Here in low-altitude East Dallas, he’s known as the commander of the Dallas Police Central Patrol Division, but Deputy Chief Vincent Golbeck has some high aspirations that have little to do with fighting crime. He became “sort-of obsessed” with mountain climbing in the early ’90s, he says, after reading an article about Highpointers Club, an organization whose members aspire to reach the highest elevation in all 50 states. The officer concedes it’s absurd that a guy who grew up mostly in East Texas loved the mountains so much. His pancake-flat roots didn’t stop him from joining the club and embarking on the lofty goal – he has now reached every state’s high point save Hawaii and Alaska, and he has climbed Mt. Rainer in Washington twice, most recently in July. “Some of the heights aren’t worth climbing, and you merely drive to them,” he says. “But others require much more energy and fitness.” It’s not easy to train for this sort of thing when you live in East Dallas, says Golbeck, who trains mostly on stair machines and with other exercises, such as lunges, that strengthen climbing muscles. “I do envy those who live in the mountains,” Golbeck says. “I never feel prepared enough. One of the toughest climbs, to Gannett Peak in Wyoming, required a 24-mile trek before you even started the summit attempt. It really changed me.” Hawaii’s 13, 796-foot Mauna Kea is on his schedule, but Alaska’s Mt. McKinley might not be in the cards. “It is dangerous, and I’m 51 years old. Older guys have done it, but I don’t know if my wife would go for the idea” Though the 29-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department has been hit by falling rocks (one, a rather large boulder) and seen a couple of close calls, he still hopes to go to Everest and “just” climb to the first base camp, at a mere 17,000 feet.
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.