can follow the power line to the actual highpoint.



Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:07 pm

March 6th, 2006, 6:59 am #2

My system is to climb (as in, no mechanical means are allowed) the majority (50.000001%) of the prominence of each highpoint. Prominence is essentially the elevation difference between the summit and the key saddle. The key saddle is the saddle between the summit and the next highest summit, so sometimes the saddle is many many miles away. This little rule has required me to hike several miles to Hoosier Hill, but other than that one so far the hikes and walks have been worthwhile and reasonable.

That's my only "must-do" rule, but i also make every best effort to hike a different trail from the "standard" trail as often as possible, so far on 21 out of 33 HP's. I also try to camp near as many as possible, so far on 20 out of 33. There are a few other minor quirks, like trying to throw in a few moonlight hikes, a few solos and a few big groups, etc. I have my heart set on hiking Whitney via the 220 mile John Muir Trail, and also on walking between Brasstown Bald and Clingman's Dome. I'm shooting for summitting at least one HP in each calendar month. I still need Jan, Feb, and March! I try to do as many loop hikes as i can...but so far only 11 of those. And last but not least, i try to make the "milestone" HP totals, like 10th, 20th, etc be states that have particular significance to me. So i did my state of residence (MO) at the time first, the first place i started hiking (CO) was 10th, where i went to college (IN) was 20th, my previous residence (OR) was 25th, my NEW residence (HI) was 26th, and my grad school residence (MA) was 30th.

So that was more answer than you probably ever expected from one person, and now you all know how certifiably nuts i am. Btw, i'm starting to get restless after 7 months with NO HIGHPOINTS. How did you last 6 years? Are you normal or something???

(i did the same hike up Cheaha, and somehow i remember it as being kinda grungy. i guess i'm a wilderness snob.)
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 24th, 2004, 8:34 pm

March 6th, 2006, 11:54 pm #3

I've lasted 6 years because there's been other trips more interesting than doing an OH-IN-IL-IA-KS-MO loop. The only highpoints I have left that resemble mountains are Hood, Denali and Harney. We had a failed attempt on Mt. Hood a few years ago, so that's kept me stuck at 36.

Interestingly enough, once you fall off the hp wagon it gets hard to get back on. I averaged 4.5 hps per year for 8 years, and now none in the last six years. I've redone DE, TN and NH during that time period, but nothing new.

But the next time I get a week or so to head into the mountains, I may head for the Alps instead of doing a highpoint. It's not that I won't finish the highpoints, but after 14 years, the list fever isn't as strong as the desire to have a cool vacation.

Your memory of the Cheaha hike may be better than mine - it was quite a while ago. I probably liked the hike because I had such low expectations for the highpoint going in, and it was winter, so that may have reduced the grunge factor you experienced.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 20th, 2004, 5:18 am

March 7th, 2006, 1:14 am #4

I've not been on this site for a long while, probably because the combination of a nagging back injury and young children have kept me stalled at 36 hps for the 6th year in a row. So Denali and Mt. Hood still await, as do a dozen non-mountainous spots in the middle of the country. One day I'll do those less than interesting high points. I've been thinking that others must have done something to spice them up, to add to the challenge. So what have you done to make the easy high points more interesting?

I'll list three things I've done to make easy highpoints more fun.

Delaware -- the lowest point to highest point hike. Delaware's highpoint is only about 6 miles from the Delaware river, which, at sea level, is the lowest point in Delaware. Traveling on foot from lowest to highest point seemed like a good idea. I live in the area, so it was easier to do than for most. The Delaware river waterfront is state property, but the area closest to the highpoint is cut off by a huge oil refinery. You need to go a little further south to get access to the water, to the Claymont train station. From there you can walk on roads (mostly Naaman's Road) to the hp. I chained a bike up near the highpoint and road back to my car so that I only had to walk one way. I've always wanted to do it again, and actually run the thing as hard as I could, but now that I'm not in good enough shape to put up an impressive time, I haven't bothered. Some day.

