"Highpointing" -- Summiting United States Highpoints for Fun, Fitness, Friends, Focus, and Folly
Contains -- "Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highpoints."
Thomas P. Martin*
Has completed 49.8 of 50 U.S. State Highpoints
The original source for this article is "Highpointing - Summiting United States Highpoints" in Future Focus, Ohio Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 28:1:29-33, Spring/Summer, 1997.
The article was revised, updated and published as "Highpointing - Summiting United States Highpoints for Fun, Fitness, Friends, Focus and Folly" in World Leisure & Recreation, 40:34-38, 1998.
Article revised and updated for web page: August 5, 2011
*Thomas P. Martin, Ph.D., FACSM, RCEP
Professor Health, Fitness and Sport Department
P.O. Box 720
Springfield, OH 45501
FAX (937) 327-6428
Link to Tom Martin's Web Page
Highpointing refers to the activity of reaching the highest natural elevation(s) in some specified region. The region could be a state, geographical area, country, continent, or the world. The purpose of this article is to describe the activity and benefits of pursuing a United States (50) highpoints project. Highpointing is an excellent activity for individuals of all ages. Planning and then traveling to state highpoints involves healthy outdoor recreation with concomitant learning of state and regional geography and history. It's great fun, and can be a terrific personal, family, or group project. Some state highpoints can be done in a car as "drive-ups," some are easy hikes, others require cross country travel, and some involve climbing with considerable exposure or travel on glaciers where ropes are required.
The earliest reference found relating to state highpoints was a 1909 article in The National Geographic Magazine (NGM) titled "The Highest Point in Each State." It is interesting that the locations of some state highpoints were not known, the elevations of several others were listed as approximate, and some highpoints listed were later discovered to be incorrect. "Highpointing" has come a long way since the NGM article; there are now state highpoint guides, and even a Highpointers Club.
II. Benefits of Highpointing
Mental/Emotional: Highpointing provides for outdoor "re-creation." It can expand the senses and bring joy to the heart. Excitement, related to preparation, execution, and reflection on individual highpoints, is part of the experience. The mental and physical stimulation related to these activities can reduce stress and provide an outlet for creative self-expression. For example, verbal description, written report, and/or production of a product (e.g. presentation, scrapbook or photo album) related to experiences can result in much personal satisfaction. For some, the challenge of the more difficult highpoints is an attraction. A desire to answer the questions; "What are my capabilities? and What are my limits?" may come into play. For others, the satisfaction of the effort, whether successful or unsuccessful, is the reward. In both cases the experiences can be "uplifting" and have a positive influence on self-image. Finally, and most importantly, highpointing is FUN!
Woodall Mt. - Highpoint of Mississippi
Physical: Highpointing can be an excellent activity for maintaining and/or developing fitness. The difficulty in reaching individual highpoints ranges from easy (e.g. drive-ups and short hikes) to difficult (e.g. long hikes and climbing at altitude)--see Highpoint Location and Classification below. Hence the "activity benefit" depends on the highpoint(s) selected. As the difficulty of the highpoint increases, so also does the physical benefit. At the same time, the range of difficulty means that individuals of all ages and physical abilities can achieve success in summiting many state highpoints. Typically, an individual pursuing a highpoint project will maintain a regular exercise routine and also train for specific outings that require a higher level of fitness. The combination of preparing for and doing highpoints combine to help maintain (and perhaps improve) body function.
Panorama Point - Highpoint of Nebraska
Social: Social benefits depend on the individual and how that person chooses to interact with others. For the vast majority of highpoints, one can choose solitude or sharing the experience with others. Planning, traveling, hiking, climbing with family and/or friends can act to strengthen personal relationships; while performing these activities with new acquaintances can aid in the development of new relationships. The opportunity for positive and memorable experiences is great, though much depends on the mental attitude and cooperation of the participants. One of the keys to positive social benefit appears to be a similar desire/motivation to reach the highpoint. Some of the more difficult highpoints require a team approach (e.g. ropes for protection) and put a premium on the ability to positively interact with others
Trail Head for Gannett Peak - Wyoming
Environmental: Each state highpoint is unique, it may be located on a farm, road, rock outcrop, mound, hill, point, dome, knob, butte, mesa, bald, peak, or mountain. It may be in a city, on private land, on the grounds of a school, in a park (local, state or national), or in a wilderness area. It may show extensive signs of pollution or be in a pristine natural condition. In addition, the appearance of each highpoint will change with the seasons, weather conditions, and even the time of day. Environmental awareness and consciousness are part and parcel of the highpointing experience. Highpointers are concerned with the environment and are often leaders in its preservation, protection, and care. "Take only pictures and leave only footprints" is a common motto.
