Skip to content
Donate Now! Press Team Souvenirs Mt. Everest Info Sponsors Contact Home
Overview Summit Team Challenge Trek Team Daily Logs/Photos

Donate OnlinePress Room

Mt. Everest Expedition Team Departs
Austin mountaineer Gary Guller leads climbers with disabilities to tackle Mt. Everest

Dennis Borel, Project Director, 512-478-3366

AUSTIN, TEXAS March 15, 2003

On March 15, 14 people who live with deafness, paralysis, mental illness, chronic pain or lost limbs began the long journey to Mt. Everest. Their leader, Austin climber Gary Guller, hopes to stand atop the mountain in May and become the first person with one arm to climb to the 29,035-foot peak.

Team Everest'03, a benefit for the non-profit Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD), is an 18-month campaign that began in Austin, Texas in January 2002 and included a host of public awareness events and intense preparation for all members. Guller made several training climbs on major mountains across the world, including Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. Aconcagua and Makalu and Baruntse in the Nepal Himalaya.

"In climbing Mt. Everest, I hope to raise awareness and support for the potential of people with disabilities and to show that life and dreams continue," says Guller. "Team Everest '03 members embody responsibility, leadership, physical determination and strength. Team Everest '03 has a powerful message. It models how society can open the door of opportunity to all people, regardless of their ability or disability."

The Team's voyage so far has generated a tremendous wellspring of interest and support, including seeing Guller and team featured on the cover of the new Austin 2003 phone book, Time Magazine and multiple radio, TV and print news stories. In addition, they received the Barbara Jordan Media Award from the Texas Governor's Office, and the Texas House of Representatives proclaimed March 4, 2003 as Team Everest '03 Day in the State. In a congratulatory letter from the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports, Chairman Lynn Swann encourages all of America to follow the progress of the expedition.

According to Dennis Borel, CTD Executive Director and Team Everest '03 Project Director, the Trek will prove that everyone can truly have the freedom to explore and live productively if only given a chance. "We are going to send a message to the world that there really is unlimited potential to work, play and have a full life if you live with a disability. It is time to shatter the assumptions and discrimination still held by so many. Even as the team leaves on this incredible journey, the Texas Legislature is slashing services that allow many people with disabilities to live successfully in the community," says Borel.

The world's attention will be turned to Everest on the 50th anniversary of the first summit by Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. The Challenge Trek Team of people with diverse disabilities will take 20 days to ascend to Base Camp at 17,500 feet. From there, Guller and a high altitude team will attempt the summit. Weather and conditions permitting, he and his summit team plan to reach the top of the world in early to mid-May.

For more information about Team Everest '03, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, or Gary Guller, please contact Dennis Borel at (512) 478-3366. You can also learn more by visiting the expedition website at

Media Kit and Photos available

Team Everest Contact:
Dennis Borel, Project Director