West Virginia -- I did this 14 years ago (it was my 3rd hp) so I don't remember the details, but there is a really cool 20 mile or so roundtrip hike up spruce knob. If you get the maps for the area, you'll find it. We figured it out after stopping by the ranger station at Seneca Rocks. One of my favorite hp hikes, and most people drive this one.

Alabama -- I'd strongly recommend hiking up from Cheaha lake. A trail passes through some very pretty white cliffs to nearby the highpoint, then you can follow the power line to the actual highpoint.


I'm into mountain biking as well as hiking so I've done a handful of HPs that way. The biggest motivator, however, has been a stroke of luck that now has my father interested in highpointing. He's more into travelling than mountains so he's been a perfect partner the last couple of years and has helped make those trips to Hawkeye Point and Woodall Mountain very interesting. This May, however, our Great Plains trip will bring an end to the easy ones. This was quasi-intentional ... leaving the western zone for last. This way, I figure it should be real easy to maintain my enthusiasm hopefully to the conclusion of the list of 50.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: November 25th, 2000, 10:31 pm

March 7th, 2006, 11:03 pm #5

I've not been on this site for a long while, probably because the combination of a nagging back injury and young children have kept me stalled at 36 hps for the 6th year in a row. So Denali and Mt. Hood still await, as do a dozen non-mountainous spots in the middle of the country. One day I'll do those less than interesting high points. I've been thinking that others must have done something to spice them up, to add to the challenge. So what have you done to make the easy high points more interesting?

I'll list three things I've done to make easy highpoints more fun.

Delaware -- the lowest point to highest point hike. Delaware's highpoint is only about 6 miles from the Delaware river, which, at sea level, is the lowest point in Delaware. Traveling on foot from lowest to highest point seemed like a good idea. I live in the area, so it was easier to do than for most. The Delaware river waterfront is state property, but the area closest to the highpoint is cut off by a huge oil refinery. You need to go a little further south to get access to the water, to the Claymont train station. From there you can walk on roads (mostly Naaman's Road) to the hp. I chained a bike up near the highpoint and road back to my car so that I only had to walk one way. I've always wanted to do it again, and actually run the thing as hard as I could, but now that I'm not in good enough shape to put up an impressive time, I haven't bothered. Some day.

West Virginia -- I did this 14 years ago (it was my 3rd hp) so I don't remember the details, but there is a really cool 20 mile or so roundtrip hike up spruce knob. If you get the maps for the area, you'll find it. We figured it out after stopping by the ranger station at Seneca Rocks. One of my favorite hp hikes, and most people drive this one.

Alabama -- I'd strongly recommend hiking up from Cheaha lake. A trail passes through some very pretty white cliffs to nearby the highpoint, then you can follow the power line to the actual highpoint.


My computer ate this message--twice. GRRRR.... Here's a THIRD
try.

While I don't go as far as Mark's climbing half the "prominence",
I do make a point of walking a reasonable distance even to easy
high points. I parked at the grid (cattle guard) then walked to
Kansas' "Mt." Sunflower, then on down the hill to a fence I think
is the Colorado border, and back up. Despite signs warning of "No
Hikers, Bison on Property" (saw none), I walked ~a mile from the
tri-state point to Nebraska's Panorama Point, though I had to get
under a fence as there was no gate. A red ant stung me in a
sensitive place, sitting on the monument eating lunch; the signs
should warn of ants too! In Iowa, I had to settle for walking
from the road across the Sterler's farm to the HP; but I also
climbed Ochedeyan Mound nearby.

For an upcoming "Ozark Safari" (centered on an exhibit on the
Titanic at the St. Louis Science Center), some queries turned up
reasonably challenging hikes to Taum Sauk and Magazine Mts.,
which many apparently drive up. For Taum Sauk, if you start from
the Claybaugh Creek T.H. on Rt. 21 just S. of Hwy. CC, it's an
alleged 6 miles w/a 1250' el. gain to the top. This avoids the
recent accident with that pumped-storage facility.

For Magazine, the Greenfield Trail links the Visitor's Center to
the Mossback Ridge Tr. to Signal Hill, for a total of 7 mi. RT I
think. For Driskill, about the best one can do is to walk a mile
up the road from the church, I'm told.

