Charles Mound 2018 Access Dates Announced

Highpointers hoping to reach the top of Illinois will have five weekend opportunities in 2018 as the access dates for Charles Mound have been announced.

For those looking for a winter accent to the top of The Prairie State, access will be granted on February 17 and 18.  However, the lane leading to the highest point will not be plowed.

After February, highpointers will have to wait until the first full weekend of the summer months to reach the top of Charles Mound.  Access to the highpoint will be available June 2 and 3, July 7 and 8, August 4 and 5, and September 1 and 2.

Charles Mound sits on private property in Illinois, and it should be treated as such.  The property owners, The Wuebbels, love highpionters and are gracious hosts with just three firm rules for visitors:

  1. No cars up in our lane.
  2. No pets
  3. No visitors after dark.

Set your car GPS to “688 West Charles Mound Road, Scales Mound, IL”. Their private lane is not marked except for a blue “688” along the road. Do not crowd the country road. Park on one side off the blacktop so that farm equipment can pass through. From this country road, it’s about a 1.25 mile walk up the lane to the summit.

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Issue #119 of “Apex to Zenith” Fourth Quarter 2017

Topic Page
48 Finishers
• Brian Council
• Norman Michaels
• Don Smalley
9 – 10, 27
50 Completers
• Steve Eilertson
• Nigel Roberts
• Joan Zardus
2, 7 – 9
50 and 48 4
Article – Virginia 18
Ask a Guide 22 – 24
Difficulty Rating 14
Errata 12
Highpoint Updates
• Illinois – Charles Mound
• Kentucky – Black Mountain
• Louisiana – Driskill Mountain
• Nevada – Boundary Peak
Klimbin’ Kollaborator 12
Le Cache 11
Lists! – Second Lap 27
ARKANSAS 2018 16 – 17
Merc 15
Milestones 20 – 21, 28 – 30
More Than 50 13
New Members 13
Obituary – Fred Beckey 19
President’s Message 12
S.O.S. #45 Safe Hiking 25 – 26
Tri-state Points Online 11
World HPs – Canada’s 3rd Completer 19

If you are interested in this back issue, please contact the newsletter editor (

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2018 Highpointers Convention June 28-30 at Magazine Mountain

The 32nd Highpointers Club Convention will be held at “The Lodge at Mount Magazine” in Mount Magazine State Park which is on top of the state highpoint Magazine Mountain. The action happens from June 28 to June 30, 2018.

How many Conventions have been held entirely on top of a highpoint? This is the one! All activities will be held on this highpoint and there should be enough lodging and camping for everyone (provided we double up our rooms). The Lodge itself is a 15 minute walk from Signal Hill, the true highpint.

Convention Schedule
Thu June 28
Registration from 10AM – 5PM in The Lodge
Icebreaker Social (not part of convention fee) 5PM, location TBD
Fri June 29
Registration & Merc from 9AM – 5PM in The Lodge
Hiking, Climbing, and Workshops, schedule TBD
Liar’s Club Social, 5PM in the Pavilion at the Visitors Center; beer and food trucks will be present so bring cash
Sat June 30
Registration & Merc from 9AM – 5PM in The Lodge
Pancake Breakfast, schedule TBD
Board Meeting, 10AM in banquet room at The Lodge
Wendy Comstock Watermelon Feast, 1PM, at the summit
Hiking, Climbing, and Workshops, schedule TBD
Annual Banquet, 5PM in The Lodge

Accommodations on top of Magazine Mountain will be limited. The Lodge has 60 rooms ($127-$143) and 13 cabins ($175-$319), so PLEASE share by doubling up and ordering a cot. Get Cozy. Make new friends.

Nikki Hemphill will coordinate room sharing, so you must contact her before you book a room. If you need a bed, let her suggest roommates for you.

Thank you Kathy Dalsaso for negotiating these amazing rates for us.

There is lodging down the hill in Clarksville (north, along I-40) and Russellville (east, along I-40). The 2-lane winding roads from these towns consume much of an hour to reach The Lodge. Kathy reserved two blocks of rooms in Clarksville: Quality Inn (479) 764-3000 ($65) and Holiday Inn Express (479) 705-7600 ($101). There is also a Hampton Inn and Best Western.

