May 11, 2016 9:43 pm Published by Leave your thoughts
Everest-Movie-2015

Everest Movie (2015)

The movie Everest is out and if you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend you to go watch it. It is a masterpiece. It is beautiful. It is majestic.

It has been my long time dream to climb Mount Everest, the ultimate adventure. After years of hiking, trekking, mountaineering, skydiving, and what not, I have finally put together a realistic and fun plan to accomplish my next death defying goals.

Goal Picking & Setting

For me, the standards for goal picking & setting is simple.

“If a goal is not crazy enough, it is not worthy enough to be a goal. It better be just a task.” – Salil Jha

“A goal must fit into the grand vision of your life. A goal must be a pillar or a brick in the architect of your vision.” – Salil Jha

Goals

My step #1 is to attempt and successfully climb all 14 peaks of Massachusetts (for 14 counties) by Aug 31, 2016. County highpoints are generally called as CoHP.

My step #2 is to attempt and climb all 50 tallest peaks of all 50 states of USA by or before Dec 31, 2018.

Mount_Whitney_california

Mount Whitney, tallest peak in California

And this is the most fun part. I won’t be doing this alone. This is something, my girlfriend and I are going to attempt together. If we successfully do this, we will be the first couple to successfully climb all 50 tallest mountain peaks in America.

As a couple, our goal is to eventually climb the Seven Summits and make a Guinness World Record.

Mount-Mitchell_North_Carolina

Mount Mitchell in North Carolina (great to visit during Fall colors)

There are 2 primary reasons to do this:

  1. We will be the first international couple to officially do it. And, it will be a good warm up exercise for us for later higher and more dangerous climbs.
  2. Most of these places are easy to access (since we live in Boston and east coast states are smaller). Therefore this feat will not cost us a fortune unlike if we think of flying to every continent or Poles. Or, if we were to travel from Asia or Europe.
britton hill florida-highest-peak-point

Florida’s highest peak at Britton Hill. As you can see, some are challenging while others are easy.

Being Official About It

To make sure what we are attempting is doable and in some way officially verifiable, I reached out to Greg, an experienced climber and the creator & webmaster  of Peakbagger.com.

I wanted to ask his advise on this. (PS: I highly encourage you all to check out peakbagging.com and peakbagger.com. These websites will inspire you to your core.)

Following is my email communications with Greg.

Hi Greg,

My girlfriend and I are into mountaineering and hiking. We have been doing it for years.

I recently discovered your website and I was wondering, how do you verify the climbs?

As a couple, we want to do 50 peaks of US and would like to do it as part of a book project that I have. My plan is to find out how much and money it would cost for a person or couple to perform such a feat.

I was curious how do I make sure that my climbs are recorded which can later be officially verified.

Suggestions, thoughts?

Best regards,

Sal

Greg’s quick reply to my email:

Hi, Salil,

The vast majority of accomplishments reported by mountain climbers worldwide are on an honor system.  Most people don’t make any real attempt to conclusively document their ascents, nor question the climbs of others.  For virtually all hiking clubs in the USA, including the State Highpointers, it’s all about fun and friendship, and if you say you climbed all the peaks, they will give you the benefit of the doubt.

In mountaineering history there have been some charlatans claiming ascents they never made, usually first ascents of well-known peaks.  And I know of some elderly people with a form of mental illness who started logging all sorts of imaginary climbs, claiming they were real.  But this is a very small minority.

There are also variations of the understanding of what getting to a summit means.  For some, they have to touch the highest rock with their boot.  For others, getting 95% the way up counts, for example, the many guided clients who reach the crater rim of Mount Rainier, do not cross to the highest summit, and call it good.

I personally like to take pictures of myself when I have climbed a major peak solo, to prove I was there, but no one has ever asked me for proof.  The whole thing is kind of silly, really.  So I would not worry at all about doing anything formal for verification—just take some photos and sign the register.

I have completed the 50 state highpoints.  Outside of Denali, it’s not super hard or super expensive.

The main obstacle is getting enough time off, and doing a lot of driving.  If you need a guide for Rainier, Hood, Granite, or Gannett, that can be a little expensive, otherwise your only real costs are gas, food, lodging, etc.

Denali is another story.  It’s about $10,000 to climb that peak, for the guide service, buying special cold weather gear, airfare, park fees, etc. Cheaper without a guide but still probably $5000. 

Best of luck on your quest,

– Greg, Webmaster, Peakbagger.com

My gratitude reply to Greg:

Hi Greg,

Good morning! Yours is the first email I have read this morning and I can’t tell how happy I am. (Honestly, I was not sure, if you would reply or reply quick enough). Whenever someone is willing to be approachable and helpful, it just lights up the whole universe. (Ok, may be not the whole universe but someone’s world for sure).

So, thank you! 

Ok – so pictures and registration/entrance log (if any) is sufficient. This makes this whole undertaking more fun.

I have registered on Peakbagger.com and would love to meet and make new adventurer friends.

Thank you again! Please keep doing what you love to do!

