Capital Highpoints

On October 22, 2013 · 4 Comments

I once climbed to the top of the not-too-impressive highpoint of the District of Columbia, which in fact is subway accessible. I’m all about easy highpointing. The District highpoint is kind-of equivalent to a state highpoint — some lists include it and others do not — so that was a convenient loophole to add another location to my list. I thought about that recently and wondered whether it might be possible to replicate my feat in another nation with a similar capital district.

That required a mashup of two separate lists. There weren’t very many situations like DC although a few were included in Wikipedia’s List of Federal Capitals. I cross-referenced that to the peak lists available on Peakbagger.com. It was sort-of hit or miss since most nations did not have a separate list of state, provincial and/or territorial highpoints. The lists depended upon the good graces of individual contributors to develop them. For example Abuja, Nigeria was a Federal district although nobody posted a list of individual Nigerian states so I couldn’t feature it. I wouldn’t be able to do that for Russia either unless loyal 12MC reader "January First-of-May" just happened to have the highpoint coordinates available for the Federal City of Moscow. I don’t have the data to determine these places on my own.

I found online information about several places though and I’ll list them from lowest to highest elevation.

Argentina


El Palacio de Aguas Corrientes, Buenos Aires
El Palacio de Aguas Corrientes, Buenos Aires by pandrcutts, on Flickr
via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license

The summit of the Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires might be a fair comparison to Washington’s highpoint at a diminutive 38 meters (125 feet) in an urban area. Buenos Aires had a much more impressive water tower, though. The summit was crowned by the impressive Palacio de Aguas Corrientes — the Palace of Flowing Waters — a garish structure that contained a pumping station, water company offices, and even a museum dedicated to water and sanitation. As described by Welcome Argentina,

Down Córdoba Avenue, those who catch a glimpse of this building realize at once that it belongs to another time. Extravagant and ridiculous for some, fascinating for others, the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes… has been a symbol of the pomp of the generation of 1880 and at the same time a key piece for the health of a developing city.

Peakbagger even included an Ascent Trip Report, albeit a bit tongue-in-cheek.


Brazil



Pico do Roncador

The Distrito Federal in Brazil included Brasília, and of course a highpoint summit which in this instance fell within a rural area of the northwest corner. Various online sources called it Pico do Roncador. Translation software told me that Roncador meant "Snorer." A little digging uncovered a species of fish called Umbrina Roncador or Yellowfin Croaker, and croakers do make a grunting noise that I guess might sound something like snoring (listen).

Was Pico do Roncador named for the fish or was it given the name because it was really boring to the point where it might put someone to sleep? Because I’m thinking the latter. The highpoint fell on a plateau at 1,341 meters (4,400 feet), hardly distinguishable from the surrounding terrain except for the presence of a communications tower visible in the distance on Google Street View.

Snore.


Australia



I felt a little better when I noticed the summit of Bimberi Peak, the highpoint of the Australian Capital Territory. At least it resembled a mountain, and actually a pretty notable one for the area at 1,913 meters (6,276 feet). It’s part of the Brindabella Ranges and straddled the border between ACT and New South Wales in Namadgi National Park. The park’s website claims that the park covered "46 per cent of the Australian Capital Territory" which was an interesting point. Is there any other Federal district covered by national parkland to a greater degree?

Bimberi isn’t supposed to be a particularly technical climb although the peak does extend high enough to make vegetation sparse and it can be covered by snow in the winter.


México


ajusco en blanco
ajusco en blanco by Señor Lebowski, on Flickr
via Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license

México won the 12MC award for most extreme federal capital summit, with Cerro Ajusco in the Distrito Federal rising to 3,937 meters (12,917 feet). Like many other mountains nearby, Ajusco had a volcanic origin and was formed as part of a lava dome. One might think the altitude would be daunting however Ajusco may be the most commonly climbed summit in the nation. Why? Because something like 20 million people live within the greater Mexico City metropolitan area, and the heart of the city is only like 40 kilometres away from Parque Nacional Cumbres del Ajusco. Crazy!

Summit Post provided advice to prospective climbers.

… droves of Mexicans flock to its slopes on holidays and on weekends to escape the press of the most populated city on earth… I would suggest the best time to climb Ajusco would be early on a weekday morning so one could enjoy the peak with a degree of tranquility… it should take no more than 2-4 hours (depending on one’s level of fitness) roundtrip to complete.

That’s a little more complicated than the Washington, DC highpoint.

On October 22, 2013 · 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Capital Highpoints”

  1. wangi says:

    We’re very proud of our extinct volcano (Arthur’s Seat) in the middle of Edinburgh

  2. hipsterdoofus says:

    I noticed when looking up some links on the http://www.peakbagger.com site some references to http://www.cohp.org/ which is “County Highpointers” and may be of interest in this topic as well.

  3. January First-of-May says:

    Traditionally (over the recent decades), the highest point of Moscow City was considered to be near the intersection of Profsoyuznaya ul. and Novoyasenevsky pr., near the Tyoply Stan metro station in Yasenevo district[1], at a height of 255 meters above sea level (sources differ on exact figure – either 254.6 or 255.2 meters, equivalent to 835 or 837 feet respectively).
    Considering the direction of the city’s recent expansion, I highly suspect that, if this location ever was the Moscow City highpoint, it isn’t anymore.
    EDIT: After a good look on topo maps, seems that it’s indeed the highpoint to this day. The height (in meters) got to high 220s and/or low 230s at places in the south, and apparently all the way to mid-230s near Alabushevo in the extreme north, but never quite reached the 240s at any other place :-)

    [1] It’s a bit confusing: the Tyoply Stan station is in the same-named district, and so is the intersection in question, but the actual highpoint is just over the border in Yasenevo; for the record, the word “district” here is used, as in Wikipedia, for the second-level subdivision of Moscow (raion).

  4. Joris Bens says:

    Also consider Brussels, in the Brussels capital region, which has a high point of 100m at the Hoogte Honderplein/Place de l’Altitude Cent (literally Altitude hundred square) : http://goo.gl/maps/OyP6a

    Which has a church on it.

    It doesn’t have a metro station, but the tram does stop there :)

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