Mount Magazine State Park campground has 18 sites with hookups. Additional campgrounds of Blue Mountain Lake and Cove Lake are nearby. Consider this option; many Highpointers will be there.

The Lodge has a nice restaurant and thirty minutes to the north is Paris, AR, with local restaurants and fast food.

There is limited lodging at Mount Magazine State Park. Rooms and campsites are filling up quick. If you’d like a roommate, contact Nikki Hemphill at or leave her a message at (219) 545-2169. Please consider the motels in nearby Clarksville and Russellville.

When you submit your registration form and check, Guy will respond with an email confirming your registration along with a unique Identification Number assigned to you, along with your t-shirt sizes.

PLEASE bring this email to the convention and present it at the registration table. This will make the registration process move quicker and should eliminate confusion and complaints.

The banquet hall has a legal capacity of around 200. Once our registration reaches the maximum, we won’t be able to allow more inside, therefore, mail your registration to Guy Shaddoxx now! We anticipate this to be a sell out, and because of this limitation there will be NO WALK IN registration at this convention.

Registration Form
The registration form can be downloaded here (PDF).

For convention questions, contact Host Alan Ritter at (314) 488-1139
For registration questions, contact Treasurer Guy Shaddoxx at
For lodging questions, contact Nikki Hemphill at

Details on distances, nearby sites, outdoor activities and more can be found in the Apex to Zenith Newsletter #118 Third Quarter 2017 – pages 18-20.

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Issue #118 of “Apex to Zenith” Third Quarter 2017

Topic Page
48 Finishers
• Judy and Billy McDonough
9 – 10, 35
50 Completers
• Kevin Baker
• Bob and Sharon Dawson
• Pete Deshler
• Bruce Freedman
• Derek Rutledge
2, 7 – 9
50 and 48 4 – 6
Article – Eclipse! 24 – 25
Ask a Guide 26
Book Review – Highpointing for Tibet 16
Editor’s Note 11
Errata 11
Highpoint Updates
• California – Mt Whitney
• Canada
• Colorado – Mt Elbert
• Hawaii – Mauna Kea
• Illinois – Charles Mound
• Maine – Katahdin
• Maryland – Hoye Crest
• Michigan – Mt Arvon
• Minnesota – Eagle Mountain
• New Jersey – High Point
• New York – Mt Marcy
• North Dakota – White Butte
• Puerto Rico – Cerro de Punta
• South Carolina – Sassafras Mountain
• Tennessee – Clingmans Dome
• Utah – Kings Peak
28 – 29
Klimbin’ Kollaborator 11
Le Cache 11
Lists! – golf courses 17
Lists! – moon 17
MASSACHUSETTS 2017 31 – 35
ARKANSAS 2018 18 – 20
Memoriabilia 20
Merc 21
Milestones 29 – 31
New Members 13
Obituary – Freddie Carter 15
Obituary – Joyce Parsell 16
President’s Message 12
S.O.S. #44 Driving Revisited 26
Scholarship 22 – 23
Tri-state Points 14
Website 12

If you are interested in this back issue, please contact the newsletter editor (

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Joyce Parsell Passes Away

The Highpointers Club is saddened by the death of Joyce Parsell.  Joyce had conquered 37 state highpoints and 40 state low points. 

Joyce’s husband, Jack, wrote the first definitive guide for tripointing, and Joyce was his partner in these adventures, visiting 38 tri-points. 

Joyce passed away peacefully on Oct. 4.  Her daughter, Susan, has asked that any donations in her honor be sent to the Highpointers Club Scholarship Fund.

Joyce and Jack were featured in an interview in one of the club newsletters in 2003.

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State Highpoints May Offer Amazing View of 2017 Total Eclipse

With a new observation tower and a cleared top, Sassafras Mountain might be a prime spot to view the 2017 total solar eclipse.

With a cleared top and hopes of a new observation tower, Sassafras Mountain might be a prime spot to view the 2017 total solar eclipse.

[Ed: Club members may want to read the updated article (with times) “Two Minute Highpoint Party or ‘Highpointing In the Dark'” in Issue #117 – Second Quarter 2017 of the newsletter (in your mailboxes now)].

For the first time in nearly a century, a total solar eclipse will be visible across the United States, and given the projected path of totality, highpointers may be able to head to the top of  a few different states to watch the event unfold.

