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June 2003

June 3

Everest Summitteers receive 50th anniversary medalSince our return to Kathmandu, 50th anniversary celebrations of the first ascent of Mount Everest have been in full swing all around the city. One of the biggest events was a May 29th ceremony organized by the Everest Golden Jubilee Committee to honor Everest summiteers from Nepal and overseas.

Prime Minister Chand, who gave silver medals to the summiteers in attendance, told me that he had followed the Team Everest expedition and commented on what a great achievement it was.King Gyanendra

King Gyanendra and Queen Komal also attended the latter part of the ceremony and gave audience to those who had summited. It was an honor to be a part of this historic occasion.

The entire summit team had an extremely enjoyable night at the infamous Rum Doodle Restaurant, where those who have reached the peak of Everest receive free drinks and food for the rest of their lives. It was a great honor to sign my name alongside all those who summited before me. We were joined by many friends and well wishers who believe in the mission of our expedition.

Gary Guller at Rum DoodleThis was perhaps one of the best days of my life. Thanks to everyone for allowing me to achieve this dream and enjoy this special time in Nepal.

Namgya and Gary at cermoney honoring NamgyaWe are proud to announce that Namgya Sherpa, one of our amazing summit team Sherpa, was honored in a special ceremony held by Topke Gholla District Committee in Taplejung near Kanchenjunga. He is the first person from his district to summit Mount Everest.

The ceremony consisted of several speeches honoring Namgya, as well as the giving of MANY ceremonial katas (white scarves). The entire summit team was honored with katas and sindor, the red powder on our faces and heads. Team Everest is about the amazing power of the human spirit and Namgya demonstrated this throughout the entire expedition. His professionalism and belief in the TE '03 message will always be an inspiration to many Nepali and Americans alike.

The message of TE '03 was also celebrated by the Nepal Society of the Disabled. I was invited to be a guest speaker at a gathering of individuals from this organization, and received many katas, flowers and a traditional Nepalese topi (hat).

Gary speaks at the Nepal Society of the DisabledI had the opportunity to speak of the importance of raising awareness of the unlimited potential of persons with disabilities, both in America and in Nepal, in setting goals and realizing dreams, and in realizing that people with disabilities should be treated equally and fairly.

Nepal has many barriers to overcome, barriers that are very similar to those that people in the USA face, a fact that baffles me when comparing a country as rich as America to one as poor as Nepal. I spoke of the basic rights of all people to live and work in the community of their choice, as well as to have the freedom to explore.

Christine and Gary with individuals from the NSDI answered questions from the press and committed to forming a partnership with the NSD to facilitate making changes that are desperately needed in Nepal. The event was covered by the local news, as well as in all the newspapers in Kathmandu.

Thanks to everyone for allowing me to achieve this dream and enjoy this special time in Nepal. I will do my best to continue to promote the potential of people with disabilities and the spirit and goodwill towards all people.

Gary Guller

Contact Dennis Borel at 512/478-3366 M-F (other times at 512/431-1656) or for further info about the homecoming event, TE '03 or the advocacy work of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.


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