Local Couple to Scale Mt. Everest for Disabled Athletes - NBC Southern California

Local Couple to Scale Mt. Everest for Disabled Athletes



    Paul and Denise Fejtek are training in the mountains of Southern California for the climb of a lifetime.

    On Easter, they leave for Nepal to begin a two-month trek to the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world.

    Standing at 29,000 feet, Everest is notoriously deadly, with freezing temperatures, avalanches and steep rock faces. Only 30 percent of climbers make the summit. And of those, one in 10 die on the way down.

    "You put a challenge or obstacle like that at such an elevation, where you have one-third the amount of oxygen you have at sea level, along with severe weather conditions, it becomes a true test of it all right there," Paul said.

    Paul will face a special challenge. He has Brachial Plexus Palsy, nerve damage that limits the use of his right shoulder and arm. He's not letting that stop him. He uses a "simple Home Depot coat hook" fashioned into a claw to help climb.

    Paul and Denise are no novices. They have already climbed six of the seven tallest mountains in the world -- all to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, an organization that helps people with disabilities participate in life through athletics.

    They are hoping to raise $290,000, Denise said.

    "If we can be an inspiration to somebody else doing what we're doing, give somebody the motivation to pursue their dreams, to tackle their obstacles, their big mountains, then we feel it will be a huge success," Paul said.

    Paul and Denise will be carrying a banner with the names of their biggest funders to the summit. All along the way, they will be blogging and posting video of their journey through satellite phones.

    You can follow their progress for the next two months through the following websites: