How Highpoints are Conqured
I was asked recently how Austin and I plan our highpointing trips. It’s not quite as easy as waking up in the morning and saying “this summer I’ll go climb the highest point in Texas”. Unfortunately that’s exactly what I did for my first highpoint, and I paid for it…literally. You see if I had done my homework I would have learned that Guadalupe Peak lies within a national park and national parks don’t allow pets on any trails. I found that out after a 9 hour drive out there and a $75 ticket from the park ranger in my pocket.
Every trip must be planned carefully to avoid costly mistakes.
We usually start with a summit we want to climb along with the other summits that are within a reasonable distance to our route. Take the following states for example:
Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas.
All these highpoints lie within a reasonable distance of each other and given the location of our hometown of Dallas, seemed like a reasonable road trip for 5-6 days. To find the location of all state highpoints I use the map located at the bottom of the following page.
PeakBagger provides a wonderful list of information about every state highpoint and while it will provide a lot of information, it still will not give quite all the info I need. That’s when I branch out to summitpost.com
SummitPost will give a breakdown of almost every detail about the highpoint including sections on Getting There, Red Tape, When to Climb, Mountain Conditions, and Other Miscellaneous Information. See an example page below by following the link.
Then, last but not least we’ll follow up and finish our search with the ever trustworthy Google. Often times in searching for more information about the peak we are trying to summit we run along great stories of past travelers and interesting landmarks in the immediate area. Take these for example:
- Bonnie and Clyde were gunned down by 130 law enforcement bullets just around the corner from Louisiana’s highpoint, Driskill Mountain.
- During WWII a B-24 bomber crashed into the side of Humphreys Peak in AZ during a night training mission. All these relics of American history are out there waiting to be found.
So to those individuals looking to summit the 50 states, first, we say have fun while you do it. It’s often more than just a goal to climb all fifty states, its about the journey you’re on to get there. Second we say to be safe while you journey and climb; climbing the highpoint is optional, but coming home is not.
Have fun out there highpointers.