The Washington Post recently posted an article showing the projected path, and gives more detailed listings of where the eclipse can be seen in totality.

Continue reading

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Issue #117 of “Apex to Zenith” Second Quarter 2017

Topic Page
50 Completers
• Tom Renaud
• Alison Schenk
2, 5
50 and 48 4
Article – Eclipse! 15
Article – Into Thick Air 36
Article – Origin of State Highpoint Names 27 – 31
Ask a Guide 12
Awards 12 – 13
Club Conventions 14
Club Operations Map 9
Completers Records 38 – 40
Completers pre-1959 41
Completers 48 45 – 46
Completers 50 42 – 44
Completers Lowpoints 9
Completers Tri-state Points 9
Editor’s Note 6
Errata 6
Guides and Outfitters 37
HP Difficulty Rating 10
HP Location Map 20
HPs Recognized by the Club 11
Highpoint Updates
• Alaska – Denali
• California – Mt Whitney
• Hawaii – Mauna Kea
• Illinois – Charles Mound
• Ohio – Campbell Hill
• Rhode Island – Jerimoth Hill
• Tennessee – Clingmans Dome
• Wisconsin – Timms Hill
18 – 19
How to Claim Credit for HPs 11
How the Club Began 8
Klimbin’ Kollaborator 9
Le Cache 6
Lists! – Contiguous 48 Ultras 21
MASSACHUSETTS 2017 24 – 26
Memoriabilia – postcards 16 – 17, 19
Merc 23
Milestones 32 – 36, 47
New Members 7, 22
Obituary – Miles Luke 22
Obituary – Ozzie 22
Obituary – Steve Fellstrom 22
President’s Message 6
Quiz – HP Geography 7
S.O.S. #41 Sunblocks and Sunscreens – part 2 or 2 20
Scholarship 8
Website 8

If you are interested in this back issue, please contact the newsletter editor (

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A 51st Highpoint? Puerto Ricans Vote in Statehood Referendum

Cerro de Punta, the highpoint of Puerto Rico (Credit: Ratzer1 | Wikipedia)


Highpointers may have to find a way to reach a 51st highpoint as Puerto Ricans headed to the polls Sunday to vote on a statehood referendum.

Voters were presented with the option to vote for independence/free association, keeping the status quo, or statehood.  The result of the vote, known as a plebiscite, is non-binding as the United States Congress would have to formally set forth conditions for statehood, and this not required in response to the vote.

However, let’s go down the rabbit hole and assume that the vote comes back supporting statehood (a strong possibility as many who oppose statehood are boycotting the vote), and Congress votes to extend statehood to Puerto Rico.

If Puerto Rico were to become a state, it’s highpoint is Cerro de Punta, a 4,390 foot mountain in the Cordillera Central, a mountain range that divides the island.  On a clear day, San Juan, which is 75 miles away, can be seen. 

The mountain’s elevation would place it between Kentucky’s Black Mountain and Vermont’s Mount Mansfield in elevation ranking. 

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Opportunity to Learn about Geocaching at the 2017 Massachusetts Convention

While chasing down the 50 highpoints, several highpointers dive into other adventures such as tripointing and lowpointing.  At the 2017 Highpointers Massachusetts Convention, highpointers will get the chance to learn about another hobby–geocaching.

For the uninitiated, geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices.

Some state highpoints, such as Backbone Mountain, Maryland, have geocaches hidden on them.  

Club members will have the opportunity to mingle with the geocachers of Berkshire GeoBash during the Massachusetts 2017 Highpointers Convention “Afternoon Delight” at Freight Yard Pub in North Adams on Friday, July 21st. The fun starts at 1 PM and goes until the last person crawls home at close.

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Highpoints by Volume

While looking for various mountain metrics I found the ORS (Spire) Measure as well as Tim Worth’s Steepness Measure which is a simplified version of ORS. I decided to try an intermediate measure – measuring the volume of the peak near the summit (100m) and at its shoulder (800m). The thought being that spires/towers will have a high volume at 100m, but their 800m volume won’t be that much larger. Whereas a flat-topped mountain will have a low volume at 100m, but their 800m volume will be much larger.

