Wednesday, April 28, 2010

LIVE on KNBC News from Base Camp!

Today we had the opportunity to chat with Chuck Henry and Colleen Williams on KNBC's 5pm newscast - which meant an early wake up call for us! It was fun saying hi to Southern California, and we look forward to making another call in a few weeks before we head to the Summit!

Everybody to Everest Team at Base Camp & Live NBC Interview!

Paul & Denise returned to Base Camp from 5 days up at Camp 2 at 21,500 feet to meet the Everybody to Everest Team who all arrived at BC around noon today! All are doing well, the entire E2E team made it to Kala Pattar at 18,500 feet yesterday and enjoyed the great views of Everest BC and the Khumbu Icefall.

Other exciting news, tune in to KNBC News for a LIVE interview via satellite phone TONIGHT (Wednesday 5:00 pm news local Southern California). Segment will likely air between 5:30 - 5:45 pm.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hello From Camp 2!

We've made it to Camp 2 and will be heading back to Base Camp soon to say hello to the rest of our Everybody to Everest group! Press play to hear all about it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Latest Happenings at Base Camp

A brief update on our last 5 days here at Base Camp at 17,600 feet. It's much easier for us to breathe now than when we first walked into "town". We've spent some time in the lower part of the Khumbu Icefall practicing our ice climbing and rope skills and feel good & ready to tackle the big crevasses and ladders that are already set up through this ice labyrinth!

In the Sherpa culture, an important prerequisite before entering this dangerous place, is to hold a Puja ceremony. This 1/2 day ritual was completed today and consisted of making offerings to Sagamartha (Mt. Everest) Mother Goddess of the Earth, in addition to blessing our entire team's ice axes, crampons, and climbing harnesses. With the Puja now complete we are ready to enter the Khumbu Icefall and climb up to Camp 1 at 20,000 feet. We plan to begin this next major step of our journey on Friday the 23rd, very early in the morning while the icefall is at its coldest and least susceptible to collapses & avalanches. Avalanches are quite frequent here and it is not uncommon to experience four or so during the day like the one pictured here taken from the door of our tent. Our camp is situated a safe distance away from these avalanches although we did get blanketed by a layer of snow from one last night.

Well, that's the latest from Paul & Denise at Base Camp. If you would like a sneak peak of the camps ahead, please visit our website here: and click on the map for descriptions. Also, since we last left you, our Everybody to Everest Team flew into Lukla on schedule (with their guide Heidi Kloos watching over from the heavens above) and all 23 members are now in Namche Bazaar. If you would like to see their path to Base Camp, their itinerary and separate blog can be found here:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Base Camp & Tribute to Heidi Kloos

We have two exciting developments to share with you. First of all, we made it to Base Camp! Over the past few days we progressed to the village of Lobuche and then through Gorak Shep and on to Everest Base Camp at 17,600 feet. Arriving in this tent city built atop a moving glacier is a fascinating site. We estimate that there are about 200 climbers here who will attempt the summit plus 300-400 Sherpas and support staff. The magnitude of our expedition's camp, food & supplies, communications equipment, tents, and staff of 20 Sherpas will take your breath away. And believe us just walking around or bending over to tie your shoes at this altitude will leave you gasping for air!

The second major development we have for you is the anticipated arrival of the 23 members of our Everybody to Everest group in to Kathmandu within a few hours. This wonderful & supportive group of friends & family will soon be following the path we just hiked from Lukla all the way up here to meet us at Base Camp.

Unfortunately their guide, Heidi Kloos will not be accompanying them on this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Heidi was very much looking forward to meeting the Everybody to Everest team and leading them through their Himalayan adventure. Quite tragically Heidi was killed in an avalanche near her home in Colorado just a few weeks ago. However, Heidi will be guiding the Everybody to Everest team from above as they make their way to Base Camp and enjoy the majestic beauty of the Himalayas in her honor.

Heidi was actively involved with the Telluride Adaptive Ski Program helping disabled individuals learn to ski with specialized equipment - equipment that frequently is funded by the Challenged Athletes Foundation. It was no coincidence that Mountain Trip selected Heidi to lead our group that is raising funds for CAF. In memory of Heidi Kloos we would like to honor something she believed in so strongly, and dedicate every additional donation made to CAF in her name. Upon our return from Everest we will send a letter to Heidi's family acknowledging any donations you are kind enough to make. Even if you have already contributed to CAF please consider an additional contribution of any amount at all as a symbolic gesture to an individual with a passion for helping others, but who is no longer able to do so.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blessings from the Lama

Since we last left you, we have gained 3,000 feet in altitude and the all-important blessings from the High Lama Gesche of Pengboche. He presented us with ceremonial Kata scarfs which symbolize good luck and safe passage up the slopes of Mt. Everest. Here we are at the Tengboche Monastery, the largest monastery in all of Nepal and prior to our ritual blessing by the Lama:

A German trekker apparently did not receive these blessings and found herself in very serious condition afflicted by HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema). If it wasn't for her good fortune to stumble in to our lodge which we shared with a group of doctors, she may not have been as lucky to have the benefit of a Gamow Bag. This pressurized inflatable chamber where she slept inside for the night, simulates a much lower altitude and very likely saved her life.
After spending a night at Debuche at approx. 12,300 feet we continued up to Dingboche yesterday at 14,250 feet. We are staying here at the Snow Lion Lodge which has magnificent views of Lhotse, Island Peak, and Ama Dablam. ...all from the window of our own private bungalow! (Being the only couple on the expedition has its fringe benefits). We had our first snowfall last night and woke up to sunshine, blue skies, and a pristine white blanket covering the entire valley.
We plan to stay here another two nights to aid in the acclimatization process, and prevent any Gamow Bag incidents. :) Pictured here with us are Temba Sherpa (red hat) and Wang Chuk Sherpa (blue hat). We are very fortunate to have these two hearty and personable guys accompany us on our expedition!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hey, is that really Everest?

Greetings from the bustling Sherpa Village of Namche Bazaar at 11,300 feet in the Solu Khumbu Valley! Getting here was quite the experience beginning with an exciting landing at the Lukla airport at 9,350 feet on Thursday April 8th. This is a notoriously scary landing strip carved into the mountainside at a very steep angle and it's only 1,500 feet long! We had the added fun of strong cross wind gusts just as we touched down aircraft-carrier style. Next, we hit the trail and passed by terraced-fields and quaint Sherpa homes nestled in the hillsides with views of majestic Himalayan peaks towering above. We spent our first night in the village of Phakding and the next morning we continued onward and upward to Namche Bazaar.
After a good meal and sleep we awoke this morning to spend an acclimatization day here in Namche. We decided to hike up above the village to 12,600 feet where we were able to get our first sighting of THE mighty Everest!

Chatting with some of the local Sherpas we heard rumor that Brad Pitt is actually here right now as well. Evidently he must have found out the Fejteks are on the mountain and decided to follow along because all the cool people are climbing Everest. Speaking of which here is our cool Mountain Trip Expedition Team:

Pictured from left to right are Scott Woolums, Bill Allen, Ania Lichota, Cindy Abbott, Vivian Rigney and us. A brief summary of each was listed in a prior post entitled, "So Here's The Plan". ...and on that note, we plan to pack our bags and head higher up to Tengboche tomorrow morning. We hope all of you are well back home and will check back in with you in a few days.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Let's Get It Started Now

Greetings from Kathmandu, Nepal! After flying for 22 hours we arrived at the famous Yak & Yeti Hotel yesterday with all of our gear (whew!). Lengendary mountaineers Edmund Hillary, Rob Hall, Scott Fischer, Ed Visteurs (to name a few) have all stayed at this hotel so there is truly a magical feeling walking around the grounds. We had a team meeting last night and will visit a few temples here before we fly up to the mountainside village of Lukla tomorrow in order to begin our trek to Base Camp.

The video below has, up until now, only been available to paying audiences attending select fundraising events benefitting the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Fortunately these guests did not pay merely to watch this performance, otherwise numerous refunds would have been requested. Nonetheless, as we make final preparations loading gear and supplies and get ready to begin our very, very long-awaited journey into the Himalayas - it is only appropriate to sing ..."Let's Get it Started Now!"

Thank you again to Everybody to Everest team members Julie Hoppe and Tina Pauley for organizing separate fundraising events in which your invited guests were subjected to this WAY off-Broadway performance. And another thank you to all of the 23 members of the Everbody to Everest Team profiled at and also listed below in "ranked" order by greatest amuonts raised for CAF. Together we have raised $92,513 for a great organization and appreciate each & every one of you who have contributed to the cause!

Karen Robinson
Stacie Fejtek
Tina Pauley
Greg Hancock
Colin Campbell
Mike McCarthy
Sara Neilson
Rod Evans
Shawn Sedlacek
Julie Hoppe
Camille Attell
Caryn Kralovansky
Bryce Cripe
Branden Rubasky
Jeff Roberts
Nancy Wallace
Cory Markin
Jaymen Greenslade
Fritz Wickman
Lou Alvarado
BJ Wahl
Edgars Gulbis
Dace Sprukte

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Look Mom, we're on TV!

NBC 5:00 News on Thursday night with Dr. Bruce Hensel featured an "Inspirational Journey" highlighting the Challenged Athletes Foundation and yours truly, blogmasters Paul & Denise! We are heading to Mom's house for Easter Sunday and then straight to LAX to catch our flight to Kathmandu! Enjoy the video and if you haven't already subscribed to our blog, make sure you do because the next post will feature another video that you absolutely won't want to miss! (click on screen 2nd time to see larger view)

Special thanks to our longtime friend Cindy Bertram for arranging this great media coverage! Speaking of which, LOOK MOM! ...we're also on the huge billboard in Times Square in New York!! It just goes to show that you don't have to be all that special to get this kind of publicity, you just need to have a very special publicist!

In case you can't read the print on the billboard it says; "Paul Fejtek, with wife Denise, to climb Mt. Everest" I guess that's what we better go do!