What Goes into a Name: Clingman’s Dome

A photo near the top of Clingmans Dome.

Highpointers have the opportunity to encounter all sorts of interestingly named places in their quest to reach the highest point of every state. Some names, such as Hawkeye Point and Hoosier Hill, make it easy for folks to know the state to which these points belong.  Other names, such as Cheaha, point more to the history of places, and there is no shortage of highpoints named after people.

Once such highpoint is Clingmans Dome in Tennessee. What is interesting is how much Thomas L. Clingman’s life is tied to neighboring North Carolina and Elisha Mitchell, the man for whom the highest point east of the Mississippi River is named. 

Michael Hardy at the Avery Journal dove into the topic of Clingman and his ties to the area recently in an article worth the read

As time goes on, there will undoubtedly be continued pushes to rename certain highpoints. This makes it all the more important to learn the history behind the name to see if it really does best reflect the area.

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Charles Mound 2017 Access Dates Announced

Highpointers hoping to reach the top of Illinois will have five weekend opportunities in 2017 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 18 and 19.  However, the lane leading to the highest point will not be plowed.

After February, highpointers will have to wait until the summer months to reach the top of Charles Mound.  Access to the highpoint will be available June 3 and 4, July 1 and 2, August 5 and 6, and September 2 and 3.  These dates are similar to the first full weekend dates set in 2016.

Charles Mound sits on private property in Illinois, and it should be treated as such.  The property owners, The Wuebbels have three firm rules for visitors:

  1. No cars up in our lane.
  2. No pets
  3. No visitors after dark.
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Issue #115 of “Apex to Zenith” Fourth Quarter 2016

Topic Page
48 Finishers
• Layne and Norris Brown
2, 7
50 Completers
• Ken Bartlett
• Mike Finkowski
• Cathleen Richards-Groninger
2, 5 – 7
50 and 48 3
Article – Ten Summits for First-Time Mountaineering 24
CNMI – Agrihan 2015 15 – 16
Completion Counts by State 8
Editor’s Note 9
Gathering in Portland OR 12
Highpoint Updates
• Illinois – Charles Mound
• Georgia – Brasstown Bald
• Hawaii – Mauna Kea
Klimbin’ Kollaborator 13
Le Cache 11
Lists! – North America 26
Marketing 12
Membership 10
Merc 27
Milestones 17 – 18, 28 – 31
More Than 50 – Camino Francis 19
More Than 50 – SPOT 19
Obituary – Miles Luke 21
Obituary – Patrick Wood 21
President’s Message 11
Records Committee 9
Scholarship 11
Website 12
World HPs – Australia 23
World HPs – Canada’s NWT 23

If you are interested in this back issue, please contact the newsletter editor (newsletter@highpointers.org).

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Change to MA-17 Convention Host Hotel

Highpointers planning to attend the 2017 Convention in Massachusetts may want to adjust their lodging plans as the Howard Johnson Williamstown has replaced the Holiday Inn Berkshires in North Adams as the host hotel for the Convention.

The Howard Johnson has an availability of 35 rooms, so another hotel, the Cozy Corner Motel in Williamstown will act as the Host Hotel Overflow venue.  The Cozy Corner Motel has 12 available rooms.  Both hotels are honoring a “Highpointers Rate,” and they are about seven minutes of driving time apart from each other.

The Howard Johnson can be called direct at 413-458-8158, and the Cozy Corner can be reached at 413-458-8006.

Hotel rooms are moving fairly quickly in the region as the Williamstown Theatre Festival will be taking place during the Convention.

For those wanting to stay on the summit of Mount Greylock, Bascom Lodge is an option.  It sits next to a tower at the top of Massachusetts’s highest point. The lodge features just nine rooms.  Bascom Lodge can be reached at 413-743-1591 or by emailing mail@bascomlodge.net.

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Sassafras Mountain Observation Tower Delayed until 2017

Highpointers wanting to get a new view from the highest point of South Carolina will have to wait just a bit longer as reports out of the Palmetto State indicate that construction on a 15-foot observation tower on Sassafras Mountain will be delayed until Spring 2017.

Sassafras Mountain has undergone extensive changes during this decade. An observation deck adjacent to a parking lot near the summit was completed in 2013.  While it is not located on the highest point of the state, the deck does allow for views into North Carolina.

2014 saw a radical change to the summit as the forest surrounding the area was cleared to prepare for the construction of an observation tower and to open up a view that had been previously unavailable.  On days without many clouds and low humidity, it is estimated that one can see 50 miles from the summit of the mountain, a view that encompasses four states.

