Marquette man summits the tallest peaks in 49 US states
MARQUETTE, Iowa (AP) — A 66-year-old eastern Iowa man said only Alaska’s Denali thwarted his efforts to scale the highest peaks in all 50 U.S. states.
In 2016, Don Smalley set himself the challenge of reaching the highest point in every state.
“What’s really cool, is when you get to a point and you can look out, and everything you see is below you,” Smalley said.
The Marquette resident high-pointed in 43 states between 2016 and 2017, including the peak of California’s Mount Whitney 14,495 feet (4,350 meters) above sea level. Smalley achieved his 49th summit this February by driving to the top of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the Telegraph Herald reported.
“My enjoyment is the ones where you have to work, where you get the satisfaction of accomplishing something,” Smalley said. “Driving someplace is not really much of an accomplishment.”
Last summer, he failed in his attempt to summit Denali , the highest peak in North America at 20,310 feet (6,100 meters) above sea level. Smalley noted that after reaching about 14,000 feet (4,200 meters), a sequence of storm systems left him and other hikers trapped at camp for nine days.
He said won’t try to scale Denali again due to the expense, his age and doubt over whether a follow-up effort would result in the same issues.
Pam Smalley said her husband’s efforts reflect the type of person he is.
“He sets a goal and works toward it,” she said.
Don Smalley said he is looking for a new challenge as he continues to travel with his wife.
“We have no shortage of ideas of things that we want to do,” he said.
Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com