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STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

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Re: Best Western Introduction?

Postby Alpinist » Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:58 pm

GEM Trail wrote:Here's a question:

If someone has been climbing the Eastern highpoints, and you wanted to give them a taste of bigger things out West without scaring them off, what Western mountain(s) would you start with?

After our last trip Cypress is talking about doing Denali as soon as possible and before we think about that I want to get her used to, and excited about, the Western climbs.

I was thinking Wheeler is a pretty great day hike, that's the only Western one I have actually done. But Whitney, Hood, Guadalupe all seem exciting yet pretty easy. I was even thinking of taking her up Granite via the southwest couloir if anyone has done that.

What do you guys think?

If your plan is to increase the difficulty level slowly for Cypress, then I think the easiest western HPs to start with are White Butte, Harney, Black Mesa, Humphreys, Guadalupe and Wheeler. All are pretty easy day hikes and scenic.

Boundary, Elbert, Borah and Whitney can also be done as day hikes but add a level of difficulty. Kings is usually done as an overnighter but is also not that difficult. It's just a long hike (and scramble)...

Granite and Gannett are much more difficult than the others and usually require multi-day trips and some technical skill to climb.

Hood and Rainier are ideal glacial climbs to prep for Denali. (There's also a glacier on Gannett.) i think you should take her up some additional glaciated peaks or on a couple of other winter mountaineering trips before attempting Denali though. She should get plenty of winter mountaineering experience before heading to Denali. Elbert in winter makes for a great practice trip. Perhaps try Shasta or one of the other big peaks in the Cascades too.
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby Catamount » Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:59 pm

I'd mostly agree with what Alpinist has written. Humphreys, Wheeler, Elbert and Guadalupe are all in basically the same category. They are all well-trodden 1/2 to full day hikes that are in many ways similar to what a Northeast peakbagger might be used to. The only difference is that you add the element of elevation. I am sure you and your daughter would enjoy any or all of them. Whitney and Kings are also similar insofar as they are both multiday trips for most folks but the terrain isn't tricky. Borah and Boundary are a little tougher with Class 2 to 3 terrain where route-finding skills are handy. And for now, I will refrain from comment on the Northwest block although I will say they are generally regarded as the most difficult in the lower 48. Hope to report back in 5 or 6 weeks.
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby sm0421 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:28 am

I would not start with Elbert, it's pretty hard...took 2 tries and the long hike above the treeline over multiple fake summit is not easy.

I did Humphrey in winter as my first western peak, then I did Wheeler in May, both are beautiful half-day hike where you can feel the altitude. Guadalupe is an amazing place but not hard at all.

I plan on doing Granite SW Couloir this August and Boudary in early December, will report back.
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby Alpinist » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:47 pm

I climbed Elbert in winter when the approach is longer due to the road closure. As a low lander, I opted to camp 1 night around tree line. Even though it is just a hike, it is harder than Harney, Black Mesa, etc., due to the distance and altitude. It also took me 2 attempts; I was turned back by high winds on my first attempt and ran out of time... (Had a plane to catch.)
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby GEM Trail » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:52 pm

Thanks so much to everyone for your thoughts. Who knows how things will play out, we may be able to do multiple states on our first trip, but I am grateful to you guys for sharing the knowledge.

I have to admit little interest in starting her on Borah, Elbert or Boundary as they just don't seem that fun. And Ranier and Gannet are obviously too hard. Granite is probably too hard as well, but I am intrigued....

Sm0421, I am very curious about that SW couloir route up Granite. It seems strange that in most ways it seems like an easier climb than the standard route yet very few choose it. I can't wait to hear your experience. I am sure you already know that splattski (sp?) did a trip report on that route with suggestions for tweaking the route slightly. If not, definitely read it and look at his map!
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby Alpinist » Mon Jul 02, 2012 6:54 pm

The long approach and rough terrain are what make Granite so difficult. Unless you are superhuman and plan to do it as a day hike (not advised), you'll be carrying both camping gear and climbing gear. There are no groomed trails on the FTD Plateau. It is VERY rough country.

Heavy packs + rough terrain + 16 mile approach = very challenging.

