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April 2003:

1 | 3 - 4 | 4 - 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 11-16 | 17-19 | 21 | 22-25 | 27-30

Apr. 25

Gary Guller on vertical ladders in Khumbu IcefallHello from Camp Two! We survived the man-eating crevasses and swaying ladder bridges through the Khumbu Ice Fall and arrived to Camp 1 without a hitch despite the snow and wind. After a night of acclimatization, we forged on to Camp Two. The hike from Camp 1 to Camp 2 was slow and treacherous due to the scorching sun reflecting from the surrounding peak, as well as the dangerous crevasses, many of which were hidden by last night's snowfall. Even though we couldn't see them, we knew they were there and therefore had to be much more cautious with each step.

After a day of acclimatizing in Camp 2, Gary Scott headed up the Lhotse Face to Camp 3. Due to the weather conditions, he dodged rocks and ice pieces that whizzed past his head the whole way up. Khumbu Icefall   He made it safely, stayed a few hours and returned to Camp 2 to sleep for the night. I'll head back up to Camp 3 with Gary S. in the next day or two and we both will spend 1-2 nights acclimatizing there - Keep all fingers crossed for good weather. Wind speed at these heights can reach 90 miles per hour and temperatures well below zero. - Gary Guller

Back at Base Camp, life was pretty quiet until the arrival of the generator: We have power! Thanks to Chad Pritchett and Dolores Kane we are in the dining tent, charging and recharging everything! Some of the climbing Sherpa have returned to BC for some rest days. They will rest tomorrow and then return to Camp 2 and 3 with much needed supplies and rations. It was wonderful to see them all return safely and share the stories of camp life high on the mountain. We had another Sherpa language lesson, this time on body parts: eyes:mik, nose:no, mouth: kha, ears:namjuk, teeth:sa, hands:lakpa, feet:kangba, arms:pumu, legs:pila, fingers:teptuk. Keep those Sherpa dictionaries updated!

Washing clothes at BC Because the weather was warm and sunny at Base Camp today, we washed clothes, took showers (for the first time in five days!) and aired out sleeping bags and tents. It is amazing how life is controlled by the weather here!! - Christine Kane

With each ladder we cross and rope we climb, the message of the Team Everest '03 Expedition reaches new heights. Other climbers and expeditions on the mountain have become aware of our message and we receive visitors to our camp from all over the globe to congratulate us and wish us luck for success on all levels.

Presco marks the spot with RunTex at Camp 2A quick hello and thanks to all of Janis Tupesis' colleagues at the University of Chicago Hospital! Christine Kane sends a shout out to all the students and staff at TSD, as well as her awesome family and friends - Keep the emails coming up, You guys rock! Chad, the news about the generator was just too much!

To all the sponsors and supporters of Team Everest '03, as well as the people at the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, please know that we couldn't accomplish any of this without you! And last, but certainly not least to all the Challenge Trek members who are home, warm and comfortable - WE WISH YOU WERE HERE!!! - Summit Team

To contact the TE '03 Summit Team:

Dennis Borel, Barry Muth & Dinesh Ranasinghe at the Barbara Jordan Media Awards in San AntonioThe Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities honored CTD and TE '03 with the 2002 Barbara Jordan Media "Special Contribution by an Organization" Award last night in San Antonio. Since 1982 the awards have recognized media professionals and others for accurately and progressively portraying Texans with disabilities. The awards are named for former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, one of Texas’ most distinguished citizens and spokespersons for the rights of all people. Challenge Trek members Dinesh Ranasinghe and Barry Muth, both of San Antonio, Barry's family, Susan Darr of SBC and Joni Rogers of Arun Expeditions attended. Project Director Dennis Borel accepted the award on behalf of the entire team.

CURRENT INITIATIVES: Promoting and Advancing Unrestricted Living (PAUL) Project
This project convenes people with disabilities, family members, service providers, social service professionals, and government officials to impact policy and practice as Texas implements its promoting independence plan (the movement of people with disabilities from institutions to community settings).

Contact Dennis Borel at 512/478-3366 M-F (other times at 512/431-1656) or for info about Team Everest'03 or CTD.


Apr. 24

Team Doc Janis Tupesis and base camp manager Christine Kane phoned home Wednesday morning U.S. time – or at least phoned a reporter stateside to give a voice update on TE03.

The best news was that Gary Guller and Gary Scott are happily ensconced at Camp 2, with Scott readying a day-trip up to Camp 3 today. Base camp folks say that Gary Guller then plans to return w/ Gary Scott for a night at Camp 3, and the two will then return to base camp for rest and regrouping on April 26. All of the expeditions on Everest's south side are planning a team-leader meeting on the 26th to discuss fixing ropes on the South Col and above and other safety issues, so the TE03 climbers hope to be back down to attend.

Janis reports that weather may turn lousy again in the next two days, which could briefly delay the team. Both Janis and Christine noted that recent high winds have added a twist to the hot days and frigid nights at base camp; Christine said that windy conditions several days ago had folks huddling in their tents to try to keep warm instead of basking in the daily heatwaves.

Janis reports that Gary Guller is climbing well. He notes that Gary’s first trip through the Khumbu Icefall (which Guller reported last week had involved traversing some 25-30 ladders strung over crevasses as well as the usual hair-raising ups-and-downs over ice chunks the size of houses and more) was "at a quick pace for him,'' taking about half the time of his first trip in 2001. "He’s feeling strong,’’ Janis said.

