Deserving Highpoints


This page acknowledges the existence of highpoints that are deserving of our praise even though they are not the highest in the land.

The highpoints described here are not intended to "replace" the special locations known as county highpoints that constitute and define the core of this hobby.

Instead, these highpoints remind us that there are myriad measures of a mountain, including intangibles such as beauty and grandeur, that a single number (i.e. elevation) cannot (and sometimes should not attempt?) to do justice to.

This page is organized as follows. The original discussion thread from roughly New Year 2003 regarding "should-have-been" highpoints is included with almost no modification. Based upon this discussion, a list of highpoints is presented.

The list, arranged by state, includes highpoints that are not county highpoints because they "missed the mark" by a small margin either because of a minor elevation shortfall or because of a county boundary located close to the highpoint.

Some highpoints are deserving of mention even though they "miss the mark" by a longshot or are mentioned in the email discussion as a point of humor. Clearly highpoints in these categories are special places that enliven the spirit for reasons other than sheer elevation, and are indicated by asterisks after their names.

Original Discussion Thread

(Edward Earl)
...Wheeler Peak, White Pine NV (Should have been the NV state HP)...

(Adam Helman)
Edward Earl created a good list of suggested county highpoints for the news column ... and noted that Wheeler Pk of White Pine County, NV should have been the Nevada state HP ... owing to its impressive stature (AKA prominence when mathematically defined).

Not only do I concur with that impression, but offer some additional thoughts regarding mountains that, despite the fact that they do not even qualify for being county highpoints (let alone state highpoints), are very very impressive nonetheless.

Mauna Loa (should have been the Hawaii County HP and thereby also the Hawaii State HP).

Mount Massive (which is all of 12 feet lower than Mt Elbert but is certainly more impressive with its triple crest - especially as viewed from Leadville immediately to the east.

By the way, for my sake Mt Shasta "should have been" the CA state highpoint: Mt Whitney is merely the tallest pinnacle along the Sierra crest while Shasta is a natural landmark par excellence.

Let's have a "should have been" discussion thread!!

(Scott Surgent)
For WY: Grand Teton "should have been" the WY hp. It's just 30' lower, approximately.

I think the rise in Mr Henderson's pastureland in north-central Gove County "should have been" the KS highpoint :)

(Bob Bolton)
...Mount Stuart should'a'been the highpoint of Chelan County instead of Bonanza - it's 9,415 ft, it's got more prominence than Bonanza (5,335+ vs 3,711+), is FAR more often climbed, and has been described (truthfully?) as the biggest chunk of exposed granite in the US. Besides, I'm not alone among cohpers in that I would have Chelan County if Stuart were its HP - "King Packard" being another.

Here's another: Since state highpointers know that Gannett Peak is the HP of WY instead of the Grand Teton (unlike most of the general population) maybe the Grand would be a candidate?? And due to the Grand's popularity and Gannett's inaccessibility, the Grand should'a'been the HP of Wyoming! :-)

(Mike Schwartz)
I've always thought that Machapuchare shoulda been the high point of New Jersey, but if the Nepalis objected, we could have settled for Ama Dablam, Cerro de Torre, Fitzroy, Half Dome, the Crestones, or similar minor peaks.

Seriously, we are fortunate in that the eponymous High Point is a locally prominent knob on the Kittatiny ridge with stunning views extending up to 70 miles on days when our neighbors to the west are not sending us too much pollution. There is no candidate for a shoulda been.

Neighboring Delaware has a shoulda been. Iron Mountain, at 340+ ft, over 100 ft lower than the state highpoint, has a lookout tower and a fine view. I believe it showed up in some old lists as the state highpoint.

No complaint about New York's Mt. Marcy, but Connecticut's Mt. Frissel (pronounced Fri-SELL, BTW) liner state hp, although unique, has always vaguely offended this highpointer. Nearby Bear Mountain, also listed for many years as the state hp, shoulda been a contender.

Pennysylvania's Mt. Davis does not exactly stir the senses. I would nominate Elk Mountain in the northeast as a shoulda been. It is visible for many miles from several directions, and I believe I spotted it this fall from High Point, NJ, a distance approaching 70 miles.

