afternoon it began to snow and then snowed nearly all night.
We awoke to a completely white Namche Bazaar. It was pretty
neat, but also cooold. I've dubbed Riley and his cohort Matt,
"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid". Those guys should be
movie stars. Especially Matt. I'm trying to cover them more,
but they're so fast, it's hard to keep up. - Andy Cockrum
The time here in Namche has been wonderful - relaxing, playing,
getting caught up on correspondence, even indulging in an
old fashioned shave. The snow has blanketed the area and we've
We are saddened that team member
Mark Gobble has made the decision to return to Austin. He
has been a valuable member of the team and we'll miss him
greatly. The team looks forward to moving onward and upward!
Signing off for now from Namche Bazaar - Gary
Questions / comments
for the team
TE '03 and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities needs
your continued support.
show by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning News
Everest team member quits
Teacher doesn't want to be far from family during Iraq war
By Lee Hancock / The Dallas Morning News
NAMCHE BAZAAR, Nepal The Team Everest 03 Challenge
Trek said goodbye to its first member Monday, a deaf man from
Austin who turned back for home.
Mark Gobble, a teacher at the Texas State School for the
Deaf, said he was uncomfortable being so far from his wife
and family during wartime, particularly after arriving at
the last place on the trek where he could communicate with
them via e-mail.
"That scares me," he said. "I feel so disconnected
from my family. Things seem so uncertain."
He left four days after the group, sponsored by Austin-based
Coalition for Texans With Disabilities, began its long journey
through the high Himalayas to the foot of Mount Everest.
The team is making the 23-day trek to Everest's base camp
in hopes that traveling through such a poor, remote and harsh
environment to the world's highest mountain will shake common
assumptions about what is possible for people with disabilities.
Trek leader Gary Guller of Austin plans to continue up the
mountain with a four-person summit team. If successful, the
36-year-old would be the first person with one arm to stand
As Mr. Gobble set out to catch a flight back to Katmandu,
Nepal, from the village of Lukla an eight-hour walk
down the Dudh Koshi River gorge his teammates spent
the first of two days in a village at 11,000 feet above sea
level adjusting to the strain of high altitude.
thin air anywhere above 8,000 feet can cause life-threatening
acute mountain sickness and pulmonary and cerebral edema.
Gradual ascent with frequent rest days is required for the
body to adjust safely.
The terrain, altitude and living conditions on the trail
are a formidable challenge to even the most fit; some experts
say only one in 10 trekkers who set out for Everest's base
camp makes it.
The group made a 2,200-foot climb Sunday to Namche Bazaar,
following switchback trails pocked with rock-studded passes,
high swinging bridges and sheer drop-offs into river gorges.
Soon after settling into their narrow, terraced camp, several
team members began having minor altitude-related problems
such as headaches and slight nausea.
Mr. Gobble said he was not leaving for physical reasons but
because he didn't realize how hard it would be to be separated
from his family and friends, who are deaf.
A third-generation deaf person, the 28-year-old teacher said
the trek was the longest he had ever spent without daily interaction
with other deaf people.
Although he has long had contact at school and work and in
social settings with people who can hear, he said, "I
always get to go back to the deaf world. ... I need that environment."
He said he decided to turn back after getting on the Internet
at a cybercafe in Namche Bazaar and reading e-mails from home
and stories about the war in Iraq.
"I felt that I should be home with my wife," he
He said he had thought hard about the impact his decision
could have on his students. He and his interpreter and teaching
colleague, Christine Kane, spent the last year preparing a
teaching curriculum on Everest for their middle school students
and posted their program online for use by other schools.
"I always saw this opportunity of giving students a
chance to dream," he said. "Now I'm going down.
I didn't finish the dream. But, on the other hand, students
may realize you don't get everything that you want."
remaining nine Americans with disabilities and others on the
trip said they were saddened and disappointed by Mr. Gobble's
departure, noting that he had taught them much about deaf
But they said they could understand his feeling of isolation,
even in a group so highly focused on supporting one another.
"Everyone else, they have that camaraderie. It's very
tough for Mark not to have that," said Chris Watkins
of Thunder Bay, Ontario, who is part of the summit team.