Cal student preps to make historic trek in wheelchair

A University of California at Berkeley student this month is aiming to become the first person in a wheelchair known to trek through three iconic routes in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.

Alvaro Silberstein is on his way to Patagonia where he will start his trek on Dec. 18. Silberstein is a Master of Business Administration student and a native of Santiago, Chile.

From Dec. 18 to the 24th, Silberstein will try to traverse one route to the Mirador Base de las Torres, another to Refugio Los Cuernos and a third to Grey Lake.

He has assembled a team of 12 including mountaineers, disabilities experts, a fellow MBA student, a physical therapist, a filmmaker and photographers, according to university officials.

Silberstein will be making the trip in a trekking wheelchair, which he raised $8,000 to buy. Others have used the same wheelchair model to trek to Mt. Everest’s basecamp, university officials said.

His crew will use the wheelchair’s handles and ropes to carry him up and down steep slopes. He plans to give the wheelchair to the park when he is finished.

Silberstein said in a statement:

“We want to raise awareness, and increase visibility of people with disabilities – people who are active, who have challenges, and live life to the fullest.”

Silberstein has been training for nearly a year in the No Limits program at UC Berkeley. He’s calling the expedition Wheel the World.

Watch a video of Silberstein and his preparation or follow his trek on Facebook.