If you are into outdoor sports and adventure, no doubt you’ve experienced many “Highpoints”, those moments of accomplishment that clarify your life’s purpose and set the stage for the next one. For climbers and mountaineers, peak exhilaration comes from topping out on routes that few have done before, or that signify a personal best on your part. But did you know that there is a relatively new, loosely organized, club of United States High Pointers? These are folks who choose to travel to and summit the highest point in all 50 states. Sounds pretty intriguing doesn’t it? On April 13 at The Camp House a film will be shown titled, “American Highpoints” that chronicles one family’s journey as they tag the highest points in all 50 states. From the film’s trailer, one of their loftiest summits is that of Wyoming’s Gannet Peak at 13,809ft.
Having had the experience of climbing Gannet with my wife Georgia somewhere around 2008, the film is personally captivating. It is set in a mountain range that we know intimately, the Wind River Range; a place that each of us guided clients on backpacking, climbing, and horse packing trips, and is now our annual refuge from the southern summer heat.
Gannett is a formidable mountain, tucked away deep in the Winds, only allowing a glimpse of itself from various angles down low in Pinedale, Wy. or Fremont Lake. There are two routes to the base of the mountain one across the Wind River Indian Reservation and the other by way of Pinedale to Summit Lake. Our trip was self supported with heavy packs and more mountaineering equipment than we actually needed. It took us 5 days round trip with a challenging night spent atop the pass between Titcomb Basin and the Gannett Glacier, the winds howled, sleet and snow tested our tent and altitude sickness hit both of us a different times.
Our summit day was crystal clear and warm enough to allow us to top out without much more excitement than to have helped a less experienced group across the ribbon thin snow bridge separating the glacier from the summit ridge. A fairly steep crevasse lurks underneath the bridge that is only “in” a portion of the year and dependent upon a snowy winter.
The trailer scene above is one of sharp contrast to the many highpoints the film’s family manages with little more than their car. But to summit Gannett as a family sets the stage for many more ambitious adventures.
The film will be traveling through Chattanooga for a showing at The Camp House on April 13 at 7:00pm. There is no admission fee and 10% of all proceeds from food and beverages will generously be donated to the Lula Lake Land Trust.