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The High Points Of Life Mt. Hood, Oregon Mt. Ranier, Washington Mt. Elbert, Colorado 10vHISVOICEvNOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017 Tim James climbed a summit this past summer – an impressive accomplishment for most anyone but it’s not the first for him or even the last. In recent years, James, a Yankton attorney, and his wife Terry have become interested in mountain climbing but not in the strict sense of the word. They find the highest peak in a state and then hike to the top. Some states have peaks which are very high like Mt. Rainier in Washington state at 14,411 ft. while others like Hawkeye Point in Iowa are just a casual stroll to stand at a monument for a photo, depicting their accomplishment. “We have always been recreational hikers and bikers, but when my wife was diagnosed with lymphoma, we decided to take another look at our life and be more active, find more exciting activities to enjoy - live a little,” James said. He did an internet search looking for ideas and stumbled upon high-pointing. This casual discovery has become a passion for the couple. Vacations and getaways are planned around high-pointing across the country. “We choose a state, find a high point and then plan a trip around it,” James said. “We find the neatest places to explore.” Of course, not all states are easy scores. That is the case with Washington. Terry chose not to complete the climb with Tim because it would be very cold and challenging. And challenging it was Tim said. It took two attempts for James to make it up to the top of the summit. “A climb like this takes quite a bit of planning,” James said. “Along with weather conditions, a hiker has to train to make the four-day trek and also make a monetary commitment to a skilled climbing group.” It’s all about timing, money and finally safety. Last year, James made the decision to go on the trip. Well in advance, he booked a spot with a tour group led by experienced climbers for June of this year and went to work. On the good advice of a friend, he purchased a bag of kitty litter and loaded it in his backpack with extra water, trying to reach a load of 40 lbs. and found some good local trails to hike over the winter months. The trek would be physically demanding and he needed to be prepared. The Horse Trail in South Shore near Weigand-Burbach Nebraska State Recreation Area was an excellent training trail and he also hiked trails around Gavins Point Dam. Hiking at 4 a.m., James found solitude. “You know, at the age of 57, I felt I was in good shape and had no difficulty climbing Mt. Rainier,” James said. The first climb scheduled in June ran into weather conditions which prevented them from climbing all the way to the top. The group made it to Camp Muir at 10,000 ft. at Paradise Lodge and rain, sleet, and snow in the next leg of the climb forced the climbers to quit. Messages came down telling them not to come up. Besides enduring the bad weather conditions, climbers need to be wary of slipping and falling into crevices of no return. A spot was open in August and James took it, although he was disappointed he would miss the sight of winter and snow-covered trails going up Mt. Rainier. “I picked that particular time of the year for the seasonal views, more snow made the route to the summit more direct,” James said. “The August trek was a longer route because some of the ice areas were not as stable in the warmer weather.” The group had to climb 400 ft. further up to go around a glacier and then 400 ft. back down again.

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