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
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 www.teameverest03.org.
Media Kit and Photos available
Team Everest Contact:
Dennis Borel, Project Director