The roar of an avalanche splits the icy darkness, answered by a tinny din from the phone. Forty-five fifth-graders back in Texas are screaming in delight that a real mountaineer would share such an adventure with them from the top of the world.
The 36-year-old climber flashes a grin, delighted at more converts to his passion and his cause: The freedom to explore should be open to anyone, and there's nowhere better to prove it than the highest of his beloved mountains of Nepal.
"It doesn't take a lot of money, a lot of material things. It's people willing to get out and make the effort, being willing to work together and help and try," he said. "Even if it's going only 50 meters. Sometimes just one meter is enough. Sometimes, all it takes is getting off the couch."
The Austin resident took a team of people with disabilities to Everest's base camp this spring to prove just that, and he's now poised to take his message to its summit.
Joined by two other American climbers and a small team of Nepalese Sherpas, Mr. Guller hopes to stand on the peak of the 29,035-foot mountain in the next few weeks. If successful, he would be the first person with one arm to reach the top of Everest.
It would complete an odyssey that began at age 12, when he was captivated by a photo of a snow-rimmed peak on the trail to Everest. "I thought, 'One day, I'd like to see that. One day, I will,' " he said.
He roped up for his first rock climb the next year....