2021 Highpointing, and What Comes Next

My current county high point completion map.

The original goal for my August highpointing week in Nevada was to ascend five counties and set myself up for a Nevada county high point completion in 2022. Ultimately, I bagged four counties before calling it a trip due to smoke. I added a fifth (the state high point) over Labor Day weekend. So that leaves five county high points to go in Nevada. I’m still hoping to finish them off next year but getting the timing to work will be tricky. Four of the county high points I need are at least somewhat near Highway 50, which makes the drive between them fairly straightforward. (The drive to the trailhead, on the other hand, may not be so straightforward—I’m a bit nervous about the approach to Bunker Hill in my Forester.) I am definitely planning on climbing Mt. Jefferson in conjunction with Westercon 74, which will be Tonopah over July 4th weekend. Depending on snow levels, the lead-up to the convention might be a good time to bag another peak or two or three.

The other three-day weekend I can play with is of course Memorial Day, although that’s riskier given the potential for snow, snowmelt, and related hazards. (Next year’s Worldcon is over Labor Day weekend, so that’s out except for maybe an Illinois county.) And there’s also the logistical issue that Charleston Peak, the Clark County highpoint, is far away from everything else and almost certainly has to be done as part of a separate trip (or at least, not the day after another hike). It is of course also possible in theory to ascend any of these county high points over the course of a single weekend, but that’s a lot of extra driving and tired Mondays.

Outside of Nevada, I hit up the Imperial County high point en route to Loscon 47 over Thanksgiving weekend. I’m putting Orange and San Diego Counties on hold for a bit—the former is still logistically complicated (if doable) by the Holy Fire, and the latter turns out to have a Class 4 summit block that I’m not sure I’d be able to get up. I also tagged Point Reno, the highest point of Washington, D.C., while in the city for Worldcon a couple weeks ago. It turned out to be just a quick jaunt from my hotel.

2021 year-end statistics:

  • New county high points: 7 (68 total)
  • Home glob: 58 counties (+6), 186,208 square miles (+44,412)
  • New 2000′ prominence peaks: 6
  • New ultra prominence peaks: 2
  • New Sierra Peaks Section peaks: 4
  • Highest peak climbed: Boundary Peak (13,140′)
  • Most prominent peak climbed: Wheeler Peak (13,063′, P7563)
  • New peaks (min. 300′ prominence) climbed: 15
  • P-Index: 128

2020 Highpointing, and What Comes Next

My current county high point completion map.

Well, this year really sucked, didn’t it?

I climbed Grayback and Salmon Mountains over Independence Day weekend but COVID-19 made any further expeditions a bad idea even if theoretically possible. I was hoping to get those last three SoCal county high points over Thanksgiving but cancelled plans to do so in light of viral spread. I did, however, spend a number of weekends in the High Sierra to practice higher-elevation peakbagging. The big challenge there remains being able to quickly acclimatize, as I found myself repeatedly out-of-breath and slowing down after efforts that should not have resulted in that much fatigue.

Next year’s plans are entirely up for grabs depending on vaccine timelines and whether we have an in-person Worldcon in 2021. If we do, then the obvious target is Fort Reno, the District of Columbia highpoint, and I might also rent a car for a day and go after some other area county (or independent city) high points—I have not yet done the research but a recent thread on the county highpointers mailing list suggests that Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park would all be reasonable objectives. If we do not, then obviously I won’t bother with an East Coast trip. Either way, I’m hoping to take some time off in the summer and sweep up some Nevada county high points, and hopefully I’ll find time to return to far northern California for Bear Mountain.

2020 year-end statistics:

  • New county high points: 2 (61 total)
  • Home glob: 52 counties (+1), 141,796 square miles (+3613)
  • New 2000′ prominence peaks: 5
  • New Sierra Peaks Section peaks: 7
  • Highest peak climbed: Mount Dana (13,057′)
  • Most prominent peak climbed: South Yolla Bolly Mountain (8094′, P4814)
  • New peaks (min. 300′ prominence) climbed: 26
  • P-Index: 119