(Trapper Robbins)
For OR: Mount Mazama "should have been" the high point of Oregon if it hadn't imploded into Crater Lake :)

(Adam Helman)
Adding to an already impressive list of should-have-been mountains as proposed in several recent posts (I was particularly amused by Mount Mazama as suggested by Trapper Robbins for Oregon and by Machapuchare as suggested by Mike Schwartz for, of all places, New Jersey!), I offer Nevado Illimani (21,201 ft) as the should-have-been highest peak in Bolivia, as it is only slightly lower than Sajama (21,436 ft) and yet is far more famous from every "angle" imaginable (sheer size, cultural prominence, proximity to a major city, etc...).

Ron Tagliapietra
I have already raved about the Shining Rock Wilderness in NC, and lamented the lack of views at both Richland Balsam and Chestnut Bald (both cohps in the same range). The Shouldabeen here is Black Balsam, since it is higher than Chestnut Bald just across the county lline. Perhaps Big 'Sam or Shining Rock should have replaced Richland Balsam.

Dan Case
(see earlier message)
Bear can remain with the distinction of being CT's highest summit. It also offers a nice view from the AT.

From much of the southern Catskills, Elk and Ararat stand out on the far southwestern horizon when the day is clear enough.

There is an overlook halfway up Table Mountain (which I've become quite familiar with since becoming the trail maintainer) from which one can see both High Point and Elk on a clear enough day.

Is Elk considered the highest peak in the Poconos? IOW, are the mountains up there considered to still be part of the Pokes?

My shouldabeen a CoHP nominee: Mt Pisgah (3,345 ft), for NY Delaware. The highest peak west of the East Branch of the Delaware River, it is one of the more prominent peaks in the Catskills, stands out from the distance and likely has good views from the top due to the Bobcat ski area clearings. It would be so much more appropriate than the county line bump on the way to Bearpen that currently tops the county out (and Round Top and Dry Brook Ridge, both of which are also in Delaware County and exceed 3,400 feet, I can attest from personal experience don't offer much).

And maybe South Beacon or Stissing Mtn for Dutchess. Brace is an excellent climb with great views, but seems to be located only incidentally in Dutchess County (no, wait, it is, due to an old dispute between NY and CT over where the state line (well, colonial boundary at the time) should have been. Those two are more clearly situated within the county and have firetowers to boot. Bristol Hill for Ontario County, because it's a public ski area and thus more easily accessible.

(Dale Millsap)
Salt Lake County, Utah's HP (AF Twin) is impressive, but it should've been, in my humble opinion, Lone Peak, which is at the west end of the same ridge. It is a designated wilderness area, and the approaches are all very rugged and impressive, at least 3.5 miles one way. The final approach to the summit involves a bit of a scramble and is not for the faint of heart, whereas AF Twin is just a steep hike.

The relief is absolutely spectacular, especially from the summit, where there is a vertical drop to the west into the cirque of about 1000 feet. The summit itself consists of several massive boulders perched rather precariously on each other. Unfortunately, it is only 11,253 feet high, at least third down in rank for the county (the other Twin Peaks on the next ridge to the north is also higher). But Lone still has my vote. I have posted a picture on yahoogroups - taken in August this year.

(Tim Worth)
My vote for cohp shoulda been goes to Swan Peak in MT. I haven't climbed it, but supposedly it requires 6,000+ ft of elevation gain by easiest route. Its elevation is at 9289 - it loses out to McDonald Pk in Lake County (9820) and Mt Stimson (10142) in Flathead County - two challenging peaks in their own right. In fact Swan isn't even the highest in its range, that goes to Holland Pk (9356).

Another MT candidate is Crazy Peak (11214), which gets edged out by Mt Douglas (11282) in Sweet Grass County.

[Webmaster's comment: Crazy Peak is the Montana state prominent point. Thereby it is not at all surprising that Crazy Peak is considered a deserving cohp should-have-been.]

(Edward Earl)
Cuyamaca Peak should have been the HP of San Diego county CA. It's a mere 21 feet short of the county's actual high point, Hot Springs Mtn. Cuyamaca Peak is appropriately the most prominent peak in the county and stands like a sentinel near the very center of the county and is visible from dozens of miles in all directions. It's located in a state park and is a classic climb. I know one person who has climbed it over a hundred times.

