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Highpointers: Climbing to D.C.'s Top Spot

Granted, mountaineering may not be the first sport that springs to mind when someone says "District of Columbia," but for highpointers--a great subculture of folks who make it their life's mission to reach the highest points in each state of the union--the District has long been a gap.

Mt. McKinley is certainly more challenging, Maryland's Backbone Mountain in Garrett County can pose some access issues, and Virginia's Mt. Rogers features wild ponies, but every state and even the Last Colony has a summit, and Washington's happens to be at Fort Reno in Northwest.

Glover Park resident Robert Hyman--who has reached the pinnacle of 47 states--and several other climbing enthusiasts, with a big assist from local land surveyors, have now marked the District's exact high point with an official National Park Service high point marker. You can find it yourself by following the directions on the link, or if you're a GPS nut, its coordinates are 38.95198 North and 77.075922 West.

I can't say I was exactly winded when I found the marker. And maybe the walking stick, canteen filled with water, pack full of snacks, and multiple layers of clothing were a bit much. But there it was, at all of 409 feet elevation. Lovely brass marker, still golden. Nice spot. Bit of a view, um, all the way to Wilson High School, a block below.

(The view across the river to Virginia is blocked; how can that be, you ask, if this is the high point? The marker goes on the highest naturally occurring spot, and just west of that is a somewhat taller piece of land that appears to be part of the fort after which this park is named--a man-made addition that doesn't count. It does, however, if you walk around to the western side of the incline, provide that expansive view of Rosslyn. Hey, what do you want for 409 foot elevation?)

By Marc Fisher |  September 26, 2007; 7:53 AM ET
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Comments

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considering how DC is sinking, I'd suggest that this survey be done at least yearly...

Posted by: jjtwo | September 26, 2007 8:35 AM

Actually, the highest area was not built up for the fort, but for the water pumping facility and Secret Service facility built on that spot after the fort was decommisioned and destroyed after the Civil War. They needed a space to land helicopters, which is why there appears to be a football field at the very top.

Posted by: T-Town | September 26, 2007 9:48 AM

I'm getting notified that the link to the highpointers page
http://highpointers.org/archives/2007/03/21/dc/
has a virus. Be advised.

Posted by: Rob | September 26, 2007 12:11 PM

Could you write a column about why no newspaper is interested in this story?

http://www.theagitator.com/archives/028192.php#028192

Posted by: Curious | September 26, 2007 12:57 PM

Boy, Marc you really knocked it out of the park with this entry!

Posted by: STick | September 26, 2007 1:37 PM

Fun! I once stopped at the high point of Kansas on a drive across country - it's known as "Mount Sunflower" and it's a slight rise in a pasture about a half mile from the Colorado border. We signed the official register and took pictures, but...it's really not much to look at. Now I just have to visit Fort Reno and I'll be two down, 49 to go!

Posted by: h3 | September 26, 2007 2:21 PM

There's a much better view from the top of Morris Road, NE in the parking lot of Our Lady of Perpetual Help or the windows of the Panorama Room.

Posted by: Mike Licht | September 26, 2007 2:46 PM

Marc --

On Wednesday I visited the marker, and it seemed that there was a slightly higher spot about 15 feet to the northeast. It's probably easier to regrade than to move the marker...

Posted by: washington, dc | September 28, 2007 9:27 AM

Hey, it's still higher than Florida's highest peak. Britton Hill. 345 feet above sea level.

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