Despite losing his vision at age 13, Erik Weihenmayer has become a celebrated and accomplished athlete. Redefining what it means to be blind, Erik has transformed the image of blindness and opened the minds of people around the world as an athlete, an adventurer and a motivational speaker. He has never allowed his blindness to interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life.
Erik was first introduced to rock climbing at a camp for blind teenagers. At the earliest opportunity, he embarked on a mountaineering career. He gained national and international notice as a climber when he reached the summit of Mount Denali in Alaska—the highest peak in North America at 20,320 feet.
He continued setting new challenges for himself. After climbing the tallest mountains in South America and Africa, he set his sights on Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. On May 25, 2001, Erik stood atop the 29,035-foot peak as the first blind person to summit Everest. On Sept. 5, 2002, at age 34, Erik became one of fewer than 100 individuals to climb all of the Seven Summits—the highest peak on each of the seven continents.
Erik continues to climb today, and more importantly, he demonstrates to others that even a challenge as serious as blindness does not have to be a limitation. He enjoys rock climbing, alpine skiing and whitewater kayaking. He has run marathons, completed adventure races, and was the first blind person to complete the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in Colorado.
A lifelong athlete and a former middle school teacher and wrestling coach, he has accompanied blind and visually impaired teenagers on challenging mountain treks, reaching 21,000 feet on a peak on the north side of Mount Everest—the highest altitude achieved by blind teenagers—and in the Andes. He also works with Soldiers to the Summits to lead disabled military veterans to climb mountains and also to adopt a “no barriers” mindset that lets them move forward with their lives.
Most of all, however, Erik shows the importance of identifying what we want to achieve, and not giving up until we reach our goals.
For more information about Erik and his latest adventures, visit www.touchthetop.com.
Vision. Pass It On!
This billboard about Vision features Erik Weihenmayer; athlete, inspirational speaker.