In 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the only blind person in history to reach the summit of Mount Everest. In 2008, he completed his quest to climb the Seven Summits—the highest mountain on each continent—when he stood on top of Carstensz Pyramid, the tallest peak in Australasia.
Additionally, he has ascended dozens of major peaks, rock walls,and ice climbs around the planet. These include the first blind ascent of the 3,000-foot Nose of El Capitan in Yosemite, a difficult alpine climb of spectacular Alpamayo in Peru, and an ascent of a rarely-climbed 3,000-foot frozen waterfall in Nepal.
In September 2014, Erik and blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, kayaked the entire 277-miles of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, considered one of the most formidable whitewater venues in the world. Erik and Lonnie used the platform of their journey to encourage thousands of followers to take the No Barriers Pledge, a commitment to live a No Barriers Life.
Erik is one of the most sought after speakers in the world. Despite losing his vision at age 13, Erik has become an accomplished climber, paraglider, skier, and kayaker who has never let blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life. Clearly, his accomplishments demonstrate that one does not need to have perfect eyesight to have extraordinary vision.
Erik brings audiences a powerful message about harnessing the power of adversity to use it as fuel for greatness. He emphasizes the importance of building a strong “rope team” and illuminates how to develop a No Barriers Mindset.
Erik’s speaking career has taken him around the globe, from the 2005 APEC Summit in Chile to the 2009 Presidential Inaugural celebration in Washington DC. The last few years, Erik spoke to major companies in London, Dublin, Moscow, Berlin, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Abu Dhabi as well as across the United States. He has shared speaking platforms with luminaries such as Secretary Colin Powell, President Bill Clinton, and Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Books, Media and Films
In addition to being a renowned adventurer and speaker, Erik is also the author of the book, Touch the Top of the World, which has been published in twelve languages. The book was made into an A&E movie and released on DVD by Sony.
Erik’s second book, The Adversity Advantage: Turning Everyday Struggles Into Everyday Greatness, shares hard-earned lessons and practical advice for using adversity as fuel for growth and innovation.
Erik’s adventures have earned him dozens of awards, magazine covers, and TV appearances. He’s received the ESPY, Nike’s Casey Martin award, and the Helen Keller Lifetime Achievement award. He’s appeared on NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News multiple times, Oprah, Good Morning America, Nightline, and the Tonight Show. He was featured on the cover of Time, Outside, Parade and Climbing magazines. Erik has also carried torches for both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
Farther Than the Eye Can See, the documentary of his Everest ascent, is ranked by Men’s Journal as one of the top 20 adventure films of all time. The film won first prize at 21 international film festivals and was nominated for two Emmy awards. In 2004, Erik and six Everest team members trained a group of blind Tibetan students and then led them to 21,500 feet on the north side of Everest. Blindsight, the documentary of the ascent, won People’s Choice Awards at the Los Angeles, London, and Berlin Film Festivals, and was released in theaters in 2007 to major accolades from film critics.
Most recently, Erik was featured in the award-winning film, High Ground, which was released in 2012. This powerful movie documents a team of injured veterans, led by Erik and his Everest team, as they embark on a Himalayan climbing expedition, and along the trail struggle to heal mentally and spiritually from the devastating wounds of war.