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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. 30

Nima Dawa (bottom), Karma (standing), Dr. Janis, Pem Tenji, Gary and Namgya Namaste and Tashi Delek from a snowy Mt. Everest Base Camp!

We have spent the last two days hydrating and resting, cleaning and organizing our loads and, of course, praying for safe passage when we begin our climb for the summit - or as my good friend Mike Trueman says, "if Sagarmatha allows us to safely climb her." (By the way, Hi Mike and thanks for the emails!)

We've been unable to send up additional loads with the climbing Sherpa because of the consistent snowfall. Nima Dawa Sherpa, the climbing Sirdar and my good friend, made the decision this morning for the climbing Sherpa to rest an additional day before carrying loads to the higher camps. As mentioned in our previous dispatch, Camps 1, 2 and 3 have been established, and we have made one carry to Camp 4. Pemba Tenzing, our Camp 2 cook is awaiting our return at Camp 2. Gary Scott and myself have had numerous meetings with the climbing Sherpa discussing our plan for the coming weeks. We have beefed up our day packs, tested the oxygen and regulators, and checked and rechecked our medical supplies.

A cake for Dr. JanisMany thanks to Janis Tupesis, our team physician, and to the University of Chicago Hospitals for allowing him time away to be part of our team. Janis will be leaving camp soon, and will be dearly missed. He and his wife Nikki were instrumental in the success of Team Everest '03 - Nikki, with her good humor, positive attitude and affable nature on the Challenge Trek, and Janis, who is not only the best expedition doctor I have ever seen, but has a loyalty and dedication to TE '03, and a respect for the Sherpa people and culture, which have been a true asset to the expedition. We all owe him so much.

Again, I truly appreciate the support he has received from the University of Chicago Hospitals. The pictures you see are from of Janis' going away party complete with a special cake prepared by our talented cook, Buddha. Janis is seen above with some of our climbing sherpa: from left to right Nima Dawa (bottom), Karma (standing), Dr. Janis, Pem Tenji, Gary and Namgya.

Garys Scott and Guller with Bob Martin (center)Team Everest '03 continues to be blessed with fine people committed to furthering awareness throughout the world about the expedition. I have great pleasure to introduce Bob Martin, a reporter and pilot for CBS News who has been here at BC with us for the past few days. I could tell straight away upon his arrival at BC that he believed in the message of TE '03 - promoting the potential of people with disabilities and believing that all people, regardless of the abilities or disabilities, should have the freedom to explore.

Bob is a fine gentleman and will be departing our company soon. He has interviewed Nima Dawa and me, has assisted us in repairing and improving our electrical supply, and has shared stories of his career, all of which have added a general joy to our camp for the past few days. CBS has a true gem. We will miss him being here.

Everyone be on the lookout for the TE '03 story on your local CBS station's "The Early Show", which should be airing in the next few days. I look forward to crossing paths with Bob again. And you never know, this CBS connection could finally fulfill my dream of sitting opposite Mr. David Letterman! (Come on Dan Steinborn, you can do it!)

To answer some recent questions from our supporters around the world:

Question #1: When it is snowing, how do you bathe?
Answer: You do naked snow angels first. If that doesn't work, you get a bowl of hot water and a towel, light a candle in your tent, and you give yourself a scrub down. Basically, take off one sock, clean your foot, and put your sock back on. Repeat with other foot. Then, one leg out of pants, wash and put leg back in trouser. Take glove off hand - clean hand and put glove back on FAST!

Question #2: What is the most important holiday in the Sherpa culture?
Answer: The most important holiday is Losar, the Sherpa New Year. Currently, the year is 2130, the year of the Mountain Sheep, and Losar was on March 3. Losar is celebrated on a different day each year.

The Sherpa call BC Manager Christine Kane "Crazy Didi" For all those of you making Sherpa language dictionaries (including Ms Kane's students at Texas School for the Deaf), here is the next installment of words courtesy of our amazing Sherpa teammates. Many Sherpa are named for the day of the week on which they were born. The days of the week are Sunday: Nima, Monday: Dawa, Tuesday: Mingma, Wednesday: Lakpa, Thursday: Phuru, Friday: Pasang, Saturday: Pemba.

