Highpoint Convention 2004 *

* by Bob Bolton

I attended my first Highpointers convention over the weekend, only because it was held near home in Puyallup, WA. The convention was great! They focused on the state HPers, giving very little notice to the county group, which was OK.

However, I met quite a few in the county ranks, including Gerry Roach, John Mitchler, Dave and Beckie Covill, Ron Tagliapietra, Kevin Williamson, James and Jessica Wedekind, Roy Wallen, and Ken Akerman. Trapper Robbins was there as were Greg Slayden and Bob Packard, and John Roper joined the group going to Paradise, showing up at the convention site long enough for some photos with Packard and me as the only three Washington completers (see below).

On Friday evening after the social time, we were still hungry, so John Mitchler and his fiancee Kathy (will be married on the summit of Pikes Peak in October), Gerry Roach, Dave and Beckie Covill, Trapper Robbins, Kevin Williamson, and I all went out for Mexican. It was really a fun time, with lots of interesting conversation and no small measure of hilarity.

Gerry seems to be very well educated and highly intelligent, and has a terrific sense of humor. That dinner was probably the highlight of the convention for me. For those who don't know, Gerry Roach is a world-class mountaineer, being the second to complete the "seven summits" (highest point on each continent). He has written several climbing-oriented books, including by far the most popular one on the Colorado 14ers, which I have a copy of (shoulda got his autograph in my copy - didn't cross my mind to take it to the convention until too late, even though I figured he'd be there!!).

John Mitchler and Dave Covill wrote the Colorado County Highpoints book, among other notable accomplishments.

One fun thing that happened: James Wedekind suddenly came to the realization that he had met me on Granite Peak (Montana) in 2002. He had hiked alone up to Froze-to-Death Plateau, encountered our party consisting of Duane, Joel and me, talked with us, hiked some with us, then left us behind and headed up nearer the peak. The next day we moved up higher on the plateau, but the weather was very bad for much of that day. Meanwhile he found another guy up high, and the two of them went for the summit on that same day. We saw him later, I believe that same day, on his way out.

He told me at the convention that he thought county highpointing was rather silly when I presented the idea to him up there. Now he has almost twice as many counties as I have, and works on them constantly wherever he goes. He's a great guy, and Jessica is great too. Really had fun getting acquainted with them. He's a captain in the Air Force, and as such will be moving shortly to Ohio. They hope to complete Utah before leaving there.

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