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News & Blog: Team Blogs

03/27/14

RE: Team HighPoint Goes After State # 49 In July

50 For Tibet's Team HighPoint has announced plans to tackle another U.S. state highpoint in the summer of 2014. After their adventure to Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar in the summer of 2013, and their last highpoint summit in Australia on January 5th 2014, the team is excited to move forward and up into the Central Rocky Mountains and the highest peak in Wyoming, Gannett Peak. At 13,809 feet, Gannett Peak is 33 feet taller than the more famous Wyoming mountain, the Grand Teton. If successful, this will be Team HighPoint's 49th state highpoint to go along with 13 international countries and one international territory since the adventure fundraiser was initiated in June 2006.

The team is ready and eager to embark on this next journey. For members, this will be a first time. For one other, Team HighPoint member Steve Gardiner (Billings, Montana), this will be a second time around.

“I climbed Gannett Peak in 1980. It was a difficult journey, made even more difficult by the fact that on summit day, it was a raging blizzard in August. We could not see the mountain at all, and in fact, we walked across the summit and started down the other side before we realized we had reached the top. Part of my return to Gannett Peak is that I would like to see the mountain.” He reflects. “I know it is beautiful but I don’t have that as part of my memory of the previous trip. Also, I would like to climb it again 34 years later to see what that experience is like. What does it feel like to stand on a peak more than three decades later? I want to find out.”

As for the other expedition members of the group, a major factor sticking out is the training that will be necessary for this climb. Gannett Peak is known as one of the most difficult climbs of the 50 states. Standing at 13,809 ft., it is considered to be one of the most difficult state high points, aside from Alaska's Denali, (Mount McKinley) and possibly Montana's Granite Peak. Joe Sears (Kennewick, Washington), a veteran of Team HighPoint's trips, opens up about what he is expecting as far as training.

“For me personally, this trip will definitely be one of the more challenging high points due to the length of time required to complete the round trip, and the fact that nearly all of the time will be spent above 10,000 feet. I think that most of the United States high points can be climbed in one day (trailhead to trailhead), some days a bit more difficult that others. Any time you embark on a multi-day climb, the difficulty factor increases substantially.”

The route that is planned for this trip is called the Gooseneck Route, named for a pinnacle of the Southeast ridge on the Southeast Gooseneck Glacier. The route is known for its high success rate and for safety. However, the route is also heavily dependent on seasonal fluctuations and the shape of the bergschrund. (A bergschrund is a crevasse that forms where a moving glacier of ice separates from the stagnant ice or firn above.) John Jancik (Parker, Colorado) of Team HighPoint, expands on thoughts about their chances of success on the challenging peak. “The 50 For Tibet HighPoint team is dedicating a total of six days for this attempt on Gannett Peak.” He states. “That is a fairly typical length for expeditions to take on this mountain. Although I have not climbed Gannett Peak before, I feel very good about our chances of success as we have a veteran team of high quality climbers. Sometimes one's chances all comes down to the weather.”

Gannett Peak will serve as a large accomplishment for the climbers, physically and personally. With the 49th state highpoint coming up, and 48 behind their backs, the HighPointers are well aware of the impact their hard work and dedication has had.

“The impact of 50 for Tibet has been a strong sense of support for the Rowell Fund for Tibet. Many significant Tibetan cultural projects have been completed using funding provided by the efforts of 50 for Tibet. Reaching 49 of the state highpoints is an important milestone.” Gardiner details. “It would mean a dream launched 8 years ago has happened. That dream let us see so many beautiful scenes, meet incredible people, and share meaningful experiences.”

“The original goal of 50 for Tibet is getting ever closer to completion. I don’t think the original objective of 50 for Tibet should ever come to an end.” Sears addresses. “There is much yet to be done and I hope that everyone will continue push the cause even if no other mountains are ever climbed. Congratulations to John, Terri (Baker), and ECHO Geophysical for initiating the program and seeing it through.”

50 For Tibet's Team HighPoint consists of John Jancik (Parker, Colorado), Terri Baker (Parker, Colorado), David Baker (Morrison, Colorado) and Steve Gardiner (Billings, Montana). John and Terri, who originally met the late, legendary photographer and mountaineer Galen Rowell in 1995 as the three of them prepared for their participation in the 1996 Top of the World Expedition to northern Greenland, now serve on The Advisory Board of The Rowell Fund for Tibet. On September 23rd, 2006, Team Highpoint was honored with a special meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama during a visit to Colorado.

50 For Tibet has directly or indirectly raised over $250,000 for The Rowell Fund For Tibet.

To learn more about Team HighPoint and its 50 For Tibet project, see the Team's website at www.50fortibet.org or contact John Jancik at echojj@aol.com, or by phone at 303-204-5150. More information about theTibetan situation is available from the International Campaign for Tibet at www.savetibet.org or by phone at (202) 785-1515.

by John at 04:31:30 pm


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