Rock Climbing, Granite Peak - Montana
Educational: Learning occurs on a multiplicity of levels, some intended and conscious while other learning is by circumstance and experience. Clearly, reading about, preparing for, traveling to, and attempting a highpoint are educational experiences. The extent of learning is directly related to the amount of personal involvement in these activities. For example, knowledge of the geography and history of a specific highpoint and region may or may not be of interest. However, the conscious and unconscious experiences of attempting a highpoint are sure to result in related learning. Likewise, most highpoints require at least some hiking. Knowledge of and preparation for outdoor travel, in a variety of conditions (terrain, weather, etc.), is a prerequisite for a safe and enjoyable trip. It can also make the difference between success or failure--and, in extreme conditions, perhaps survival. Learning, related to one's self (i.e. mental/emotional, physical, and social), others, and the environment, has been mentioned above.
Base Camp on Denali - Alaska
Spiritual: There is a complex interplay of reasons that might explain why an individual would choose to do selected highpoints or pursue a highpoint project. Mental/emotional, physical, social, environmental, and educational benefits have been listed. Still, these can be considered "parts" of a whole. That is, not only the development, but also the fulfillment of the whole person--intellectually, physically, socially, aesthetically, and spiritually. Communing with nature by physically participating in the beauty and awesome simplicity/complexity of the environment is a spiritual experience. Words cannot express the profound feelings that accompany the mind/body/nature experience. This is the "core" of life.
III. Location and Classification of State Highpoints
Location: Table 1 presents the "Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highpoints." It includes an alphabetical listing of states, the name of each state highpoint, its elevation, elevation gain, distance, and its difficulty rating. The elevations listed are from a United States Geological Survey (USGS) publication (1995) and may be slightly different from elevations found in some guidebooks, on some maps, and in other literature on these locations. The USGS revises its data as highpoints are resurveyed and new technology is utilized to determine elevations. The elevation gain is an estimate of ALL vertical gain (including gain related to undulating terrain) on the "standard" route. Distance is the round-trip distance on the easiest "standard" route. The difficulty rating is based on the overall difficulty of reaching the highpoint by way of the easiest standard route. Finally, the eighteen highpoints that are wheelchair accessable (under good weather conditions) are indicated.
Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highpoints
State Highpoint Elevation*
Gain (feet) Distance***
Alabama AL Cheaha Mt. 2,405 < 10 < 0.1 1a
Alaska AK Mt. McKinley (Denali) 20,320 24,500 46.0 10
