What in the world is a Highpointer?
January 27, 2016 | Posted in: JHMG
I ask people all the time if they know what a “Highpointer” is. Non-members of the climbing community usually, respond, “Ohh yeah, my cousin has one of those dogs, aren’t they from Scotland?” No, Highpointers are not a dog breed. They are a community of people that have committed themselves to travel around America and visit the highest natural ground in each of the 50 states.
The Highpointers Club was formed in 1987 by Jack Longacre. He founded the Highpointers Club to recognize and celebrate people who complete their task. Jack passed away in 2002, having brought the Club into the modern age. The Club now has over 2,500 members from all 50 states and a dozen foreign countries.
So how many of these brave and committed individuals have actually completed this amazing feat? There are about 250 known completers of the 50 state highpoints, and about 525 48 state Finishers. Four persons actually completed the then-48 states prior to Alaska & Hawaii, beginning all the way back in 1936. However, a dozen or more state highpoints have actually changed as modern mapping methods revealed new locations. Jack Longacre, was the first to complete the currently accepted 50 state highpoints in 1985.
Being a Highpointer is no simple task. Sure, reaching the high point in Florida might not push you to your physical limit, but I guarantee, Granite Peak in Montana, Gannet Peak in Wyoming, along with Hood, Rainier and Denali will push you outside your comfort zone.
“Percentage-wise, few actually make it to all 50, but many Highpointers don’t set that as a realistic goal to begin with.” Says Highpointer David Covill. ” It’s all about the fun of it. There are older members who have done 30 or even 40 highpoints all after 70 years of age and there are members in their early teens who have completed 48 or 50, and many other younger children with at least 40.
A convention is held annually that attracts up to 300 members, and this rotates regionally across America. The 2016 convention is being held in Red Lodge Montana, and provides a great opportunity for anyone attending to climb Granite Peak and Gannet Peak. Jackson Hole Mountain Guides has actually scheduled their expeditions to these peaks around the convention to try to help people achieve their goals. JHMG offers a four-day and a five-day Granite Peak Expedition that departs from nearby Cody, Wy., and a five-day and a six-day Gannett Peak Expedition.
To learn more about the Highpointers Club or to sign up for their newsletter visit Highpointers.org