On the other hand, Hot Springs Mountain is lost in a jumble of peaks near the northern border of the county rising toward higher terrain in Riverside county (culminating ultimately at Toro Peak) and is on an indian reservation, hence it has a slight access problem.

While I'm on the subject, I'll second Dale's nomination that Lone Peak should have been the HP of Salt Lake UT. When I was in graduate school there, I had a sweeping view of it from my bedroom window for 5 years. It is visible from the entire metropolitan area of both Salt Lake and Provo. But as Dale noted, it is exceeded in elevation in Salt Lake county not on by both pairs of Twin Peaks, but also by the Pfeifferhorn and Sunset Peak.

I think Mount Timpanogos should have been the HP of Utah county; it's much more of a "representing landmark" of Utah county than the county's actual HP, Mount Nebo, which is on the border with Juab county. In fact I once incorrectly thought that Mount Nebo was entirely within Juab county, and that Timp really was the HP of Utah county.

I also concur with Ron T's sentiment that Black Balsam Knob should have been the HP of Haywood NC. When I was in college I spent several nights camping and star gazing on the summit of this treeless grassy bald. It's much more representitive of Haywood county than the county's true HP, Mount Guyot, which is on the border with TN and is more of a Smokies landmark than a Haywood landmark. As with Timp, I once thought Black Balsam was the county HP; even though I knew of Guyot for years (and had climbed it too), I hadn't noticed it was in Haywood county.

(Adam Helman)
I'm saving all correspondence regarding this topic into a file with the future intention of posting it on the site: These mountains deserve notoriety even though they may not fit neatly into some list, i.e. highpoint list; prominence list etc... .

Since some of the mountains noted are not county highpoints (but are noted for being excellent cohp substitutes), I am not yet certain where on the site to present this material. However I always figure out a way.

I concur with Edward Earl regarding Cuyamaca summit as the "appropriate" San Diego County HP. 'Tis more impressive than Hot Springs Mtn by every measure except that often-times misleading metric known as "elevation".

(Scott Surgent)
Add: Mazatzal Peak for Gila County, AZ. The peak is 7,903 ft and an all-day hike with some bushwhacking, whereas the Gila HPs are two bumps at 7,920+/- along the Mogollon Rim, accessed by forest road.

By the way: I was in that area this past weekend. The snow is knee-deep and the roads aren't plowed, but it was very pretty.

(Andy Martin)
...Well, may as well toss in some AZ comments.

Greenlee - Maple Peak looks a lot more like a mountain than the current unnamed champ.

Gila - Mazatzal Peak is a real mountain, and only 17 feet lower than the infamous liner. Suggest AZ state legislature revise Mogollon rim border to exclude ground over 7902 feet in elevation. This gives a worthless sliver to Coconino County, and at the same time promotes Mazatzal to proper status.

Pinal - Picacho Peak is one of most widely known AZ mountains, so we could go with the flow and nominate it for cohp. This is another one where revised border would help. A slim corridor should be extended from the liner to the nearby Rice Peak summit.

(Trapper Robbins)
Another "shouldabeen" candidate: Don't know if this one has been mentioned yet. Even with it's top blown off, Mount St. Helens is a spectacular mountain and would have made a nice high point for Skamania County (WA) rather than a liner on the side of Mt. Adams.

(David Olson)
CO Baca: should'a included Potato Butte on top of Carrizo Mountain, rather than end as a sloper on the mountain-side.

CO Jackson: Mt Richthofen in the Never-summer range would'a been a more interesting ascent than Clark Peak.

CO Phillips: Fiddler Peak (a big sand hill) shoulda been higher.

CO Pitkin: It woulda been cool if Castle Peak had been wholly inside Gunnison county (and Mount Massive didn't interfere) and Maroon Peak were the highest in Pitkin county.

GA Towns/Union: Brasstown Bald shoulda have a pointier top, so that we would be spared these uncertainty debates about where the top of each county is.

MI Keweenaw: Mt Desor on Isle Royale would'a made a cooler trip than Mt Horace Greeley, eh?