Arizona AZ Humphreys Peak 12,633 3,500 9.0 6
Arkansas AR Magazine Mt. 2,753 225 1.0 2
California CA Mt. Whitney 14,494 6,750 21.4 7
Colorado CO Mt. Elbert 14,433 5,000 9.0 6
Connecticut CT Mt. Frissell--S slope 2,380 450 3.6 3
Delaware DE Ebright Azimuth 448 < 10 < 0.1 1a
Florida FL Britton Hill 345 < 10 < 0.1 1a
Georgia GA Brasstown Bald 4,784 400 1.0 2a
Hawaii HI Mauna Kea 13,796 230 0.4 2
Idaho ID Borah Peak 12,662 5,550 6.8 8
Illinois IL Charles Mound 1,235 75 0.4 1
Indiana IN Hoosier Hill Point 1,257 20 0.1 1
Iowa IA Hawkeye Point 1,670 < 10 0.2 1a
Kansas KS Mt. Sunflower 4,039 < 10 < 0.1 1a
Kentucky KY Black Mt. 4,139 < 10 0.1 1a
Louisiana LA Driskill Mt. 535 150 1.8 2
Maine ME Mt. Katahdin 5,267 4,200 10.4 5
Maryland MD Backbone Mt. 3,360 750 2.2 3
Massachusetts MA Mt. Greylock 3,487 20 0.1 1a
Michigan MI Mt. Arvon 1,979 300 2.0 2
Minnesota MN Eagle Mt. 2,301 600 7.0 4
Mississippi MS Woodall Mt. 806 < 10 < 0.1 1a
Missouri MO Taum Sauk Mt. 1,772 30 0.4 1a
Montana MT Granite Peak 12,799 7,700 22.2 9
Nebraska NE Panorama Point 5,424 < 10 < 0.1 1a
Nevada NV Boundary Peak 13,140 4,400 7.4 6
New Hampshire NH Mt. Washington 6,288 20 < 0.1 1
New Jersey NJ High Point 1,803 40 0.2 1a
New Mexico NM Wheeler Peak 13,161 3,250 6.2 6
New York NY Mt. Marcy 5,344 3,200 14.8 5
North Carolina NC Mt. Mitchell 6,684 100 0.2 1a
North Dakota ND White Butte 3,506 400 2.0 2
Ohio OH Campbell Hill 1,549 < 10 < 0.1 1a
Oklahoma OK Black Mesa 4,973 775 8.6 4
Oregon OR Mt. Hood 1 1,239 5,300 8.0 8
Pennsylvania PA Mt. Davis 3,213 < 10 < 0.1 1a
Rhode Island RI Jerimoth Hill 812 25 0.6 1
South Carolina SC Sassafras Mt. 3,560 30 0.2 1a
South Dakota SD Harney Peak 7,242 1,500 5.8 4
Tennessee TN Clingmans Dome 6,643 330 1.0 2a
Texas TX Guadalupe Peak 8,749 2,950 8.4 5
Utah UT Kings Peak 13,528 5,350 28.8 7
Vermont VT Mt. Mansfield 4,393 550 2.8 3
Virginia VA Mt. Rogers 5,729 1,500 8.6 4
Washington WA Mt Rainier 14,410 9,100 16.0 9
West Virginia WV Spruce Knob 4,861 20 0.4 1a
Wisconsin WI Timms Hill 1,951 130 0.4 1
Wyoming WY Gannett Peak 13,804 8,650 40.4 9
*United States Geological Survey (USGS), 1995
**Elevation gain is an estimate of ALL vertical gain (i.e. including gain as a result of undulating terrain)
***Distance, round trip, from nearest car access (except for Denali)
aWheelchair accessable under good weather conditions
Classification: The author has constructed the following classification of "difficulty" for reaching specific state highpoints. This classification is based on the easiest "standard" route (see Holmes, 1998) to each summit under "good" conditions. Some highpointers take more difficult routes in order to increase the physical effort (and therefore the physical benefits) of the trip, or simply to provide a greater challenge. Also, it should be clear that other factors will impact on the difficulty of a specific highpoint--weather and route conditions, individual fitness level, outdoor skills, climbing skill, appropriate clothing, proper equipment, and perhaps teamwork. The more difficult highpoints require knowledge, preparation, fitness, and skill to safely negotiate the route.
