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March 2003:

9 15 - 17 18 19 21 23 24 25 26 27 28 30 31 | April  
Mar. 26

Hike from Namche    Photo by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning NewsGreetings from Namche!

It is with sore legs and high spirits that the Team Everest '03 crew greets you from the Sherpa capital! We have spent the last few days acclimatizing here after making the long hike up the infamous Namche hill two days ago. All team members are well and reflecting upon our wonderful last week together. We started a week ago as individuals - a climber, a journalist, a physician, a teacher, a veteran, a store manager - and have evolved into a team and friends!

Today several on the team made an acclimatization hike up the mountain to Khumjung. A Monday night snowfall - actually a snow-thunderstorm - left the village and peaks above blanketed in white as we began the morning climb (that is of course, after a team snowball fight). Bright sun soon had people stripping down (some who shall remain nameless, displaying their long johns to the world), and by the time we reached the top, we had spectacular views of Ama Dablam, Tamsherku, Lhotse Shar and the sacred peak Khumbila. At Everest View Lodge, the big mountain itself was shrouded in clouds, but we got a good taste of things to come: the winding trail we'll soon be taking, the terraced villages we'll be passing, and the Tengboche monastery we'll be visiting.

Gary Scott prepares to throw snowball      Photo by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning NewsIn Khumjung, we stopped to cheer young Sherpa kids playing in the snow. Two boys had taken scrap plastic and fashioned short skies. Their skill in cutting through the afternoon slush wowed even our Colorado skiing veterans. We stopped at the Hillary School, where classes are out for two weeks while teachers grade final exams. Dallas Morning News photographer Erich Schlegel learned firsthand about Sherpa recycling ingenuity. "Hey, they've got graded papers in here!'' he called out from inside the little stone building. "I think that's what they're using for toilet paper.''

Tonight, many of us are gathering in the Danphe Bar, where expeditions traditionally tack up signed T-shirts and pennants to mark their time in the Himalayas. We'll be putting up our own Team Everest 03 T, which has already drawn rave reviews from trekkers and climbers from Germany to Minneapolis. (Limited edition Ts are still available!)

Gary G.  points out peaks    Photo by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning NewsTomorrow, we leave for Loshasa, following a ridge line with many of the great peaks in view. If the weather cooperates, we'll get our first views of Mount Everest. Another step and thousands of successes already. The feedback that we are receiving via many forms of communications - emails from supporters, team members, sherpas, locals, and town gossip - has been nothing but supportive and has fueled the Team Everest '03 expedition in ways that can't even be imagined.

As expedition leader, I personally thank all who have shown your support for this expedition, for your belief in the potential of people with disabilities, for your belief in the potential of all people. In the world at the moment, there are so many negative situations effecting our lives: war, threat of terrorism, the economy. Within Team Everest '03 is something we all should be a part of - a positive, hopeful event that is good for all of society. In light of everything that is happening, you, our supporters, can take a moment of happiness knowing that you are a big part of the success of this expedition.

Sandy passes yaks on trail      Photo by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning NewsTeam Everest '03 has many objectives, and we need both your mental support and your financial support to keep our message and the dream alive. Please spread the word to friends and colleagues to donate so that we can accomplish all of the goals we have set. - Gary Guller

Questions / comments for the team

Slide show by Erich Schlegel / The Dallas Morning News

Back in Austin

Project Director Dennis Borel is currently working in the Texas legislature to pass several important bills. One in particular he discusses below:

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 and prohibited discrimination based on disability. However in recent years, courts have stuck down key protections in the ADA as it relates to States. Using the concept of sovereign immunity, Texas attorneys general acting as defense lawyers have successfully argued that the State is immune from legal action. CTD believes that discrimination, whether based on disability, race, gender, religion or age; must never be condoned. At the request of CTD, Representative Carlos Uresti has filed HB3811 which would allow a person to pursue recourse against the State of Texas for violations of the ADA. The bill awaits a hearing at this time.

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. Contact Dennis at to learn more about CTD's advocacy work.

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