Summit team member Chris Watkins of Thunder Bay, Canada, left base camp for home on Tuesday. Chris had struggled during the trek with altitude-related physical problems, and Christine and Janis say he decided it would be best to head down for good after visiting TE03's base camp this past week.

Chris’s dedication to the team and its message was nothing short of remarkable. While in Katmandu recovering from altitude-related illness, he single handedly arranged a welcome-back reception and news conference for the Challenge Trek team with the U.S. Embassy’s deputy ambassador and consul. (And, as good Canadian luck would have it, even selected a reception site close enough to the ridiculously lavish National Geographic India reality TV show party that TE03 members were able to scarf free drinks and eats!) Because of Chris’s efforts, TE03’s meeting with U.S. diplomats was featured in every major Nepali newspaper, as well as the country’s main morning TV newscasts. Christine and Janis say he’ll be sorely missed.

Vince Bousselaire of Golden, Co., the fourth member of the summit team, remains at lower altitude in Pheriche. Janis says he’ll be there for the next four or five days, resting up and regaining strength before trying to regroup with the team at base camp.

While spirits are high, base camp communications remain in the ditch. The team’s beleaguered Honda generator, miraculously raised from the dead multiple times by Mingma Sherpa, Nikomar Margar and other mechanical whizzes during the challenge trek to base camp, is so dead and gone that all of the team’s computers are out of batteries – and thus out of commission for emails and dispatches. Christine reports that TE03's logistical genius in Katmandu, Loben Sherpa, sent in a temporary reinforcement on a recent helicopter flight: a car battery. Trouble was, to get it on the flight, it had to be, um, mislabeled as 'oxygen.’ So the base camp team spent much time after the helo arrived sorting through the goodies sent from Katmandu, passing by the 'oxygen’ package (and wondering, why did they send THAT?), and while wondering where the heck th eir temporary juice might've ended up. Someone finally opened the mislabeled package yesterday afternoon, and base camp is now expecting another Sherpa mechanical miracle: Christine predicts that the battery and solar panels could be jury-rigged to provide a temporary electricity source within the next day or so. It won’t replace the still sorely mourned generator, but would keep things limping along for a while.

Christine says that TE03 is not alone in its electricity woes. She estimates that fully 50 percent of the expeditions are now sans power at base camp (along w/ the megapublicized base camp cyber cafe), thanks to the high demands and harsh conditions at base camp (those of us who found ourselves sleeping with our electronic equipment at base camp to keep it from succumbing to low nighttime temps can testify that it is NOT a machine-friendly environment).

Those few camps with generators still working apparently aren’t winning any popularity contests when they crank up their engines either. "You hear one or two going, and you want to throw rock at them!’’ said a base camp manager who spoke on condition on anonymity. - Lee Hancock

To contact the TE '03 Summit Team:

THANKS to Chad Pritchett and Dolores Kane for their $1000 "GENERATOR" Sponsorship. This generous donation will ensure smooth communications throughout the expedition!

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 lives.

CURRENT INITIATIVES: Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program (STAP)
CTD provides outreach efforts, which allow Texans who have trouble using a regular telephone (due to vision, hearing, mobility, or cognitive disorders) to receive specialized telecommunications equipment at no cost to them, regardless of the actual cost of the equipment. In the last four years, CTD has helped thousands of Texans obtain free communication devices that increase their independence and participation in life.

Contact Dennis Borel at 512/478-3366 M-F (other times at 512/431-1656) or for info about Team Everest'03 or CTD.


Apr. 22

Khumbu Icefall   Photo by G. GullerGreetings from a cold and snowy Base Camp!

As an update to yesterday's dispatch, the team set off through the Icefall early yesterday morning as planned. About 3/4 of the way through the Ice fall, they received word that the last bridge-ladder before Camp 1 had collapsed. As a result, they had to turn back and return to BC.

The Ice fall doctors (the Sherpa who look after the ladders in the Ice fall) were able to make the needed repairs, although the Ice fall was closed for the rest of the day. During the first part of the climb, however, the team got some great pictures and amazing video footage.

At BC, the team rested during the afternoon only to start all over again today at 4am! All went smoothly until it started snowing at around 10:30am, making things a little colder and more difficult to see. Gary G. and his climbing Sherpa made it safe and sound to Camp 1 and Gary S. made it to Camp 2, just a little bit closer to bringing the important message about the capabilities of people with disabilities to the top of Mount Everest!

Gary Scott in the Khumbu Ice fall   Photo by G. GullerAfter speaking to Gary G. on the radio, it was good to hear that they had just finished a delicious lunch of RaRa noodles, tuna and canned peaches for dessert! All is well and they are ready for some acclimatization!

At BC, life is complicated by recurring generator problems. Despite astounding efforts by our skilled Sherpas at camp, we cannot get the generator to run consistently. After today's efforts, it is finally KAPUT! This puts our ability to send dispatches and pictures in serious jeopardy. If anyone out there is willing and able to make a $1000 sponsorship for a new generator, we would be proud to display your name/logo on the new generator when it arrives.

We thank all our supporters and cheerleaders at home. Keep sending the positive energy our way. As always, Gary Scott climbing through Khumbu Icefall   Photo by G. Gullerwe need your to help bring the message of TE '03 to the top of the world!

Hopefully we will receive good news about a generator sponsor and we'll be able to keep up with our dispatches and pictures.

Namaste from the Team!


Contact Dennis Borel at 512/478-3366 M-F (other times at 512/431-1656)
or for info about sponsorship opportunities.

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 lives.

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