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Item #: GB464B-136
HIGHPOINTS OF THE STATES Frank Ashley 1970 1st ed Softcover VG Annotated by Bill & Dana Isherwood, Early Highpointing Couple 1967-2000
By Ashley, Frank
Price: $150.00


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California, La Siesta Press, 1970, 1st edition. 36 pp, 7 b/w photos, one map. Staple bound softcover. Condition is not bad considering all the miles that have been put on this copy! Cover is soiled, but not damaged. It is not attached to the text by the staples, the text are still together and solid. Cover has been scotch taped on the spine. Personal annotations on every page.by Bill and Dana Isherwood. Very Good condition. 

This copy of Ashley's Highpoints was the property of Bill and Dana Isherwood, a west coast couple who from the 1960s to the 2000s climbed most of the state highpoints, including all the hard and remote ones. The may have been attempting the country highpoints as well, I personally ran into them near Mount Elbrus, the highest point in Europe, in 1982. 

The Isherwoods were well known mountaineers and Polar explorers who spent most summers for fifty years flying around the globe and participating in expeditions both grans and intimate. Their goal was not to put in first ascents and get written up, but to simply enjoy life to its fullest. 

In the summer of 2021 I was fortunate to have acquired their fairly large mountaineering and polar book collection from their family. One of the most interesting is this copy of Ashely's Highpoints, for many years the best source of information on how to find and climb the highpoints. What makes their copy so interesting is that they annotated the map, state list, and state descriptions with the dates and other information on their climbs. 

Their first summits were Whitney in 1966, Rainier in 1969, and Denali in 1970. Their big push was in the 1980s and 1990s. If their annotations are accurate, they did not finish them all, perhaps skipping Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. 

We have scanned four of the most informative pages that they annotated. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get an authentic document from the early days of highpointing.




There are now several more accurate and detailed guidebooks to the state summits, that are also more up to date as names and altitudes have a nasty habit of getting changed from time to time. Still, the idea that Frank Ashley would write this booklet, and that Walt Wheelock of La Siesta Press would publish it as early as 1970, shows how charming it can be to see a part of our sport go from being unheard of, to becoming mainstream. 

This pamphlet is collectible for its being the first guidebook to state highpoints. Ashley says that some highpoint information is available nowhere else, in 1970. That may certainly be true for the less popular highpoints, the privately owned ones, and the four that in 1970 were not even named! Now of course it's all online. 

Back in 1970 fewer than ten people had completed the 50 highpoints, and although there certainly had to be other hikers and climbers accumulating highpoints in a casual manner, no bucket list existed in the organized and serious way that we do things today. 

The first state highpoint completer was A.H. Marshall who climbed all 48 State summits by 1936. By the time Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959 (each with their own very serious highpoints), only four people had climbed them all. Vin Hoeman was the first 50 state completer as recently as 1966. Only three years later he had the misfortune to die along with most of his climbing team in an avalanche on Dhaulagiri. 

Many people now choose to hike and climb to specific places purely because of their altitude, and appreciate the significance of a hill being taller than all the nearby hills. By now over 250 persons claim to have have summited all 50 American States, and as many as 350 say they have climbed the ''Seven Summits,'' the highest place on all seven continents. Ironically there is only one peak on the State list and another on the Continent list that are difficult and dangerous enough to prevent perhaps thousands of additional persons from completing both lists: Denali and Chomolungma. 







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