– Sal

Boston, MA

Mount_Greylock_tallest-in-MA

Mount Greylock, tallest peak in Massachusetts

Here is the Massachusetts (MA) list:

  1. Berkshire, Mount Greylock, 3487 ft
  2. Franklin, Mount Crum Hill, 2835 ft
  3. Hampshire, West Mountain, 2106 ft
  4. Worcester, Wachusett Mountain, 1998 ft
  5. Hampden, Round Top Hill, 1781
  6. Middlesex, Nutting Hill (Northeast Slope), 1585 ft
  7. Norfolk, Great Blue Hill, 640 ft
  8. Essex, Holt Hill, 423 ft
  9. Plymouth, Manomet Hill, 395 ft
  10. Bristol, Sunrise Hill, 394 ft
  11. Suffolk, Bellevue Hill, 325 ft
  12. Dukes, Marthas Vineyard High Point, 311 ft
  13. Barnstable, Pine Hill, 306 ft
  14. Nantucket, Sankaty Head, 111 ft 

The reason I am posting this publicly on my blog is so we remain accountable to our goals. The goal completion date is to finish all climbs by or before 12/31/2016. 

Here is the United States 51 tallest peaks (including DC). We will do the 48 states + DC first and then attempt Denali and Hawaii in the end. We have already been to Alaska and it is expensive. Besides, you can see in Greg’s reply to me that there are other expensive costs associated with Mount Denali (formerly Mount McKinley).

Some say, climbers attempting less commercialized peaks, like Denali, are often expected to carry backpacks over 30 kilograms (66 lbs) and, occasionally, to tow a sled with 35 kilograms (77 lbs) of gear and food. Now that’s real adventure. That’s challenging, crazy and fun.

Mount McKinley aka Mt. Denali in Alaska, the tallest in USA and North American continent. One of the Seven Summits.

Map_of_USA_highpoints elevations

Map of USA 50 States High Points

The United States’ 51 tallest peaks (including DC):

  1. Alaska, Denali, 20,310 ft
  2. California, Mount Whitney, 14,495 ft
  3. Colorado, Mount Elbert, 14,433 ft
  4. Washington, Mount Rainier, 14,411 ft
  5. Wyoming, Gannett Peak, 13,804 ft
  6. Hawaii, Mauna Kea, 13,796 ft
  7. Utah, Kings Peak, 13,528 ft
  8. New Mexico, Wheeler Peak, 13,161 ft
  9. Nevada, Boundary Peak, 13,140 ft
  10. Montana, Granite Peak, 12,799 ft
  11. Idaho, Borah Peak, 12,662 ft
  12. Arizona, Humphreys Peak, 12,633 ft
  13. Oregon, Mount Hood, 11,239 ft
  14. Texas, Guadalupe Peak, 8749 ft
  15. South Dakota, Harney Peak 7242 ft
  16. North Carolina, Mount Mitchell, 6684 ft
  17. Tennessee, Clingmans Dome, 6643 ft
  18. New Hampshire, Mount Washington, 6288 ft
  19. Virginia, Mount Rogers, 5729 ft
  20. Nebraska, Panorama Point, 5426 ft
  21. New York, Mount Marcy, 5344 ft
  22. Maine, Katahdin, 5268 ft
  23. Oklahoma, Black Mesa, 4973 ft
  24. West Virginia, Spruce Knob, 4861 ft
  25. Georgia, Brasstown Bald, 4784 ft
  26. Vermont, Mount Mansfield, 4393 ft
  27. Kentucky, Black Mountain, 4139 ft
  28. Kansas, Mount Sunflower, 4039 ft
  29. South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain, 3554 ft
  30. North Dakota, White Butte, 3506 ft
  31. Massachusetts, Mount Greylock, 3487 ft
  32. Maryland, Backbone Mountain, 3360 ft
  33. Pennsylvania, Mount Davis, 3213 ft
  34. Arkansas, Magazine Mountain, 2753 ft
  35. Alabama, Cheaha Mountain, 2405 ft
  36. Connecticut, Mount Frissell (South Slope), 2372 ft
  37. Minnesota, Eagle Mountain, 2301 ft
  38. Michigan, Mount Arvon, 1978 ft
  39. Wisconsin, Timms Hill, 1951 ft
  40. New Jersey, High Point, 1803 ft
  41. Missouri, Taum Sauk Mountain, 1772 ft
  42. Iowa, Hawkeye Point 1670 ft
  43. Ohio, Campbell Hill 1549 ft
  44. Indiana, Hoosier Hill, 1257 ft
  45. Illinois, Charles Mound, 1235 ft
  46. Rhode Island, Jerimoth Hill, 812 ft
  47. Mississippi, Woodall Mountain, 806 ft
  48. Louisiana, Driskill Mountain, 535 ft
  49. Delaware, Ebright Azimuth, 442 ft
  50. Florida, Britton Hill, 345 ft

  Extra: District of Columbia, Reno Reservoir, 415 ft

Mount_Elbert_ the tallest in Colorado and Rocky Mountains

Mount Elbert, the tallest in Colorado and Rocky Mountains

What Else Are We Doing? 

While doing the US 50 States High pints (mountains), we will simultaneously also cover two of our ancillary goals.

  1. Road trip and covering all 50 states of USA
  2. Having the best moments from all 50 states and turning it into a picture-book

Next, we will start with The Seven Summit and with Mount Denali (tallest peak in the North American continent) already covered, we will only have 6 more to do. Well, this is only a dream for now. First thing first. The secret to success is one baby step at a time and being consistent.

Please join us on our quest to conquer all 50 States High Points in the USA. We need your support, love, and prayers.

If you are a climber and would love to join us, please feel free to message me. We have a long way to go. This couch is too soft for me, it’s time to shut down the internet and go to the rocks. It is still fall and there are beautiful colors out there.

Talk to you soon, my friends!

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This post was written by Salil Jha