The team gets a 3:00am start on a clear morning from the high camp, at around 10,500 feet. (Jimmy Chin)

Ngawang Sangdrol, a young nun, was arrested for a peaceful protest and spent 11 years in prison. From her cell, she would look up at the mountains surrounding Lhasa, her home town. Today, she is free and soon she will help lead a small group of ICT members up Wyoming’s Grand Teton mountain along with world-famous climbers David Breashears and Jimmy Chin. I write to invite you to participate in this adventure that pairs ICT members, ICT staff and world-class mountaineers.

The Grand Teton is one of America’s most spectacular mountains. While no previous climbing experience is required, it is a very steep trail to the 13,770 foot summit and requires that you be in very good physical shape. The top 600 feet will involve some basic rock climbing for which there will be a day of training. The trip, from August 24 – 28, will last three days and four nights.

Last year, ICT organized a similar trip, which was a resounding success, and everyone made it to the summit. You can read about last year’s climb and see photos here.

Renowned mountain-adventurers David Breashears and Jimmy Chin are donating their time and energy to support ICT and Tibet. David filmed the IMAX movie about Everest, has successfully climbed to the summit of Everest five times and co-produced Red Flag over Tibet for Frontline, one of the best documentaries about Tibet, ever. His new feature documentary about the 1996 Everest tragedy will be released this fall, and we will get one of the first special advance screenings. Jimmy has walked across Tibet in search of the birthing grounds of Tibetan antelope, an expedition which was featured in National Geographic. He is a professional adventure photographer, and will be photographing our trip.

Ngawang Sangdrol was one of the “singing nuns of Drapchi prison” who was punished for singing songs praising the Dalai Lama with an additional six years in prison – for a total 23-year sentence. After enormous international pressure, she was released into ICT’s care in 2003, and now attends Columbia University, learning English and will probably join ICT’s staff afterwards. She was nominated for “International Woman of the Year” in 2004 and was be featured in Sunday’s Parade Magazine on July 2nd, 2006 – she is truly a remarkable presence, and we are thrilled that she will join us on the climb.

The 2006 climb will include gourmet meals, special talks by our guides and Ngawang Sangdrol, and lots of adventure! You will have the opportunity to spend three days with an amazing group of people who care deeply about Tibet.

Please write me if you are interested, and I will send complete details and itinerary.

The cost of the trip is $5,000, of which $4,400 is a tax-deductible donation to the Rowell Fund for Tibet, a project of ICT that gives small grants to Tibetans in Tibet, India, Nepal and elsewhere. Last year, we gave out more than $50,000 in grants to environmental, women’s and human rights projects. For more information about the extraordinary Tibetans who have received Rowell Fund grants, please visit the Rowell Fund section of our website ICT’s website.

I will also be coming on this climb, and though I have climbed the Grand Teton three times now, it is always a new and exciting adventure, and a chance for me to get to know some of our members in an extraordinary setting.