Erik Weihenmayer: Blind adventurer
Erik Weihenmayer is quite possibly the most fearless man alive. Blind from the age of 13, you might expect Erik to have been somewhat limited by his disability. Not so. In fact, Erik has largely disregarded his blindness, and spent his life overcoming seemingly impossible challenges.
Erik took it easy at first, simply becoming a brilliant wrestler and going on to represent his state in the US National Freestyle Wrestling Championships. After graduating with a Masters in 1993 he became a school teacher, meanwhile dabbling in a bit of rock climbing and trekking. Soon he had summitted Mount McKinley (tallest peak in the USA), then Kilimanjaro (tallest peak in Africa). Then, in 2001, he became the first blind person to climb Mount Everest.
Erik’s pioneering Everest mission is the subject of multi-award-winning documentary, Farther than the Eye Can See. This footage from the film brings it home just what an amazing feat it is for a blind man to climb Everest (watch the full documentary online here):
Since that ascent, he has completed all of the remaining Seven Summits – the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, including Antarctica’s Mount Vinson. He has also led mountaineering expeditions for wounded war veterans and blind Tibetan youths.
But Erik’s achievements are not ‘limited’ to mountaineering. He has also thrown himself into all manner of other sports that should surely require a bit of sight, including cycling, skiing, kayaking, and even paragliding and solo skydiving. Here’s a taste of how on earth a blind man can possibly ski:
Over the years, Erik has inspired many audiences with his unique spirit. Even the corny motivational voiceover and badly matched soundtrack (probably) won’t stop you being inspired by this video:
For more info about Erik’s amazing adventures, books and films, visit his website: TouchTheTop.com