NM Los Alamos: Could someone kindly move the county line north enough to put the summit of Caballo Mountain in the county?

TX Hardeman: Medicine Mound got outranked by 10 or 20 ft. Say it ain't so!


We are grateful that:

CO Prowers HP is Two Buttes

NE Merrick actually gets some hill-land, rather than being stuck on the Platte River bottoms.


Others have said (as remembered...)

CA state HP: shoulda been Mount Shasta

CT state HP: shoulda been Bear Mtn.

DE state HP: shoulda been Iron Hill

HI Hawaii: Mauna Loa shoulda been higher than Mauna Kea.

MT unspecified: Crazy Peak shoulda been a coHP [it is in Sweet Grass co and is outranked]

MT unspecified: Swan Peak shoulda been a coHP [on border of Flathead and Lake counties and outranked in both]

UT Salt Lake: Lone Peak shoulda been the coHP.

WY state HP: shoulda been Grand Teton

(Trapper Robbins)
VA: Has anyone mentioned Fauquier County yet? Sure would have been nice if the cohp was on the summit of High Knob rather than down on in the woods...

(Bill Schuler)
(see earlier message)
I think that this whole "should-have-been" discussion is ridiculous. We aren't climbing county highpoints to do the most impressive one but to do the HIGHEST ONE. As nice as other peaks are, they mean nothing to a County highpointer because they don't qualify for the only criteria required, namely ELEVATION. No words or wishful thinking can change that fact. I climb many peaks that aren't county highpoints, and enjoy them for what they are, but to want them as a county summit just because they're nice is silly.

There is one exception to this train of thought. When the summit is very nearly as high as the designated county point and may someday, with better surveying techniques, become the county highpoint, then I make an effort to climb them both as if they were both the highest. A good example of this is Mount Arvons and Mount Curwood in Michigan. Less than 1 foot difference and can change with each new survey. 'Nuff said.

(Bob Bolton)
(see earlier message)
:-) Sheez Bill, lighten up! What the heck's wrong with a little whimsy? It seemed like good clean fun to me, so what's up with throwing all this BS at it? IMHO, you shouldabeen a bit more fanciful! ;-)

(Andy Martin)
...Some more in NM:

Valencia - lets lop off the liner. How about tacking on a lane to spot elevation 10057 on the main ridge crest?

Curry - Tack on sections 25,26,35,36 to give Curry closed contour 4860

Roosevelt & Lea - can't be salvaged. Give 'em to Texas ;)

(Bill Schuler)
(see earlier message)
It was whimsy 2 weeks ago. Now it's boring. Hope this message was lighter. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

(Adam Helman)
A fellow HPer from San Diego County recently wrote - (see earlier message)

Now then.

Little does this individual realize that I intend upon transcribing verbatim everybody's post on this discussion thread onto the public website. Seriously.

The whole point of this thread is to acknowledge the existence of mountains that are deserving of our praise even though they are not the highest in the land.

These summits are not intended to "replace" the special locations known as county highpoints that constitute and define the core of this hobby.

Rather, their existences serve to remind us that there are myriad measures of a mountain, including many intangible such as beauty and grandeur, that a single number cannot (and should not attempt?) to do justice.

I am exceedingly pleased with the overall magnitude of the responses as well as the quality (and sometime humorous) proposals for should-have-been summits.

'Nuff said.

(Fred Dale)
...Bill Schuler: I kinda' agree with you in my haid, but at a basal level, well, you know, the thread about shoulda' beens is kinda' fun. About the time you think a thread is really getting good it disappears, so don't be too quick to dismiss this one.

Besides, I'm considering a dissertation-post on the relative esthetic merits of various sand dunes on Chandeleur Is., St. Bernard Parish's cohp.

(Scott Surgent)
There's one more for the list: Borden County TX is one of those vacant counties with about 500 people. There's a nice peak just south and east of Gail, the county seat, called Mushaway Peak (sp?). It has good prominence and a nice profile for the otherwise flattish landscape. But the highpoint(s) are some areas in the extreme NW in farming areas. The trade is that while Mushaway is probably inaccessible, the actual HP areas are in flat fields and easily accessed (unless you're like me, and show up when it's been freshly plowed and the guy is still there plowing).