IMO, both Gannett and Granite are more difficult than Rainier because of the long approach combined with the necessity to bring climbing gear.

Also, I'm not sure what the approach is for the SW Couloir but I don't think you can access it from the FTD Plateau. That approach could be even worse.

Don't underestimate this climb. Granite Peak is not easy!
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby Jow » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:07 pm

Got my first highpoints of the year with a MD, PA, WV weekend. trip report below

http://www.summitpost.org/an-alleghany-weekend/798509


I'll be hitting up Alabama next month, and then Arizona in September which will get me to 25.
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby GEM Trail » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:01 am

Nice job, Jow. Sorry about your car, but as you said, highpointing is a great way to find places you would otherwise never see!

As a side note, building on what Jow said, isn't it interesting how rural America is filled with funny church slogans? I am often impressed at the wordplay on church signs. Not that it ever tempts me to go inside...
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby Catamount » Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:14 pm

So my western trip is officially under way and my running tally now stands at 0 for 1. My second trip to Hood ended similarly to my first with no serious attempt at the summit. Got into the Government Camp area yesterday and spent some time studying the upper part of the south side route. Regardless of what anyone else says, this route is no joke. When I came out for a guided attempt in the winter of 2011 (cancelled by TMG due to weather and avalanche conditions), the Old Chute area looked like a big poofy pillow. With much of the snow gone, the chute appeared both longer and steeper. When I looked at it yesterday, I thought it looked a little too dicey for my planned solo attempt. Hiked to the top of the ski area today for a closer look and decided it was a definite no go. Had fun on both my trips out here though. I've both skied and hiked on Hood at this point and don't know if I will be back. The journey is the destination as they say and I've now made the journey twice.

So on very short notice, it looks like I have a permit for a Mount St. Helen's summit hike all lined up for tomorrow and then it's onto Rainier for a guided attempt with IMG starting on Saturday morning. :D
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby GEM Trail » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:50 pm

Best of luck Catamount. Sorry about Hood but you will live to climb another day. We are all cheering you on for Ranier!
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby DK » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:23 am

I agree with Alpinist.. Gannett & Granite are harder than Rainier b/c of the long approach & technical aspect. I found Boundary peak to be harder than Rainier in a way too because it is a steep (miserable) scramble up loose scree.
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby Catamount » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:59 am

GEM Trail wrote:Best of luck Catamount. Sorry about Hood but you will live to climb another day. We are all cheering you on for Ranier!


Thanks for the encouragement GEM Trail, but it's really not even all that important in the grand scheme of things. When I started Highpointing 11 years ago, the goal was to see the country. By the end of this trip, I will have done just that with a minimum of 45 successful summits and honest attempts of the others except Denali. There are other things to do in life than repeatedly hurl yourself at the same mountains hoping for success. So yeah, I definitely would like to succeed on Rainier, Gannett and Granite, but if I don't, I don't. The time to move on is fast approaching.
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby GEM Trail » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:58 am

Wow, Catamount, I am impressed by your mature perspective.

Good luck on the rest of your summits!
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby Holsti97 » Wed Jul 11, 2012 9:55 pm

Don't worry...Catamount will be back. Once you get over 40 highpoints you become obsessed. I did Mount Whitney twice and Gannett twice. I have heard numerous accounts of people that had 3 or more attempts on Gannett, Granite, Rainier, and Hood. A 50 highpoint completer was recognized at the Oregon Konvention for reaching 50 HPS on his 5th try of Denali. Good luck Mark. Will be thinking of you and wishing you good weather and safe climbs.
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Re: STATE HIGHPOINT CLIMBERS

Postby Catamount » Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:25 am

Thanks Doug. Had a rippin good time on Mount St. Helen's today. Climbed about 3K feet and was feeling strong but decided to save my legs for Rainier. I've had 3 good hikes in the last week ranging from 2,400 feet on Hood to 4K feet on Algonquin and Iroquois back in New York. Feeling like I'm in real good shape for the climb up to Muir on Saturday.

As to the other thoughts, I think I should write a book about Highpointing entitled "It's not about the summit." I'll donate a portion of the proceeds to Livestrong for stealing Lance's idea. :D
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