Play with fire at the Illinois Obscura Society's carnival-themed launch party!
The highest point in Delaware (photograph by Tony Garcia)
He ascended Mount Washington in New Hampshire, on foot not by car (elevation: 6,288 feet). He also climbed Ebright Ezmouth in Delaware, but with far less exertion (elevation: 447 feet). He plans get to Charles Mound in Illinois on one of the rare weekends where the owners of the rolling farmland allow access (elevation: 1,237 feet). For Tony Garcia of New Jersey, reaching these heights means more than just an individual achievement. It's one step closer to a goal that has informed his life for the past several years. Garcia is a high pointer, and he intends to reach the highest points in all 50 of the United States by his 35th birthday. After that, he's going for the highest peak on each continent, with Mt. Fuji or Kilimanjaro looming in his future.
High Pointers (previously covered for Atlas Obscura by high pointer Thomas Harper) are a specific kind of geographical collector, a person with the goal to travel long distances or up great heights, or sometimes to strangely ordinary points, to complete a goal. Some geographical collectors are part of a community, people united in their collective obsession; others fixate on highly personal goals.
Mount Washington, the highest point in New Hampshire (photograph by Tony Garcia)
For Mark Weyer, another high pointer, collecting is about finding a challenge, bonding with others, and becoming part of a community. Weyer, who only started collecting in 2013, isn't quite at the mountaineering level, but he's learning gradually and relishes the challenge, having already has ascended 17 points. An avid hiker, he climbed to the highest point in his home state of Pennsylvania, and thought "If I can do one, I can do the other 49."