Martin Classification of Difficulty for U.S. State Highpoints
Class 1 (21) - Drive-ups and highpoints with vertical gains of no more than 130 feet and less than 0.6 miles round trip from car:
Alabamaa Cheaha Mt. < 10 ft gain < 0.1 mile 2,405 ft
Delawarea Ebright Azimuth < 10 ft gain < 0.1 mile 448 ft
Floridaa Britton Hill < 10 ft gain < 0.1 mile 345 ft
Illinois Charles Mound 75 ft gain 0.4 mile 1,235 ft
Indiana Hoosier Hill Point 20 ft gain 0.1 mile 1,257 ft
Iowaa Hawkeye Point < 10 ft gain 0.2 mile 1,670 ft
Kansasa Mt. Sunflower < 10 ft gain < 0.1 mile 4,039 ft
Kentuckya Black Mt. < 10 ft gain 0.1 mile 4,139 ft
Massachusettsa Mt. Greylock 20 ft gain 0.1 mile 3,487 ft
Mississippia Woodall Mt. < 10 ft gain < 0.1 mile 806 ft
Missouria Taum Sauk Mt. 30 ft gain 0.4 mile 1,772 ft
Nebraskaa Panorama Point < 10 ft gain < 0.1 mile 5,424 ft
New Hampshire Mt. Washington 20 ft gain < 0.1 mile 6,288 ft
New Jerseya High Point 40 ft gain 0.2 mile 1,803 ft
North Carolinaa Mt. Mitchell 100 ft gain 0.2 mile 6,684 ft
Ohioa Campbell Hill < 10 ft gain < 0.1 mile 1,549 ft
Pennsylvaniaa Mt. Davis < 10 ft gain < 0.1 mile 3,213 ft
Rhode Island Jerimoth Hill 25 ft gain 0.6 mile 812 ft
South Carolinaa Sassafras Mt. 30 ft gain 0.2 mile 3,560 ft
West Virginiaa Spruce Knob 20 ft gain 0.4 mile 1,951 ft
Wisconsin Timms Hill 130 ft gain 0.4 mile 1,951 ft
aWheelchair accessable under good weather conditions
Class 2 (7) - Highpoints with vertical gains of 150-400 feet and from 0.4 to 2.0 miles round trip from car
Arkansas Magazine Mt. 225 ft gain 1.0 mile 2,753 ft
Georgiaa Brasstown Bald 400 ft gain 1.0 mile 4,784 ft
Hawaii Mauna Kea 230 ft gain 0.4 mile 13,796 ft
Louisiana Driskill Mt. 150 ft gain 1.8 miles 535 ft
Michigan Mt. Arvon 300 ft gain 2.0 miles 1,979 ft
North Dakota White Butte 400 ft gain 2.0 miles 3,506 ft
Tennesseea Clingmans Dome 330 ft gain 1.0 mile 6,643 ft
aWheelchair accessable under good weather conditions
Class 3 (3) - Highpoints with vertical gains of 450-750 feet and from 2.2 to 3.6 miles round trip from car:
Connecticut Mt. Frissell--S slope 450 ft gain 3.6 miles 2,380 ft
Maryland Backbone Mt. 750 ft gain 2.2 miles 3,360 ft
Vermont Mt. Mansfield 550 ft gain 2.8 miles 4,393 ft
Class 4 (4) - Highpoints with vertical gains of 600-1,500 feet and from 5.8 to 8.6 miles round trip from car:
Minnesota Eagle Mt. 600 ft gain 7.0 miles 2,301 ft
Oklahoma Black Mesa 775 ft gain 8.6 miles 4,973 ft
South Dakota Harney Peak 1,500 ft gain 5.8 miles 7,242 ft
Virginia Mt. Rogers 1,500 ft gain 8.6 miles 5,729 ft
Class 5 (3) - Highpoints with vertical gains of 2,950-4,200 feet and from 8.4 to 14.8 miles round trip from car:
Maine Mt. Katahdin 4,200 ft gain 10.4 miles 5,267 ft
New York Mt. Marcy 3,200 ft gain 14.8 miles 5,344 ft
Texas Guadalupe Peak 2,950 ft gain 8.4 miles 8,749 ft
Class 6 (4) - Highpoints with vertical gains of 3,250-5,000 feet, from 6.2 to 9.0 miles round trip from car, and with summits over 12,633 feet:
Arizona Humphreys Peak 3,500 ft gain 9.0 miles 12,633 ft
Colorado Mt. Elbert 5,000 ft gain 9.0 miles 14,433 ft
New Mexico Wheeler Peak 3,250 ft gain 6.2 miles 13,161 ft
Nevada Boundary Peak 4,400 ft gain 7.4 miles 13,140 ft
Class 7 (2) - Highpoints with vertical gains of 5,350-6,750 feet, from 21.4 to 28.8 miles round trip from car, with summits over 13,528 feet, and likely requiring more than one day to summit and return:
California Mt. Whitney 6,750 ft gain 21.4 miles 14,494 ft
Utah Kings Peak 5,350 ft gain 28.8 miles 13,528 ft
Class 8 (2) - Highpoints with vertical gains of 5,300 feet, from 6.8 to 8.0 miles round trip from car, with summits over 11,239 feet, and requiring handholds and/or the use of ropes.
