An expedition from the Puteshestvie [Travelling] club lead by famous Russian traveller Dmitry Shparo will head for Mt. McKenley, North America's highest peak, on May 20, 2002. As Shparo himself told journalists, it would be a ten-member team of alpinists, among them Grigory Tsarkov from Kumertau, Bashkiria, and Igor Ushakov from Kursk, both physically disabled. 'The aim of this McKenley ascent is to demonstrate that all the team members have equal opportunities,' he added. The ascent is sponsored by the Dialogue Optima bank and Aeroflot contributed with Moscow-Seattle round trip tickets. As for the alpinists' safety Shparo assured that the US ranger service would provide regular air-born monitoring. The expedition members would have two mobile phones that would keep them in touch with their families and rescue teams, if need be. Subject to weather conditions, the ascent is to last from 40 to 50 days. When seeing the alpinists off, Bashkiria's President Murtazar Rakhimov handed Tsarkov the republic's flag that is to be planted down on Mt. McKenley's summit. Bashkiria allocated 5,000 for the expedition. Tsarkov and Ushakov will become the first wheel-chair disabled to conquer the 6,200 m peak.
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