arrive yesterday into Tuglha (15,000ft), passing through some
amazing villages and mountain scenery. Visiting one of these
villages, Pangboche, was an uplifting experience for all team
members. It was one of the most incredible and fascinating
mornings of the entire expedition so far.
The highest Lama of the village was kind enough to visit
the expedition at the local monastery. As expedition team
members usually go into the monastery to pay their respects
and monasteries are not that accessible, the Lama thought
it was a good idea to come outside and sit in the courtyard
in the sun. Amazingly enough, the sun shone directly on the
Lama. Everyone was truly touched during the ceremony and the
Lama gave our expedition an extra boost of higher power in
order for us to accomplish our mission and our goals of the
whole Team Everest '03 campaign.
The weather thus far is improving on a daily basis in typical
pre-monsoon fashion. Beautiful clear blue, high Himalayan
mornings with the sun melting the frost on our tents from
the previous night. I think all of the team gets energized
by the early morning warmth.
Support thus far from trekkers, climbers and the press as
we continue to Mount Everest Base camp has been overwhelmingly
positive. A Korean expedition and all its members took the
time at the end of a long day for their team to come by our
camp and wish us all good success. Disability awareness is
continuing to thrive throughout the world.
ascended very slowly from Pangboche at 3,800 meters (12,500ft)
to one of the oldest yak settlement villages in Nepal - Pheriche
at over 4,200 meters (13,800ft). This is the village that
we will be chartering a helicopter from at the end of the
expedition to fly back to Kathmandu. Pheriche was a welcome
sight as we all found the leap of around 1300ft a bit of a
hard push. We are functioning, living, camping as a team at
a height higher than any point in the continental United States.
Of all the villages in Nepal, Pheriche is possibly one of
the most accessible and everyone is enjoying the flat bottom
of this valley. We will spend another day here in Pheriche
to acclimatize, build team spirit, and enjoy the progress
we have made thus far.
All the local villagers are in awe of our expedition and
how far we have come. It is an amazing contrast sometimes,
because on one side, we have the media bringing us international
coverage, and on the other, we have basic grass roots awareness
building in the villagers of Nepal. If we can change the mind
of one villager in Nepal regarding the potential of people
with disabilities, why is changing the minds of so many in
the Western world so difficult?
members are feeling positive, although the cumulative effects
of the altitude can break even the most determined individuals
and hardened athletes. After our first night in Pheriche,
all members were anxious to day hike/stroll during our acclimatization
day. However, not everyone was up to the challenge due to
the altitude increase and opted to take a rest day. Gary S.
and Vince B. led the team members that were ready for an acclimatization
hike up the Chukkung Valley and ascended Chukkung Ri at approximately
18,000ft. Another group of team members ascended a different
ridge to approximately 17,500ft in order to acclimatize further.
After these acclimatization hikes and a day and a half at
this altitude, team spirits were for the first time at an
all-time low. You have to remember folks, we are a team of
29 individuals from all backgrounds - different abilities
and disabilities - living, operating and working as a team
in the most extreme of conditions. To revitalize the team
spirit, we read aloud all the numerous emails of encouragement
we have received from you, our supporters. The effect this
had on the team was awesome. Good positive thinking, support
and inspiration breeds very quickly.
mentioned in the last dispatch, Kim Smith has stayed behind
due to stomach problems and we had received word that she
was ten minutes from Pheriche, on her way to rejoining the
expedition. We immediately sent two Sherpa with hot chocolate
to accompany her. As it was later in the afternoon and the
fog was rolling in and the temperatures were dropping, I went
with the Sherpas to assure her safe arrival into the awaiting
arms of rest of the team. Huge clapping, laughing, crying
and a feeling of true renewed encouragement filled the spirits
of the team. We're whole again!
It even gets better. Nima Dawa Sherpa along with our other
high altitude climbing Sherpa sent word that they have established
our place at base camp and are awaiting our arrival. Next
it's Lobuche, Gorak Shep, then Base Camp! Team Everest '03
continues to move upward and onward. As Dennis Borel, the
executive director at the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities,
says: "Team Everest '03 will crush the stereotypes and
perceptions that are still held by so many toward the disability
Please continue to support our expedition, CTD and the improvement
of the quality of life for all people. You can do this through
emails, good wishes
and much needed financial
few words from team members to folks back home:
Barry Muth of San Antonio says hello to all of his family
Chris Watkins says hello to all of Canada and his family,
especially his kids.
Matt Standridge and Riley Woods, our Team Everest '03 mischief
makers, send many high fives to all their friends!
Erich and Lee from the Dallas Morning News appreciate the
hard work and dedication it takes to promote the Team Everest
Ted Holmes, the Rogers family and Steve Bernstein all send
Janis Tupesis sends a HUGE thank you to all of his friends
and colleagues at the University of Chicago Hospitals for
their help in making this possible. His appreciation for all
the sacrifices you have made to let him be here is felt on
a daily basis!
Thank you again. You'll be hearing from us at our next stop!
Expedition Leader, Team Everest '03
show by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning News
The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities is dedicated
to ensuring that people with disabilities enjoy equal opportunities
to live, work, play, and participate fully in the community
of their choice. CTD has consistently delivered important
results for persons with disabilities for the past 24 years,
and needs your support to fight the discrimination that faces
individuals with disabilities in almost every aspect of their
Contact Dennis Borel at (512) 478-3366 or firstname.lastname@example.org
for a media kit, sponsorship opportunities and to learn more
about TE '03 and the advocacy work of CTD.