Idaho: Borah Peak - Highpoint with a vertical gain of 5,550 feet, 6.8 miles round trip from car, and summit elevation of 12,662 feet. Handholds are used for some climbing and some individuals may wish rope belays because of exposure.
Oregon: Mt. Hood - Highpoint with a vertical gain of 5,300 feet, 8.0 miles round trip from car, and summit elevation of 11,239 feet. There is climbing on snow fields and glaciers where ropes are required.
Class 9 (3) - Highpoints with vertical gains of 7,000-9,100 feet, from 16.0 to 40.4 miles round trip from car, with summits over 12,799 feet, and requiring technical skill on rock and glacier where ropes are required.
Montana: Granite Peak - Highpoint with a vertical gain of 7,700 feet, 22.2 miles round trip from car, and summit elevation of 12,799 feet. Rock climbing is required and ropes are needed for at least two to three pitches for safety.
Washington: Mt. Rainier - Highpoint with a vertical gain of 9,100 feet, 16.0 miles round trip from car, and summit elevation of 14,410 feet. There is climbing on snow fields and glaciers where ropes are required.
Wyoming: Gannett Peak - Highpoint with a vertical gain of 8,650 feet, 40.4 miles round trip from car, and summit elevation of 13,804 feet. There is climbing on snow fields and glaciers where ropes are required.
Class 10 (1) - Highpoint with a vertical gain of 24,500 feet, 46.0 miles round trip from base camp, summit elevation of 20,320 feet, and requiring technical skills for glacier travel where ropes are required.
Alaska: Mt. McKinley (Denali) - A bush pilot is normally used to fly into base camp on the Kahiltna glacier (West Buttress route). "Carries" are used to movegear and supplies to high camp (usually 17,200 feet). A "carry" is when supplies are moved to a higher elevation, cached, and then the team returns to the previous camp to sleep. The next day, weather permitting, the team moves up to the cache and sets up a new camp. This procedure is repeated several times when climbing the mountain. The elevation difference between base camp (7,200) and the summit (20,320) is 13,120 feet. However, because of "carries," the route to high camp is usually done twice. Therefore, the elevation gain is approximately 24,500 feet. The distance from base camp to the summit is 16 miles. Again, because of the "carries" the actual distance covered is about 46 miles. Climbing is on glaciers, under extreme conditions, where ropes are required at all times. Extensive preparation, equipment, supplies and teamwork are required. Denali is the highpoint of North America.
IV. Highpointers Club
Jack Longacre was the originator and the first President of the Highpointers Club. As he was completing his own highpoint project in the early 1980's, he noticed that some registers on summits had entries indicating that others might be trying to achieve the same goal (e.g. "This was my 21st state highpoint..."). A 1986 issue of Outside Magazine placed an announcement from Longacre in the "Dispatches" section stating that he was starting a "Highpointers Club." This announcement produced correspondence with about thirty people, one of which was Don Berens. When Berens completed his 50th state highpoint, Mary Esch wrote an Associated Press article (November 1987) about his accomplishment that was published throughout the U.S. and included Longacre's name and address. This article generated correspondence with an additional sixty people and thus the club was on its way.
The club has grown steadily since it's inception and now has over 3,000 members. It has become a major source in the dissemination of highpoint information as well as a proactive force in the promotion of state highpoint recognition and care. For example, highpointers surveyed and marked Indiana's state highpoint and then lobbied the Indiana State legislature to name it! Through their efforts (and contributions) a sign and register were installed and the site was officially named Hoosier Hill Point in 1993. Some highpoints are on private land, or there is the need to cross private land to reach the highpoint, the club works to maintain good relations with landowners to insure access to these locations.
The club has an annual convention (which includes the summiting of a state highpoint), publishes a quarterly Apex to Zenith: Highpointers Club Newsletter, (see reference) and administers a Climbing Awards program.