On our expedition team, we have Sherpa named Nima Dawa Sherpa, Pemba Tenzing Sherpa, Pasang Sherpa, Lakpa Dorjee Sherpa, Mingma Kami Sherpa, Lakpa Sherpa and Phuru Dorjee Sherpa.

We also learned the colors - blue: ngrbu, red: maru, yellow: ceru, green: jungmu, pink: gemu, black: nakpu, white: karu, brown: muki, gold: ceri, silver: nul.

We'll write again soon before heading back up the mountain! Thanks to everyone for your support.

All the best!
Gary G. and the team

To contact the TE '03 Summit Team:


Apr. 27

Greetings from Gary Guller back at Base Camp!

View from C2I cannot tell you how nice it is to be breathing some thicker air and enjoying the few comforts we have at Base Camp: a better selection of food and drinks and, of course, the company of the TE '03 staff.

To give you a quick update of the status of our team and our progress higher on the mountain: the high altitude climbing Sherpa with the support Dining tent at C2of the entire expedition team have successfully established Camps 1, 2 and 3 high on the Lhotse Face, and have moved one load to Camp 4 on the South Col, approximately 950 meters (3,116ft) from the top of the world! the world! Gary Scott, the climbing Sherpa and myself are all at Base Camp having a few days of much needed rest.

Five days ago, we ascended from Base Camp to begin the hard work of establishing the higher camps. There is an incredible amount of equipment and food that has to be moved up through the Khumbu Icefall and Camp 1 to our advanced base camp at Camp 2 (at approximately 22,500ft). The first time any of us non-Sherpa make this ascent, it feels like breathing extremely cold air through a mixing straw. (Some of you may remember trying the experiment at one of our presentations - running in place or around your auditorium and then trying to breathe through a thin straw.)

Crossing ladder from C1 to C2We have been very fortunate that Gary Scott was able to shoot some fantastic video footage of our team ascending through the Icefall and going to Camp 2. The ladders en route to Camp 2 are mentally taxing to say the least. There are a number of places where there are multiple ladders strung together over crevasses that appear to be bottomless and looking through the rungs is like looking into a sea of darkness. Unfortunately, just the other day, two ice walls collapsed while two Sherpa were on the ladders only 20 minutes in front of us. Hopefully, they will both be okay, but it hits home how dangerous this route can be. (If you heard on the news wire about me slipping on one of the ladders - it is true, but I can assure you it was minor and I am in 100% good health!)Nima Dawa climbs to C2

We've established our Camp 2 just past the other expeditions. In all honesty, humans weren't made to live at these altitudes. But even though the conditions are extremely tough going, the beauty looking out over the great Himalayan Mountains, surrounded in the Western Cwm by Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse, I can only marvel at how all this was created. Until, that is, the wind picks up and the clouds appear and I am quickly reminded how inhospitable it can be. The cold just sucks the life out of you! This is when we draw most from the support we are receiving from home about reaching deeper within ourselves to succeed when perhaps it seems easier to give up. Team Everest '03 is all about doing the best that we can within ourselves.

A personal hello to our supporters and the team back in Austin, and all at CTD. I miss you and appreciate the continued support we are receiving as we enter into this mentally and physically difficult phase of the expedition. A big hello to the students at the Texas School Tired Garyfor the Deaf, Dripping Springs (Hey Chris!), St. Mary's Hall (Hi Sharon Goodwin), Easthampton Middle School, and in Riga, Latvia! Hope you enjoy the pictures from our trip up and back to Camp 2. You can see how tired I look after a long day on the mountain.

We'll be re-ascending to the higher altitude camps for further acclimatization, but will write again from Base Camp before we depart.

Yours truly,
Gary Guller

To contact the TE '03 Summit Team:

CURRENT INITIATIVES: Texas Public Housing Authority Training and Technical Assistance Project
Housing options for people with disabilities, especially those transferring from nursing homes to the community, are often extremely limited by affordability and physical barriers. CTD is currently working on a project that will provide training and technical assistance to local Public Housing Authorities so that they may increase the number of affordable, accessible, integrated housing units for people with disabilities. This project influences public policy surrounding affordable housing in the state.


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

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