What is High Pointing?

If you don’t know by now, I like the outdoors. Originally, I was going to write about “how the outdoors changed my life,” but that seems so broad and cliché for a blog post. So instead I’m going to write about one specific activity in the outdoors that I think has impacted my life in the biggest way. Something that pushes me outside my comfort zone and keeps me in good physical shape. And that thing is high pointing.

You likely have never heard of high pointing, but it’s the activity of visiting the tallest point in every single U.S. state. I’m overly obsessed with trying to knock off as many as I can. Yes, I’m 20 years old and it’s something that old retirees do but I love doing it for many reasons. Each high point that I check off the list is its own unique adventure. Despite the name, high points are incredibly diverse; some are in cornfields and some are at airplane cruising altitude.

High Pointing Gives You Perspective

Take Kansas’ high point for example. It’s in the middle of nowhere and you can park your car right on top of it. No physical activity required and fun for the whole family! Despite the physical “high point” of Kansas being somewhat anticlimactic, there’s the adventure of getting to it that adds to the experience. The hilarity of the whole thing is a memory I will carry with me for a long time. You drive for 4 hours without seeing a tree, get off the interstate and pass a giant 100-foot Van Gogh replica, and then drive 30 miles down dusty farm roads. It’s impactful to see a part of the country you probably wouldn’t have seen if you weren’t chasing the next high point, and it gives you a new perspective of our country. You learn when you do something like that. No one would go and visit that part of the country if it weren’t for that slightly insignificant high point. But because it’s there, it gives all of us who don’t live in that area an opportunity to expose us to life in rural Kansas.

Now, a different perspective. The perspective of being 13,400 feet up on a knife-edge ridge with 4,000-foot drops on both sides. It’s Boundary Peak, the Nevada high point. It’s just a tad bit different than that Kansas highpoint but it’s still feeding that same adventure craving. This time though, it’s testing my physical strength and endurance. The air is so thin and my unacclimated body is in a horrible state where I’ve started losing body function, but my mind is still trying to make it move. There’s no trail, it’s just a mess of rocks to try and navigate your way through.

This type of high pointing keeps me in strong physical shape year-round. Whenever I’m at home in Indiana, not really doing tons of physical activity, I always think of those big mountain hikes like Rainier, Hood, and Denali. It keeps me motivated to exercise. To be honest, the desire to climb these tallest peaks have made me a healthier person. Before, my exercise routine was limited to whatever small bit of conditioning I did for high school sports and the occasional run. Now, I try to keep my body prepared as though I were going to go hike a 14,000-foot mountain tomorrow.

Having a passion for an energy-intensive activity has really helped me get educated on how to properly condition my body. I’ve learned how to perform certain workout routines that increase my endurance and cardio. Then there’s relationships with brands like Red Leaf, who have opened my eyes to products that can greatly increase both my conditioning and performance on trail. I’ve started using Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer before my workouts and before hikes. The difference I’ve seen with my performance on trail especially has shown me why these products can be useful in almost any aspect of my outdoors life.

I’ve got a long way to go with high pointing. That’s exciting to me. My friend John and I just completed my 15th state high point. The thought of hopefully getting to travel to many more places across the United States and see every corner, way of life, and mountain range is something that I don’t think a lot of people get to experience. That’s why I’m so pumped to check off more high points in the future and maybe inspire some others to experience these adventures as well. If you’re interested in exploring high pointing, check out this list of the highest points in the United States, grab your Red Leaf Pre-Workout, and start planning your next adventure!

Use the code “alexpaul” at checkout to save 10% on Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer. Happy hiking!


Blog by Red Leaf ambassador, Alex Paul