I hope these trails will provide more than a modicum of exercise
without Colorado's anoxia, and give me a nice sample of the
Ozarks in spring, next month. Roger Williams (16, + many abroad),
Boulder, Colo.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:07 pm

March 8th, 2006, 3:12 am #6

April might be on the front end of the Ozark's tick season. Wear long pants and tuck them into your socks! Those buggers are brutal, at least around Taum Sauk.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 20th, 2004, 9:10 pm

March 8th, 2006, 6:16 pm #7

I've lasted 6 years because there's been other trips more interesting than doing an OH-IN-IL-IA-KS-MO loop. The only highpoints I have left that resemble mountains are Hood, Denali and Harney. We had a failed attempt on Mt. Hood a few years ago, so that's kept me stuck at 36.

Interestingly enough, once you fall off the hp wagon it gets hard to get back on. I averaged 4.5 hps per year for 8 years, and now none in the last six years. I've redone DE, TN and NH during that time period, but nothing new.

But the next time I get a week or so to head into the mountains, I may head for the Alps instead of doing a highpoint. It's not that I won't finish the highpoints, but after 14 years, the list fever isn't as strong as the desire to have a cool vacation.

Your memory of the Cheaha hike may be better than mine - it was quite a while ago. I probably liked the hike because I had such low expectations for the highpoint going in, and it was winter, so that may have reduced the grunge factor you experienced.
I've been off the state HP wagon since 2003, and have only 3 new ones since 2001. In my case I just need the ones that are very far away and require lots of time and money to get there.

However, I have learned to appreciate that most of the fun of the chase is the chase itself. I've done some revisits with my wife in the meantime. I am in no hurry, really. When I submit my story to A2Z after I've done my lower-48, I'll happily state "This has taken me 20+ years ... "

I applaud those who do them all in 50 days or less, but personally, would not want any part of that. That kid who recently did them all in record time, in my opinion (and my opinion only, let me stress) completely missed the point of the hobby. Driving all night - summitting at night - etc - not for me. I like the views and the lingering around afterwards to enjoy the glow. The best part of summitting Hood for me in 1997? Drinking beer with my climbing mate at Timberline Lodge afterwards that afternoon, staring up at the mighty mountain and admiring it, knowing that 9 hours earlier we stood on the summit. An unreal, exhilirating feeling. I'd rather do that than sleep in a fetal position in a vehicle while someone drives me to Idaho for another ascent that evening.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 31st, 2004, 9:36 pm

March 11th, 2006, 1:10 am #8

I've not been on this site for a long while, probably because the combination of a nagging back injury and young children have kept me stalled at 36 hps for the 6th year in a row. So Denali and Mt. Hood still await, as do a dozen non-mountainous spots in the middle of the country. One day I'll do those less than interesting high points. I've been thinking that others must have done something to spice them up, to add to the challenge. So what have you done to make the easy high points more interesting?

I'll list three things I've done to make easy highpoints more fun.

Delaware -- the lowest point to highest point hike. Delaware's highpoint is only about 6 miles from the Delaware river, which, at sea level, is the lowest point in Delaware. Traveling on foot from lowest to highest point seemed like a good idea. I live in the area, so it was easier to do than for most. The Delaware river waterfront is state property, but the area closest to the highpoint is cut off by a huge oil refinery. You need to go a little further south to get access to the water, to the Claymont train station. From there you can walk on roads (mostly Naaman's Road) to the hp. I chained a bike up near the highpoint and road back to my car so that I only had to walk one way. I've always wanted to do it again, and actually run the thing as hard as I could, but now that I'm not in good enough shape to put up an impressive time, I haven't bothered. Some day.

West Virginia -- I did this 14 years ago (it was my 3rd hp) so I don't remember the details, but there is a really cool 20 mile or so roundtrip hike up spruce knob. If you get the maps for the area, you'll find it. We figured it out after stopping by the ranger station at Seneca Rocks. One of my favorite hp hikes, and most people drive this one.

Alabama -- I'd strongly recommend hiking up from Cheaha lake. A trail passes through some very pretty white cliffs to nearby the highpoint, then you can follow the power line to the actual highpoint.