5 state patch, embroidered logo (climb any 5 highpoints)
25 state pin, enameled (climb any 25 highpoints)
30 state pin, enameled (climb 30 with 5 from each of the 4 regions)
40 state pin, enameled (climb any 40 highpoints)
48 state pin, enameled (climb all the Lower 48 contiguous highpoints)
50 state pin, enameled (free to Completers)
48 state plaque, hardwood, engraved (climb all Lower 48 highpoints)
50 state plaque, hardwood, engraved (climb all 50 highpoints)
To date (Summer, 2011), 214 individuals have been documented to have completed all 50 state highpoints and 404 have reached the summits of the 48 contiguous states. At the same time, reaching the summits of ALL state highpoints need not be the objective. As indicated by the award program, individuals are encouraged to complete as many highpoints as their time, interest, and physical ability permits.
V. Records and Folly
Records: It is not the purpose of this article to recommend the pursuit of records related to reaching state highpoints. At the same time, some information related to this topic may be of interest to readers. Various highpointing records can be found in the annual Highpointers Club Directory, the following are examples: Arthur H. Marshall was the first to complete all state highpoints--when there were only 48 (1936). John "Vin" Hoeman was the first to complete all 50 state highpoints in 1966. In 1980, Frances "Freddie" Carter became the first woman and the fifth person to complete the fifty. Jeff and Jerry Wagener became the first father and son to complete in 1990. The American Edition of the Guinness Book of Records lists the Highpoint Hoppers as the record holders for reaching the highest point in each of the 48 contiguous states--one month (July 1-31, 1991). However, in 2006, Jack Meyers (English) completed the 48 in 23 days, 19 hours and 31 minutes. In 1991, Donna and Jack Allsup became the first husband and wife to complete all fifty. Kip and Norm Smith completed "All 50 - Over the Age of 60" and became the first husband and wife team to have completed all fifty state highpoints together in 1992. Whit Rambach and Todd Huston established a time record for completing all fifty state highpoints in 1994. It was 66 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes (Todd has only one leg!). Huston wrote a book about his experiences (1995). The current record is 43 days, 3 hours, 51 min, 9 sec by Mike and Matt Moniz (2010). Cal Dunwoody (77) is the oldest to complete the 50 state highpoints. David Keaton is first (1996) in the 750 Club, that is, the first to complete the summits of the 7 continents and the 50 State Highpoints.
Folly: The January 20, 1966 edition of Ripley's Believe It or Not!, which appeared in papers throughout the U.S., described a: "Collection of Rocks gathered by George H. Peters of Freeport, L.I., N.Y., from the highest points in 49 states of the U.S. He has climbed the highest peaks in every state except Alaska." Kevin Foster Rode ORCarried his bike to 49 highpoints. Bruce Marshall organized an attempt at putting at least one participant on each state highpoint on the same day (June 29, 1994)--The APEX Challenge (Hueske, 1995). Marshall reported that 48 summits were achieved. Tom Martin completed a "50th Birthday Challenge: 50 Miles to the Highpoint of the 50th State--Hawaii" in 1993.
There are numerous other examples of individuals and groups pursuing or involved in reaching various highpoints. For example, the Adirondack 46ers climb the 46 highest peaks in New York State. The Colorado 14er's climb the 54 peaks over 14,000 feet in Colorado. There are also the Catskill 3500, the 111 northeastern peaks over 4000 feet and the 100 highest of New England. Of course, there is a separate category for doing them in winter. Some individuals are doing the "lowpoints" of each state, while others are doing the "second highest" point of each state. Individuals who have or are in the process of attempting to climb to the highest point on each of the seven continents have received a good deal of media attention. Some individuals are attempting to reach the highest point in every country in the world. Others are working on the highest point in each county of their home state--the list is unending.
VI. Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance
Highpointing is a "healthy" activity. The mental/emotional, physical, social, and spiritual benefits have been described. It is an activity that encourages an active and healthy lifestyle.
The concept of "highpointing" could provide an interesting and motivational activity for kindergarten through grade twelve students. Many physical educators have used a "walk across America," "walk across their home state," or "walk across a selected country" to encourage students to walk outside of school for fun and fitness. The students keep track of how far they have walked and post it on a decorated bulletin board. A related activity could involve students walking (distance) and ascending stairs or hills (elevation) to simulate reaching their state highpoint, highpoints in the region, or highpoints of selected states, countries, or continents. This activity could also be coordinated with the social studies and science teachers to include a review of the history and geography of various regions.