(Jon Mann)
(see earlier message)
Actually, the high point is not on High Knob at all, but rather on Blue Mountain, as found by Dale Millsap.

(Trapper Robbins)
(see earlier message)
Yup, Jon's correct. This is what happens when you're offline for 5+ months! (We have been selectively browsing the backlog on the group's mail site but may never catch up with all of it...). Thanks.

Deserving Non-County Highpoints by State


highpoint county remarks
Mazatzal Peak Gila Instead of two bumps along the Mogollon Rim.
Maple Peak Greenlee A real mountain instead of the true unnamed cohp.
Picacho Peak (*) Pinal Well known Arizona mountain with impressive form.


highpoint county remarks
Mount Shasta Siskiyou Spectacular glaciated landmark with huge prominence.
Cuyamaca Peak San Diego Only 21 ft lower than Hot Springs Mtn but far more impressive.


highpoint county remarks
Mount Massive Lake Only twelve feet lower than the true cohp, Mt Elbert.
Potato Butte Baca On top of Carrizo Mountain.
Mt Richthofen Jackson In the Never Summer Range.
Fiddler Peak Phillips A big sand hill.
Maroon Peak Pitkin Had Castle Peak been wholly inside Gunnison Co.


highpoint county remarks
Bear Mtn Once believed to be the state HP.


highpoint county remarks
Iron Mtn 340 ft - once believed to be the state HP.


highpoint county remarks
Brasstown Bald (*) Towns/Union Should've had a pointier top (humor only).


highpoint county remarks
Mauna Loa Hawaii Should have also been the Hawaii state HP.


highpoint county remarks
"rise in Mr Henderson's pastureland" (*) Gove


highpoint county remarks
Mt Desor Keweenaw On Isle Royale.


highpoint county remarks
Swan Peak Requires 6,000+ ft elevation gain.
Crazy Peak Sweet Grass State prominent point.

New Jersey

highpoint county remarks
Machapuchare (*) In Nepalese territory. For humor only

New Mexico

highpoint county remarks
Caballo Mountain Los Alamos Moving the county line north would allow the summit to be the cohp.
spot elevation 10057 Valencia Instead of the liner which is the true cohp.
closed contour 4860 (*) Curry Achieved by adding sections 25,26,35,36.
(none) (*) Roosevelt Unsalvagable. Give it to Texas.
(none) (*) Lea Unsalvagable. Give it to Texas.

New York

highpoint county remarks
Mt Pisgah Delaware 3,345 ft
South Beacon Dutchess To replace Brace.
Stissing Mtn Dutchess To replace Brace.
Bristol Hill Ontario Near a ski area and hence easily accessed.


highpoint county remarks
Wheeler Peak White Pine Already the White Pine cohp. Should have been the state HP.

North Carolina

highpoint county remarks
Craggy Dome Buncombe instead of bump on side of Gibbes
Mt Gibbes (same) instead of bump on side of Gibbes
Tusquitee Bald Cherokee instead of the three spots
Black Balsam Haywood instead of Richland Balsam
Shining Rock (same) instead of Richland Balsam
Crabtree Bald Madison view of all 40 Southern Sixers


highpoint county remarks
Mount Mazama (*) Candidate for the Oregon state HP had it not imploded in prehistory.


highpoint county remarks
Elk Mtn To replace Mt Davis as the Pennsylvania state HP.

South Carolina

highpoint county remarks
Table Rock Pickens Should have been the state HP.
Pinnacle Mtn (same) Should have been the state HP.


highpoint county remarks
Medicine Mound Hardeman Outranked by ten or twenty feet.
Mushaway Pk (spp?) Borden


highpoint county remarks
Lone Peak Salt Lake To replace AF Twin as cohp.
Mount Timpanogos Utah More "representative" than the true cohp, Mount Nebo.


highpoint county remarks
Mount Stuart Chelan Has more prominence than the true cohp, King Packard.
Mount St.Helens Skamania Instead of a liner on Mount Adams.


highpoint county remarks
Grand Teton Teton Already the Teton cohp. Should have been the state HP.

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