Greg Griffith Returns to Rhode Island for #50

[Published in Apex to Zenith #51 – Fourth Quarter 2000]

On top of Rainier (L to R) Kurt Mitchler, Greg Griffith with ice ax high, Tom Thomas, Jim Retemeyer, John Mitchler, Jim Sartain, Richard Dare.

“It all started after having received Don Holmes book as “recuperative reading” material following a May 1994 paragliding accident that resulted in a broken back.”

I began my highpointing quest on Guadalupe Peak in October 1994 and completed on the most elusive of summits (Jerimoth!) on September 3, 2000.

It all started after having received Don Holmes book as “recuperative reading” material following a May 1994 paragliding accident that resulted in a broken back.

I almost immediately seized upon the idea of utilizing High-pointing as a method of incrementally rehabilitating, starting out with shorter approaches/minimal elevation gains etc. and then eventually progressing onward and upward to higher and harder highpoints.

I felt then that the clearly defined goal of the “50” in combination with the escalating degree of difficulty would be rewards in them-selves – little did I realize that the value and rewards of actually standing on the highpoint pale in comparison to the experience of having gotten there amidst the myriad and diverse periphery of the journey. After all — as a wise man once said, “It is better to journey than to arrive.”

Now that this journey is “complete” and the last highpoint has been checked off this list I would like to continue a tradition in completion summaries by listing a few superlatives and personal favorites etc. from along the way.

DENALI – challenge, scenery, conti-nental summit, “expedition feel”
RAINIER – super team, great weather, 1:00 a.m. start, star/meteor views
SUNFLOWER – expansive views, solitude, well maintained site/log
GRANITE – wilderness, mtn. goats in camp, summit topography, route
MARCY – fall foliage, cobalt blue sky, nice approach hike, views

BLACK / WOODALL – heard that they were better now, but were quite littered when I was there/picked up trash

BORAH – don’t understand division of opinion on the relative difficulty of “Chicken-out Ridge”?

KATAHDIN – weather & conditions of a much higher peak at times

I had near perfect weather (within reason) except DENALI – 5 days stuck at 17,200’ camp prior to summit day – almost 2 days after summit day
MT. ROGERS – super intense hail, lightning, and thunderstorm
JERIMOTH – light drizzle

DENALI – Talkeetna Roadhouse cin-namon rolls – mmmm
MANSFIELID – obligatory stop at Ben & Jerry factory, maple syrup
GRANITE – steaks at the Grizzly Bar

Brooke Bullinger – best buddy & hik-ing partner, originally gave me the Holmes book, 41 highpoints together
Jack Longacre – for starting it all
Stefan Schlett – from Germany, very strong & experienced partner on Denali, 19 World Highpoints
John & Kurt Mitchler, Tom Thomas, Richard Dare, Jim Retemeyer, Jim Sartain, Dave Wickersham – for letting me join their team at the last minute for a picture perfect 2 days on Mt.Rainier
All The Private Landowners – for allowing access to their property!

“What’s next?” is the logical question that you most often hear from the intelligent, inquisitive, goal ori-ented, demographic known as “Highpointers.”

I will probably try to add to my international (7) & continental (3) lists while simultaneously trying not to neglect my other (too many!) hobbies.

Last but certainly not least I will endeavor to continue inching my way up the master list under the heading “Most fun had by individual in lifetime!”

[Ed. – Of Greg’s final highpoint on Jerimoth Hill, Open Access Date Host Bill Stempek writes, “By Club standards, Greg had 50 HPs in the bag. The Jackson Hole resident (formerly from NC) had volunteered to assist smoke eaters out West when a lull in the forest fires came. He decided that the highway sign solution wasn’t quite fulfilling his gut 50. Solution? Plane to Boston, night in Providence, and on hand at Jerimoth Hill Rock for the Labor Day 2000 festivities. And festive it was with a true 50 hosting (hey, I mostly just introduced him and stepped aside). He fielded questions from everyone and was gracious and accommodating (even when the same question came up 15 times in a row!). Greg spent hours with the young and old alike, but it was really great to see the kids oogling the “guy that touched them all!”]

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