...since November of 2001, when I climbed Charles Mound, shortly before its descent into extremely restricted access. Because neither I nor my father currently have the resources to make it out West, that leaves the Great Lakes and lower Southeast regions to complete. However, it just doesn't feel the same as anticipating the exhilarating climb up Katahdin, or the southeastern 4-highpoints-in-a-day, or the thrill of FINALLY gaining access to the summit of Jerimoth. I've since occupied my time with climbing the occasional county HP, and am working on the NH 4000'ers (1/6 done), but the state highpoints will always hold a special place in my heart. I now know that some of the easier Western highpoints are undoubtably within my grasp, but will I have the chance to reach them before I've finished college, (hopefully) gone on to medical school, and spent several years in residency? I can only hope.

I may try to finish off Connecticut's or Rhode Island's county highpoints with my dad in a week and a half, but until then I have finals, so ta-ta for now.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: November 25th, 2000, 10:31 pm

April 1st, 2006, 11:21 pm #9

April might be on the front end of the Ozark's tick season. Wear long pants and tuck them into your socks! Those buggers are brutal, at least around Taum Sauk.
Didn't know about the ticks. They come out here (Colorado) shortly after the snow melts; but were bad on bottom land (near water) in Pine Ridge in Nebraska's panhandle (Chadron)in May or June. Perhaps I can hitch a ride with them. Does insect repellent work? I much prefer shorts--short, not those confounded Bermuda or cargo things.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: November 25th, 2000, 10:31 pm

April 1st, 2006, 11:34 pm #10

I've been off the state HP wagon since 2003, and have only 3 new ones since 2001. In my case I just need the ones that are very far away and require lots of time and money to get there.

However, I have learned to appreciate that most of the fun of the chase is the chase itself. I've done some revisits with my wife in the meantime. I am in no hurry, really. When I submit my story to A2Z after I've done my lower-48, I'll happily state "This has taken me 20+ years ... "

I applaud those who do them all in 50 days or less, but personally, would not want any part of that. That kid who recently did them all in record time, in my opinion (and my opinion only, let me stress) completely missed the point of the hobby. Driving all night - summitting at night - etc - not for me. I like the views and the lingering around afterwards to enjoy the glow. The best part of summitting Hood for me in 1997? Drinking beer with my climbing mate at Timberline Lodge afterwards that afternoon, staring up at the mighty mountain and admiring it, knowing that 9 hours earlier we stood on the summit. An unreal, exhilirating feeling. I'd rather do that than sleep in a fetal position in a vehicle while someone drives me to Idaho for another ascent that evening.
I agree w/you--see my other message. I always try to arrange to walk the last mile (or more) to drive-up HPs, even past notices like "No Hikers or Bikers. Bison On Property". (there were none)

In another example, a Cairns friend (Queensland, gateway to Mt. Bartle Frere and the Great Barrier Reef) recently made an RTW trip. It was an odd one, with long-haul flights, then sojourns in odd places--including Cuba, no problem for Aussies--plus a driving tour in former Yugoslavia. Always the vicarious-travel enthusiast, I looked up his flights on a great-circle mapper, http://gc.kls2.com/, plotted them and sent him the pictures. Some went over or past exciting places like Mts. Whitney & Shasta, which I've climbed; the Canadian Rockies which I've skied in; the Himalayas (did the Everest/Kala Pattar trip, to 5600 m.); and the Lesser Sunda Islands ie Lombok (Gunung Rindjani, 3726 m., not climbed), Bali (Agung, 3142 m., climbed), etc. I told him whatever you do, get window seats (and hope you're not over the wing)!

Then it turned out they were all overnight redeye flights! Oh well it wasn't my trip; and perhaps these were the only ones available. When I flew LGW-NBO return (Gatwick to Nairobi and back) for a Kili-Shira-Route trip (aborted at Arrow Glacier due to lousy weather), the flights ran at night both ways, on BA. I wonder why they did that. Turns out he prefers aisle seats anyway where you crane your neck trying to see out. Oh well it wasn't my trip.
Quote
Like
Share