Imagine taking a core sample (100m or 800m radius) centered on the summit. Lower/drill a cylinder down until the entire bottom edge is contacting rock. This will occur at the “Max Drop” value Tim Worth calculates. Cut the cylinder off at this depth and calculate the volume of rock in the cylinder (core sample).

The ORS/Spire Measure uses integrals and a complex function to calculate the volume of a peak. I simplified this by measuring discreet rings from the center to the cylinder’s radius. I used 20m increments for the 100m cylinder and 100m increments for the 800m cylinder. The first level is simply a right triangular pyramid (triangle in 2D). All subsequent layers are a horizontal triangular prism (wedge) (triangle in 2D) and a vertical triangular wedge (cheese wedge) (rectangle in 2D). For all angles except for the Max Drop (Max Bearing), I add in a final vertical triangular wedge (cheese wedge) (rectangle in 2D) which brings all angles down to Max Drop level. You can see this in the graph below for Borah Peak, Idaho at 100m. The left side is along the Min Drop bearing, while the right side is along the Max Drop bearing.
The image on the right shows an exaggerated view (30° angle instead of a 1° angle) from the top. The color-coded layers match in the two graphics. The shaded triangles would form small right triangular pyramids but these were not included in the volume measurements below.

We can compare the 100m and 800m volumes in a couple of ways:

Let’s look at Mount Greylock, Massachusetts which has a median 100m volume but a higher than median 800m volume:

while White Butte, North Dakota has a higher than median 100m volume but a lower than median 800m volume:

and Granite Peak, Montana which has a very high 100m volume but an mostly equivalent 800m volume to Mount Greylock:

This is where I throw up my hands. While I (Clint Kaul) consider Granite Peak to be “steep” at 800m (and at 100m), I personally wouldn’t call Mount Greylock “steep” at 800m. Although they have roughly equivalent 800m volumes. I have a feeling we need an additional factor to help determine “steepness”. Maybe factor in the peak’s Prominence or the Max Drop value? Or look at the ratio of Avg Drop to Max Drop (as seen in this graphic – AvgMax xxx is the (Avg Drop)/(Max Drop) at 100m and 800m). The idea being if the Avg Drop is close to the Max Drop we are looking at a “conical” peak, while an Avg Drop far from Max Drop might indicate a flatter peak with a steep ravine/cliff on one side.

Looking at the radar plots above, maybe count the number of lobes (number of ravines/cliffs) or the size of the lobes or the variance in the size of the lobes [see the “Max StdDev” columns in the 100m/800m specific tables below]? Or perhaps look at intermediate angles (for example, 0-20, 20-40, 40-60, 60-80 and 80-100) and compare them to the overall angle (at 100m in this example) [see the “Sub Angle” columns in the 100m/800m specific tables below]. Another crazy idea is documented in Appendix – Drops as a Waveform. If you have comments/thoughts on this, please contact me

This table shows the summary “volume” metrics for 100m/800m
Max 100 – maximum drop in feet at 100m
Avg 100 – average drop in feet at 100m
Vol 100 – volume in cubic feet at 100m
Max 800 – maximum drop in feet at 800m
Avg 800 – average drop in feet at 800m
Vol 800 – volume in cubic feet at 800m

State Max 100 Avg 100 Vol 100 Max 800 Avg 800 Vol 800
New Hampshire103ft60ft22,4821,131ft845ft12,672,278
New Jersey128ft72ft27,738673ft372ft8,590,545
New Mexico246ft137ft53,2031,705ft979ft21,430,622
New York193ft112ft42,2501,428ft998ft15,695,724
North Carolina152ft102ft29,0221,229ft754ft15,410,587
North Dakota157ft80ft35,666348ft281ft2,420,387
Rhode Island24ft10ft6,164118ft70ft1,418,876
South Carolina172ft89ft41,774800ft529ft8,798,033
South Dakota300ft176ft55,3701,262ft842ft14,160,233
West Virginia91ft32ft25,4081,298ft572ft19,684,073
District of Columbia37ft17ft9,153164ft101ft1,863,958
American Samoa553ft209ft146,9071,630ft775ft20,587,171
Northern Marianas Is0ft0ft00ft0ft0
Puerto Rico282ft135ft65,6161,296ft937ft13,105,057
US Virgin Is127ft67ft28,989963ft637ft11,380,888

* – Note that Connecticut is measured from Mount Frissell, MA (the summit) versus the contour line on the CT/MA border.
* – Note that Northern Marianas Islands has no spot elevations

These scatter plots show how the Max Drop (left) and Avg Drop (right) compare to the Volume at 100m. You’ll notice that the Max Drop is highly correlated to the Volume, but this is due to how we calculate the volume – down to Max Drop in all directions.

