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Greg Griffith First to Climb Highpoints of All National Parks

September 25 2003 at 4:28 PM
roger  (Login dipper)

Response to Highpointers in the News

John Mitchler passes this along from the cohp group:

A very significant event took place at 9:00AM on Sunday, September 21, 2003. Greg Griffith reached the highpoint of Yellowstone National Park, thus becoming the first person to reach the HP of all national parks in the Lower 48 states.

Greg's achievement is significant and his determination over the past year has been nothing short of astounding.

He did most as solo ascents including Olympus, Goode, and Cleveland, and covered a huge geographic region bounded by Acadia, Virgin Islands, Isle Royale, Saguaro, Channel Islands, and Olympic. This list includes pioneering visits to such unusual park highpoints of Dry Tortugas (kayak), Biscayne (kayak and mangrove thickets), Everglade (wading alligator swamps), and Cuyahoga (new).

His note taking has been exceptional. His visits typically include research at local libraries and ranger stations and he's had lengthy conversations with numerous park personnel, especially for those parks with unclear highpoints (e.g., Canyonlands, Everglades, Biscayne). Repeat visits were required for several, including Biscayne & Everglade (quite a double-drive from Wyoming!).

Greg notes that two of his achievements are asterisked as UFO which means "until found otherwise." The highpoints of Everglades and Canyonlands are still under investigation. He has park personnel researching the highpoint situations there (exact boundaries and manmade features are being questioned).

Greg is Completer #101 of the 50 State Highpoints which he did on Sept. 3, 2000 (see page 3 of HP Club newsletter 00-4, #51).

I met Greg when he joined my Rainier expedition in August 2000 and we reached the summit for his #50, however, at that time he had only visited the highway sign at Jerimoth Hill in Rhode Island. So being a detailed and literal perfectionist, he drove back to RI on an Open Access Date to claim it as his true Fiftieth Highpoint.

Highpointing with Greg is a great experience because you pick up many good ideas about outdoor recreation, let alone enjoy his easy-going style and his love of nature. Although good at it, Greg is not a list-driven climber. He prefers extraordinary events such as retracing the "search for Dr. Livingston" route in Africa and performing a 3,000' rappel on Baffin Island.

[Note about Yellowstone NP HP - Greg took binoculars to the summit of Eagle Peak and carefully examined the Howell Creek route and concluded that it is Class 2 the entire way to the summit. This is preferrable to the Eagle Pass route which is Class 4 or low Class 5 and requires a maneuver through cliffbands and a chockstoned keyhole. The Howell Creek route comes in from Yellowstone Lake. Greg noted 81 entries in the summit register and counted half used the Howell route and half used the Eagle route with more of the latest entries using the Howell route. It was Greg's third attempt at Yellowstone.]

I congratulate Greg on his amazing achievement and a fantastic experience.

- John Mitchler

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