Ascent of Britton Hill on 2014-05-10

Climber: John Griffith

Others in Party:Toby Beau (R.I.P.)
Date:Saturday, May 10, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Helicopter
Peak:Britton Hill
    Elevation:345 ft / 105 m

Ascent Trip Report

Arrived on Thursday, May 8th, and hired a party of 11 local guides to carry provisions, help establish camps, and to fix ropes.

Reached Base Camp 1 by 4:00 p.m. on the 8th, and set up camp at approximately 45 meters altitude in order to acclimate, and gain strength and nourishment. Decision was made to attempt the climb without supplemental oxygen.

Awoke to a fierce storm, with winds gusting to up to 11 knots, accompanied by clouds, and a total of 0.4 cm of rain in just over 75 minutes. Stayed in tent, drinking cups of chicken bullion. Attempted to stay warm in temperatures dipping to 59 degree F. With wind chill factor, "feels like" temperature was 55 F! Weather cleared slightly by 11:00 a.m., and after a grueling 3.5 hour ascent, battling the remaining dampness, and the occasional "rogue" breeze, reached Base Camp 2 just before nightfall. Lost 2 in our party to edema, and a 3rd to exhaustion. 5 guides accompanied the fallen back to the car. Spent a fitful evening, tossing and turning, struggling for oxygen at the 75 meter altitude.

Finally, the break I had been hoping for! Arose early, before 9:30, and dressed and equipped all gear, including two arresting axes, extra carabiners, and 2 sets of C3 strap-in crampons. Struck out for the summit with 3 guides, and fellow alpiner Toby Beau at 1:30, after returning from a quick lunch at Subway. Had to leave Toby when he collapsed at the 90 meter mark due to exhaustion, right at the base of the fixed lines up the Bobby Bowden step. After making certain that 2 guides had secured Toby in the passenger seat for the extraction back to Subway, the remaining guide and I began the final push to the summit at 4:30. After 2 excruciating hours, we reached the summit. Stayed just long enough to erect some prayer-flags and take a few pictures before commencing the perilous decent.

Reached Base Camp 1 just before 9:45 p.m., exhausted, but giddy with a sense of accomplishment, tempered by disappointment for Toby, and news that 1 guide had been lost - literally - after going to a small dive bar just outside of Mayo, Florida.

An epic trip, but already looking forward to returning in 2016 to attempt the more challenging SW ascent.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:68 ft / 20 m
    Total Elevation Loss:33 ft / 9 m
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Bushwhack, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Skis, Guide, Porters, Tent Camp, Bivouac
    Weather:Raining, Frigid, Very Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:68 ft / 20 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 65 ft / 20 m; Extra: 3 ft / 0m
    Loss on way in:3 ft / 0 m
    Route:NE face
    Start Trailhead:Base Camp 1 - Hillary's overlook  280 ft / 85 m
    Time:2 Days 19 Hours 47 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:30 ft / 9 m
    Route:Evergreen Street
    End Trailhead:The Car  315 ft / 96 m
    Time:5 Minutes

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