The highpointing link to recreation is obvious. It is a leisure activity that produces a multiplicity of benefits. Outdoor recreation/education is, in itself, a good description of highpointing. Highpointing involves hiking, camping, and/or climbing in a variety of ecological zones, under a variety of environmental conditions. It requires knowledge, preparation, skill, and adaptability related to out-of-doors leisure experiences.
The connection to dance is not obvious. However, this author has seen climbers "dance" on summits and "dance" after having returned from a successful climb. The joy inherent in the activity often results in involuntary and voluntary dance--an expression of happiness and pleasure related to having achieved one's goal.
Though most directly related to Recreation (Leisure Studies), the topic of "highpointing" is one that cuts across disciplines. It is an exciting and motivational activity, which can result in many positive benefits. A classification of highpoint " difficulty" has been presented as well as some records and accomplishments to illustrate the variety of individual and group projects possible with this activity. However, the real "spirit" of highpointing is in personal commitment and expression of self. The reasons for deciding to reach a highpoint or start and/or finish a highpoint project are as different and unique as are people. At the same time, it is a truism that the benefits of the experience(s) are universal. Mental/emotional, physical, social, environmental, educational, and spiritual benefits are part and parcel of the highpointing experience.
Four guides to reaching state highpoints have been published. The first, written by Ashley (1970), is now out of print. The guidebooks by Holmes (2000), Zumwalt (1998), and Winger (2002) all provide good descriptions of location, road and trail details, maps, routes, and related information for each U.S. State highpoint. Any of these sources would be an excellent starting point for planning a "highpoint outing," a highpoint project, or simply learning more about the topic. U.S. Highpoint information is updated regularly in the Apex to Zenith: Highpointers Club Newsletter. Highpoint information can also be found on the internet at:
"See you at the top!"
Ashley, F. 1970. Highpoints of the states. Glendale, CA: La Siesta Press. [out of print].
Do you need bottled oxygen for New Jersey? 1986, October. Outside Magazine, p. 24.
The highest point in each state. 1909, June. The National Geographic Magazine.
Apex to Zenith: Highpointers Club Newsletter. Craig Noland, Highpointers Club Membership Chairman, P.O. Box 6364, Sevierville, TN 37864 [Newsletter and Membership $20/year].
Holmes, D. W. 2000. Highpoints of the United States: a guide to the fifty state summits. 2nd ed. revised and updated, from Don Holmes, P.O. Box 1675, Castle Rock, CO 80104 [$18].
Hueske, D. J. (ed.). 1995. The APEX challenge. American Express Technologies [$5 from Bruce Marshall, American Express Financial Advisors, 11350 McCormick Road, Executive Plaza #3, Suite 500, Hunt Valley, MD 21031].
Huston, T. & K. D. Rizzo. 1995. More than mountains: The Todd Huston story. Boise, ID: Pacific Press [$17 from Huston Resources LLC., P.O. Box 702375, Tulsa, OK 74170].
Jacobs, D. B. 1990. Climbing Gannett Peak: A Wind River adventure. from Don Jacobs, 7425 SW Way, Vashon, WA 98070 [$6].
Jacobs, D. B. 1992. Climbing Granite Peak: A Beartooth challenge. from Don Jacobs, 7425 SW Way, Vashon, WA 98070 [$6].
Marshall, A. H. 1936, December. Forty eight state summits. Appalachia.
Martin, T. P. 1995, Spring-Summer. 50th birthday challenge: 50 miles to the highpoint of the 50th state. Future Focus 16(1): 10-14. Ohio Journal of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. 1995. Elevations and distances in the United States. Earth Science Information Center, 507 National Center, Reston, VA 22092.
Winger, Charlie and Diane. 2002. Highpoint adventures: The complete guide to the 50 state highpoints. http://WingerBookstore.Blogspot.com.
Zumwalt, P. L. 1998. Fifty state summits: guide with maps to state highpoints. 2nd ed. from Jack Grauer Publisher, 5717 NE 118th St, Vancouver, WA 98686 [$15].