What Is It?

A Quest to Inspire and Rediscover.

This short video references a Kickstarter Project that was launched to help fund Looking In High Places. Although the Kickstarter Project was not funded, other information in the video explains what Looking In High Places is. Watch it and then scroll down for more information.


What will you be doing for your project?

I’ll be visiting the twenty-six highpoints that represent Utah’s twenty-nine counties, in ascending order from lowest to highest, and photographing those points as well as the interesting and beautiful things I see while traveling between the points. I’ll also be writing the story of my journey, from my motivation for the trip, to it’s effect on me. With the photographs and story, I’ll be creating two books, one of photographs from the trip and the other, a written account of my journey.

What is the purpose of this project?

I’m hoping others will hear about my project or see it’s results and feel inspired to do something new and adventurous that they’ve always wanted to do. There’ve been many people who’ve done extraordinary things that have inspired and motivated me to do this project and, if I can do that for someone else, I’ll have done something truly meaningful and worthwhile.

This project is also a way for me to start living a more creative and fulfilling life. I’m at a crossroads in my life right now, having just retired from 30 years of working in a non-creative environment, and this project is designed to jumpstart a lifestyle change for me.

What is your background in photography?

I bought my first SLR camera when I was 13 years old and have enjoyed photography ever since. I had a closet darkroom where I processed and printed my own film and I was also a photographer for my high school yearbook. As an adult, I’ve worked to improve my photography skills through independent study and evening classes at a local college. I’ve always been the guy with the camera and have shot images of many different subjects, but my passion has always been, and still is, the outdoors.

What is your experience with being outdoors and climbing to high places?

Growing up in Utah gave me plenty of opportunities to be outdoors. I’ve grown up camping, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, canoeing, hunting, fishing and climbing to high places. I learned these skills from family, and as a scout. I’ve taught these same skills to my family, and as a scout leader. Examples of my outdoor experiences include multi-day backpacking trips in different wilderness areas and an 80+mile backpacking trip in Yellowstone’s backcountry. My experiences climbing to high places include many local peaks, twice summiting the Grand Teton and both the lowest and highest county highpoints in Utah. I’ve always been drawn to high places but struggled to explain why until I came across this.

Mount Analogue

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”

René Daumal

Kings Peak Summit

How long will the trip take?

I’ll be spending whatever time it takes to capture images of the highpoints that communicate how it feels to be there. That time may be different for each point. While planning to do this trip using funds from a Kickstarter Project, it was intended to be completed during the summer and fall of 2017. Because the Kickstarter project was not funded, now I’ll be doing the trip as circumstances allow.

Will you be doing the trip from start to finish without any stops?

That would be great, but I’ll have to take breaks occasionally to attend to other obligations. When a break is required, I’ll return to where I left the route and continue from there.

How will you be traveling from point to point?

I’ll be driving my 1994 Toyota 4Runner. It’s proven to be a capable vehicle and, with some repairs and upgrades, will be my transportation for this trip.

4Runner at Standing Rock in Weston Canyon, ID

What routes will you be using?

I’ll be using routes that eliminate traveling the same roads over and over when possible. Obviously, some legs will cross paths with a route I’ve used before but I’ll use different routes when I can, including back roads and even dirt roads if they’re not too far out of the way.

Preliminary Routes

How will you be sharing your progress during the project?

I’ll be updating my progress on a website with reports, photos, video and GPS location tracking.

What are the risks associated with the project?

There are obvious risks involved with any kind of travel, especially extended highway driving and backcountry travel. Through my background and experience, I’m familiar with and prepared for these risks. The wildcard risk for this trip is the accessibility of the highpoints. Utah’s weather is unpredictable and occasionally, extreme. Depending on winter snowfall and summer weather conditions, the highpoints will be accessible for periods of time that are either long and pleasant, short and unpleasant, or anywhere in between. I’ll just have to take it as it comes and do what I can.