This heat map is color-coded based upon the Volume metric at 100m.

I’ve recently calculated the maximum sub-angle and standard deviation of the drops in all directions at 100m. This graphic summarizes this information. It seems like the standard deviation is a good indication of the steepness near the summit area.

This table shows the “volume” metrics for 100m
Max Drop – maximum drop in feet
Max Angle – maximum angle [atan(max drop/100m)] in degrees
Sub Angle – maximum sub-angle found (0-20m, 20-40m, 40-60m, 60-80m, 80-100m)
Max StdDev – sample standard deviation of the drops in all directions at 100m
Avg Drop – average drop in feet
Avg Angle – average angle [atan(avg drop/100m)] in degrees
Volume – volume in cubic feet

State Max Drop Max Angle Sub Angle Max StdDev Avg Drop Avg Angle Volume
New Hampshire103.4ft17.5°25.3°27.51759.8ft10.3°22,482
New Jersey127.9ft21.3°44.0°26.22572.2ft12.4°27,738
New Mexico245.5ft36.8°46.2°53.384137.2ft22.7°53,203
New York193.5ft30.5°39.9°39.837111.6ft18.8°42,250
North Carolina152.5ft24.9°35.5°29.926101.7ft17.2°29,022
North Dakota157.3ft25.6°39.2°38.69679.5ft13.6°35,666
Rhode Island24.0ft4.2°12.7°5.14210.3ft1.8°6,164
South Carolina172.2ft27.7°51.6°41.65389.5ft15.3°41,774
South Dakota299.8ft42.4°63.8°76.034175.8ft28.2°55,370
West Virginia90.6ft15.4°39.4°23.73332.3ft5.6°25,408
District of Columbia37.3ft6.5°18.8°11.59017.1ft3.0°9,153
American Samoa552.6ft59.3°70.2°172.722208.6ft32.4°146,907
Northern Marianas Is0.0ft0.0°0.0°0.0000.0ft0.0°0
Puerto Rico282.4ft40.7°60.1°61.921135.4ft22.4°65,616
US Virgin Is127.4ft21.2°40.8°32.77967.0ft11.5°28,989

* – Note that Connecticut is measured from Mount Frissell, MA (the summit) versus the contour line on the CT/MA border.
* – Note that Northern Marianas Islands has no spot elevations

This scatter plot compares the standard deviation (stddev) at 100m versus at 800m. While the comparison doesn’t mean much, it helps identify comparable peaks.

Let’s look at Massachusetts (left) and Oregon (right) which have equivalent stddev at 800m, but Oregon has a vastly greater 100m stddev. Looking at the 100m ring (blue) you’ll see Massachusetts is much flatter than Oregon.

Now let’s look at South Dakota (left) and Texas (right) which have equivalent stddev at 100m, but Texas has a vastly greater 800m stddev. Looking at the 800m ring (orange) you’ll see Texas has more ridges/valleys than South Dakota.


These scatter plots show how the Max Drop (left) and Avg Drop (right) compare to the Volume at 100m. You’ll notice that the Max Drop is highly correlated to the Volume, but this is due to how we calculate the volume – down to Max Drop in all directions.

This heat map is color-coded based upon the Volume metric at 800m.

I’ve recently calculated the maximum sub-angle and standard deviation of the drops in all directions at 800m. This graphic summarizes this information. It seems like the standard deviation is a good indication of the steepness near the shoulder area.

