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Date Author Title
2019-12-06 Steve Gardiner Highpointing for Tibet


I had never been so excited to meet another human being. 

We stood in a small room at the end of a hallway in the Inverness Hotel in Denver. Our group of six waited anxiously as we heard noise and people moving toward us. Several monks in their maroon robes entered the room, followed closely by the Dalai Lama.

He greeted us warmly, smiling at us. He thanked us for the work we had done to help Tibetan people, talked briefly about the situation in Tibet, and told us he wanted his country to achieve autonomy within China, an approach he called the Middle Way. He shook our hands, looking each of us directly in the eye as he filled the room with his infectious laughter, before he moved on down the hallway to the first of his meetings for the day.


We paused. Amazed. Stunned. What could we say to each other after that experience?


We had been invited to meet the Dalai Lama as members of the 50 for Tibet project, a Colorado-based group planning to climb the highest mountain in all fifty states as a fundraiser for The Rowell Fund for Tibet, an organization dedicated to providing support for Tibetan writers, artists, and musicians. At that point, on September 17, 2006, we had already climbed 21 state highpoints, and we were working hard to add more ascents to our list.


Before the first year was over, we had climbed more than 40 state highpoints and raised $35,000 for The Rowell Fund, a branch of the International Campaign for Tibet in Washington, DC. As we worked on the project, our goals expanded and we took our highpointing efforts overseas, adding England, Scotland, Wales, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and many other countries to our list.


Those experiences helped us learn more about our own country, as well as the international destinations we visited. We met wonderful people, saw beautiful scenery, and helped share information about the plight of the Tibetan people and the human rights violations happening in Tibet, an occupied nation since the Chinese invasion in 1950. 


The 50 for Tibet project was designed to last one year, but the success we had both in the climbing and in the fundraising, encouraged us to keep it going. Now in its eleventh year, 50 for Tibet has raised more than $250,000 and been a success beyond any of our imaginations.


John Jancik, who created the concept of 50 for Tibet, and I have teamed up to write a book about our experiences. Highpointing for Tibet: A Journey Supporting The Rowell Fund, was published in July 2017. The book recounts more than 65 climbs completed by the group and includes 38 photos illustrating the adventures. Actor Richard Gere and climber Conrad Anker wrote forewords for the book.


To read more about Highpointing for Tibet,

go to Quiet Water Publishing's website.


To order a copy of Highpointing for Tibet,

go to Amazon.com.



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