How high are you?

2009-07-19 17:01:29.000 – Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

A view from the highest point in the NE.

From an early age, we are taught to list things. It starts with the ABC’s and the 123’s and proceeds from there. Learning to list things teaches us how to order an array of items to either bring placement, rank, organization, or accomplishment. And while some of us live by lists, others generate lists subconsciously. Let me show you some examples of what I mean.

We wake up and do our morning routine. It might play out by visiting the bathroom first, getting dressed, eating, sending the kids to school, grabbing one last cup of coffee then heading out the door. While this might seem routine, a routine is just a fancy word for a daily list. On your day off, you have yard work. You look around and create of a list of what needs to be done: mow lawn, edge the lawn, pull weeds, lay mulch, water flowers, water lawn, then put all equipment away. Yet again, you create a prioritized list of things to do for the time you have. Some other obvious lists you might use are grocery or shopping lists, a list of scheduled events in your Blackberry, or finding your show on TiVo. If you go to school, you deal with lists during role call, sports, grades, or signing up for activities. If you work, you’re listed for your rank or position, your pay, or seniority. Even in later years in life, you use lists to know when to take medicine, go to events, or who to call in emergencies. There’s no escaping it, lists are just a way of life.

But, why am I mentioning lists to begin with? Over my years here, I have been shown how misinformed the public is on where the summit lies on height lists. And several instances this week have shown that maybe something should be commented on this. It all started my week off when I read a tourist newspaper in Conway that said we were the third highest peak on the east coast. Wrong! Then I had to correct someone I am friends with on Facebook claiming we were the highest on the east coast. Wrong again! Next came a pair that argued with me that we were the highest point on the east coast, the US, and the world. Not even close! And last came from a tour saying we were the tallest in the US. By this time, I knew I had to do something.

Now, I have to say, prior to working out here, I wasn’t very aware of many mountaineering lists or where Mt Washington lied on any elevation list. But, I knew Mt Whitney was the highest point in my home state of CA and in the lower 48 with Mt McKinley being the highest in the entire US. I knew the highest points of neighboring states out west and was aware of the 64 “fourteeners” (peaks over 14k in the western lower 48 states) or the 101 four thousand meter peaks of the US. But “bagging” these is no where near the state of mind people have of conquering peaks out east.

Since moving out here, I have learned of plenty of new mountaineering lists. Through Edutrippers, Daytrippers, and the mountaineering community in general, I now know of a whole bunch of lists that exist. And the people I have met are animate about claiming to have bagged them in a lifetime, a year, a season, a month, frontwards, backwards, barefoot, with a dog, etc. The possibilities seem to be endless and once someone has bagged them one way, they try bagging them another. So let me list some of the east coast peak-bagging challenges: “Adirondack Forty-Sixers” (a list of the 46 peaks once thought to be the highest in the range), the “48 over 4000 feet” in NH, the “NE 4000+ feet”, the “NH top 100” (100 highest peaks in NH), the “New England top 100” (100 highest in New England), the “Fifty Finest in New England” (the 50 most topographically prominent peaks), the “Catskill Mountain 3500 Club” (all peaks over 3500 feet plus four of them a second time in winter), the “Northeast 111” (all peaks over 4000 ft in the northeast), the “Southern Sixers” (40 peaks above 6000 feet in the south) and the “East Beyond 6000” (the 41 peaks on the east coast above 6000 feet).

So, back to the point of this comment; to show where we place on the last list: the “East Beyond 6000”. A couple of things first, the reference book I am using lists 55 points over 6000 feet. But not all of these are considered peaks when it comes to completing the challenge of the “East Beyond 6000”. The 41 that are considered for this list are in bold on the list below. Three states contain these peaks with 53 of the 55 belonging to North Carolina and Tennessee (with New Hampshire being the third state with the other 2, which are labeled). One of the “Southern Sixers” is questionable but every site I saw online still lists it as one of the peaks to bag so I made it bold but wrote questionable next to it. Also, different sites had slightly different elevations for some of these therefore; I went with what my reference book said. If you live by one of these or hiked one of these and know they are higher/lower, I am sorry ahead of time. And if your list of the “6000 footers” differs, again I am sorry, I am just listing what I found in my book/online. So, without further ado, here is the list of points and their elevations:

1. Mount Mitchell – 6684 ft
2. Mount Craig – 6647 ft
3. Clingmans Dome – 6643 ft
4. Mount Guyot – 6621 ft
5. Balsam Cone – 6611 ft
6. Cattail Peak – 6600 ft
7. Mount LeConte – 6593 ft
8. Mount Buckley – 6580 ft
9. Mount Gibbes – 6571 ft
10. Big Tom – 6560 ft
11. Clingmans Peak – 6557 ft
12. Potato Hill – 6475 ft
13. Mount Love – 6446 ft
14. Mount Chapman – 6417 ft
15. Richland Balsam – 6410 ft
16. Potato Knob – 6400 ft
17. Old Black – 6370 ft
18. Blackstock Knob – 6359 ft
19. Celo Knob – 6327 ft
20. Mount Hallback – 6320 ft
21. Waterrock Knob – 6292 ft
22. Mount Washington, NH – 6288 ft
23. Roan High Knob – 6267 ft
24. Roan High Bluff (questionable) – 6267 ft
25. Browning Knob – 6240 ft
26. Luftee Knob – 6234 ft
27. Gibbs Mountain – 6224 ft
28. Jones Knob aka Mount Lyn Lowry – 6220 ft
29. Mount Kephart – 6217 ft
30. Black Balsam Knob – 6214 ft
31. Winter Star Mountain – 6212 ft
32. Percys Peak – 6200 ft
33. Grassy Ridge Bald – 6189 ft
34. Mount Collins – 6188 ft
35. Marks Knob – 6169 ft
36. Big Cataloochee Mountain – 6155 ft
37. Mount Hadison – 6134 ft
38. Tricorner Knob – 6120 ft
39. Mount Yonaguska – 6120 ft
40. Mount Ambler – 6120 ft
41. Ball Crag, NH – 6112 ft
42. Mount Hardy – 6110 ft
43. Craggy Dome – 6105 ft
44. Plott Balsam – 6088 ft
45. Thermo Knob – 6080 ft
46. Reinhart Knob – 6080 ft
47. Sam Knob – 6050 ft
48. Shining Knob (or Rock) – 6040 ft
49. Grassy Cove Top – 6040 ft
50. Tennent Mountain – 6040 ft
51. Patton Knob – 6040 ft
52. Chestnut Bald – 6040 ft
53. Yellow Face – 6032 ft
54. Cold Mountain – 6030 ft
55. Mount Sequoyah – 6003 ft

There you have it, a list of the 55 highest points on the east coast. As you can see, Mount Washington is not the highest in the east, the US or the world but it is the highest in the northeast US. Together, they are not the highest in the US or the world, not even close. In fact, they are all less than half of the highest point in the lower 48 (Mt Whitney at 14505 ft.), less than a third of the highest point in the US (Mt McKinley at 20320 ft), or less than one fourth of the highest point in the world (Mt Everest at 29029 ft). Although they might be small when compared to the great peaks of the world, they still can pack quite a challenge and they’re great peaks in their own rights.


Ryan Knapp,  Staff Meteorologist

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