This table shows the “volume” metrics for 800m
Max Drop – maximum drop in feet
Max Angle – maximum angle [atan(max drop/100m)] in degrees
Sub Angle – maximum sub-angle found (0-100m, 100-200m, …, 700-800m)
Max StdDev – sample standard deviation of the drops in all directions at 800m
Avg Drop – average drop in feet
Avg Angle – average angle [atan(avg drop/100m)] in degrees
Volume – volume in cubic feet

State Max Drop Max Angle Sub Angle Max StdDev Avg Drop Avg Angle Volume
New Hampshire1,131.5ft23.3°40.7°206.497844.6ft17.8°12,672,278
New Jersey673.1ft14.4°27.3°143.936372.0ft8.1°8,590,545
New Mexico1,704.9ft33.0°40.2°432.558979.1ft20.5°21,430,622
New York1,428.0ft28.5°36.9°239.469997.8ft20.8°15,695,724
North Carolina1,229.3ft25.1°39.1°261.610754.1ft16.0°15,410,587
North Dakota347.5ft7.5°25.6°44.265281.1ft6.1°2,420,387
Rhode Island117.7ft2.6°6.3°28.66569.8ft1.5°1,418,876
South Carolina799.9ft17.0°38.9°144.173528.5ft11.4°8,798,033
South Dakota1,261.6ft25.7°53.4°226.567841.5ft17.8°14,160,233
West Virginia1,298.1ft26.3°42.0°326.817571.9ft12.3°19,684,073
District of Columbia164.4ft3.6°9.4°30.361100.9ft2.2°1,863,958
American Samoa1,630.0ft31.8°63.7°530.783775.3ft16.5°20,587,171
Northern Marianas Is0.0ft0.0°0.0°0.0000.0ft0.0°0
Puerto Rico1,296.1ft26.3°46.0°208.876936.8ft19.6°13,105,057
US Virgin Is962.8ft20.1°34.7°186.681636.5ft13.6°11,380,888

* – Note that Connecticut is measured from Mount Frissell, MA (the summit) versus the contour line on the CT/MA border.
* – Note that Northern Marianas Islands has no spot elevations

Appendix – Drops as a Waveform

Looking at the lobes in the radar plots got me thinking. How do I calculate the area? It turns out to be "Avg Drop" * 360. Initially I was going to “unwrap” the circle into a straight line and figure the area under the line. For example, see Massachusetts (left) versus Montana (right) at 100m:

That triggered the crazy idea. What if we treat this as a [triangular] waveform? Maybe by looking at amplitudes or frequencies we can find a “steepness measure”? To test the idea I sub-sampled 256 points out of the 360 data points and applied a fast fourier transform to come up with the following table.

This table shows the “statistics” and “fft” metrics for 100m and 800m
Avg 100 – average drop at 100m in feet
StdDev 100 – sample standard deviation of the drops in all directions at 100m
NyqF 100 – Nyquist frequency at 100m
Freq 100 – maximum frequency at 100m
Avg 800 – average drop in feet at 800m
StdDev 800 – sample standard deviation of the drops in all directions at 800m
NyqF 800 – Nyquist frequency at 800m
Freq 800 – maximum frequency at 800m

State Avg 100 StdDev 100 NyqF 100 Freq 100 Avg 800 StdDev 800 NyqF 800 Freq 800
New Hampshire59.8ft27.5171.384826.491844.6ft206.497165.6520561.316
New Jersey72.2ft26.22567.383879.716372.0ft143.93612.5023448.873
New Mexico137.2ft53.38441.266827.677979.1ft432.5585.2158625.209
New York111.6ft39.8376.415810.204997.8ft239.4699.2339203.334
North Carolina101.7ft29.92615.314053.613754.1ft261.610314.3136849.699
North Dakota79.5ft38.69617.854339.846281.1ft44.26543.925099.015
Rhode Island10.3ft5.1427.47694.38269.8ft28.66516.893983.171
South Carolina89.5ft41.65329.115438.993528.5ft144.17328.5218970.453
South Dakota175.8ft76.03420.269148.726841.5ft226.5676.5630164.997
West Virginia32.3ft23.73326.123780.225571.9ft326.81781.6346395.254
District of Columbia17.1ft11.59017.411715.534100.9ft30.36138.843605.291
American Samoa208.6ft172.7223.6227097.092775.3ft530.783127.5171768.384
Northern Marianas Is0.0ft0.0000.000.0000.0ft0.0000.000.000
Puerto Rico135.4ft61.92146.498915.065936.8ft208.876307.9025701.945
US Virgin Is67.0ft32.77938.474953.687636.5ft186.68192.8820974.080

* – Note that Connecticut is measured from Mount Frissell, MA (the summit) versus the contour line on the CT/MA border.
* – Note that Northern Marianas Islands has no spot elevations

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