Sassafras Mountain F. Van Clayton Highway or from the Foothills Trail.

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Lost on a Mountain in Maine Author Dies

Donn Fendler, who spent nine days lost on, but mostly around, Mt. Katahdin as a 12 year old, died Monday at the age of 90.

His story of being lost was later turned into a book, Lost on a Mountain in Maine.

Fendler’s death has received a good bit of media attention, especially in Maine, a state that saw many of its residents view him as a hero or a legend.

Below are a couple of more articles about Fendler.

Stories of Fendler visiting Maine from time to time, especially taking time to go to Maine to visit classrooms,

Fendler’s tale did a lot to promote the Maine wilderness and safety in the woods.


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Bear Attacks: Is the Risk Being Overhyped?

Recently, Todd Orr’s Facebook video went viral as he checked in following two bear attacks.  With that in the news, the topic of bear attacks has come up in a variety of forums.

Vox recently released an article about deadly bear attacks in national and state parks.  A read of the article helps put your likelihood of being fatally attacked in perspective.  Of note to highpointers, Spruce Knob-Seneca Falls with three, and Denali National Park with two, rank in the top ten of national and state parks with fatal attacks since 1900.

So highpointers, use caution when you are in areas where bear encounters are possible, but remember, your odds of being killed by a bear are not as great as it might seem while the topic is dominating Facebook feeds.

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Report: Alabama’s Cheaha State Park Expected to Have Operated at a Profit for Fiscal Year

Club member Ben Sutton hanging around at his third highpoint, Cheaha Mountain, in 2013.

Club member Ben Sutton hanging around at his third highpoint, Cheaha Mountain, in 2013.

Not that long ago, Alabama state parks felt the threats of budget cuts and closures, and for highpointers, that led to concerns about potential access to the highpoint of the state, Cheaha Mountain, which is located in Cheaha State Park.

According to this report from The Anniston Star, the past fiscal year, which ended September 30, should bring good news for all of Alabama’s state parks, including the home of the state’s highpoint, which was expected to have shown a profit.

In response to the budget crunch, Cheaha State Park raised its fees and operated its lodge at reduced hours during the winter. Greg Lein, director of Alabama’s state park system told The Anniston Star that Cheaha’s numbers looked good, even though he was unsure of the attendance for the year at the park.

Alabama voters will have an opportunity to vote on Amendment 2 in November, which would change the way that park fees can be used by the state’s Legislature.

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Issue #114 of “Apex to Zenith” Third Quarter 2016

Topic Page
48 Finishers
• Al Aldrich and Linda Comeau
• William A. Burd
• Mick Dunn
• Sue Personett
• Marshall Stewart
• Dennis Stewart
• Melissa Arnot
3, 4, 9 – 16
50 Completers
• Charlie Crangle and Kim Blommel
• Philip Goss
• Mel Strauch
• David Zeps
• Maddie Miller
2, 4, 8 – 9, 15 – 16
400 – Stony Burk 16
750 – Robert Kay 14
Article – Peakbagger App 34 – 37
Completer Summary 6 – 7
Convention Logistics Explained 36
Editor’s Note 17
Highpoint Updates
• California – Mt Whitney
• Idaho – Borah Peak
• Illinois – Charles Mound
• Kentucky – Black MOuntain
• Montana – Granite Peak
• South Dakota – Black Elk Peak
• All 48 Highpoints
Jack Ash Project 19
Klimbin’ Kollaborator 21
Le Cache 19
MASSACHUSETTS 2017 33 – 34
MONTANA 2016 recap 23 – 28
Marketing 20
Membership 18 – 19
Merc 29 – 30
Milestones 39 – 47
More Than 50 20
Obituary – Luna 38
Obituary – Tom Pheifle 38
Obituary – Wendy Comstock 38
President’s Message 17
S.O.S. #39 The Ten Essentials Revisited – part 7 of 7 30
Scholarship 31 – 32
Website and WebMaster 20 – 21

If you are interested in this back issue, please contact the newsletter editor (newsletter@highpointers.org).

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Gearjunkie.com article on highpointing

Gearjunkie has a spectacuarly well written on article on highpointing “Highpointing: Climb To The Top Of 50 States” which really captures the spirit of the hobby. Here’s an excerpt.

High on Denali, John Mitchler took out a pencil to write a list. It was the summer of 2003, and as wind tore into the fabric of his cramped tent, he knew the end was near.

“I decided to write a list of all the people I’d climbed with over the years,” he said. “McKinley [Denali] was to be my final mountain.”

Mitchler didn’t perish on that high Alaskan peak. Indeed, his party soon made the mountain’s 20,320-foot summit.

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