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Start the Presses: Reaching the summit of achievement

January 22, 2012|By Dan Evans

Sometimes, just sometimes, you run across people who refuse to let anything stop them.

Take, for instance, Paul Fejtek and his wife Denise. The two recently climbed Mt. Everest despite the fact that Paul has full use of only one hand. The 1988 Hoover High graduate was born with Brachial Plexus Palsy, a disorder resulting from nerve damage.

The two live in Newport Beach, but will be returning to their hometown Wednesday to talk about a book they wrote about their experiences called “Steps to the Summit.” The talk is at 7 p.m. at the Glendale Central Library.

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For the Record: 

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that all proceeds from the book "Steps to the Summit" would be donated to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Instead, all profits from the book will be donated.
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The 2010 climb was the final stop in their quest to climb the highest peaks on each of the globe's continents — fittingly called the Seven Summits Quest. The couple have raised $114,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation as part of the quest, doubling up their adventures with philanthropy.

Fejtek said all profits from the book will also go to the foundation, which organizes events and provides grants, among other things, to athletes either born with disabilities or caused by disease, violence or war. More info on the book can be found here: http://StepsToTheSummit.com.

Now, I've twice climbed Half Dome in Yosemite, which is an exhausting experience, but hardly mountain climbing. Frankly, it's a longish hike, requiring no more than a good supply of water and a few granola bars. I also have full use of all of my extremities, and my health.

Everest, frankly, just sounds way too cold, too high, too much. I tend to like my vacations with beaches and rum-based cocktails.

Yeah, I would be a mess up there. Fejtek said the climb was breathtakingly cold, perhaps even more so than the one he and Denise completed immediately before — the Vinson Massif in Antarctica.

“It was a good prep for the 30 below zero we would experience,” he said, referring to a temperature that has remained — and hopefully will remain — completely theoretical to me.

“Was that Celsius or Fahrenheit?” I asked.

“Funny thing,” Fejtek responded, “at 40 below the two match up. Basically, at 30 below, it doesn't matter any more.”

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