This is the incredible story of world-class climber Erik Weihenmayer. Beginning from the diagnosis that foretold his loss of eyesight, to his dream to climb mountains and finally to be one of a select group of climbers who have climbed the seven summits and touched the top of the world.
Erik, born with retinoscheses, was completely blind by the age of 13 due to glaucoma.
He speaks movingly of the role his family played in breaking through the barriers of blindness: his mother, who prayed for the miracle that would restore his son’s sight and his father, who encouraged him to strive for that unreachable peak. Erik recalls his struggles to push past the limits placed before him, by the seeing world as much as by his blindness.
What is most inspiring about his achievements is that at the age of 33, Erik completed his quest to conquer each of the seven summits - the highest peaks of all the continents. And by doing so he joined a club of only 100 mountaineers who have accomplished that feat.
In May 2001 Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind man to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain: Mount Everest. Just four months later he stood on top of Mount Kosciusko in Australia. Additionally, he has scaled El Capitan a 3,300-foot over-hanging rock wall in the Yosemite National Park in the U.S. and Polar Circus a 3,000-foot ice waterfall in the Canadian Rockies.
Erik’s undaunted spirit of adventure and courage to excel, in a culture which affords very few opportunities for the blind, won him much acclaim. He won the ESPN's ESPY award for the Best Athlete with a Disability in 2002, appeared on the cover of Time magazine in June 2001 following his Everest success, and appeared in popular US television shows of Oprah, Good Morning America. He has been honoured with the Helen Keller lifetime achievement award, and the Freedom foundation Free Spirit award. He has also carried the Olympic Torch in both summer and winter games.
Erik is also a motivational speaker and his corporate clients include Google, Procter and Gamble, Cisco Systems, IBM, AT and T, General Electric, AOL and Microsoft. Erik has shared the speaking platform with notables like U.S. President George Bush, Mayor Rudy Guiliani, General Norman Schwarzkopf, and authors Tom Peters and Stephen Covey.
Steven Haft, a Hollywood producer, is making a documentary Ascent to be released in the spring of 2006. This film will go a long way towards changing the myth regarding disabled people throughout the world.
Despite losing his sight at the age of 13, Erik has never let his blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life. He is also a happily married man and has a four-year-old daughter.
Erik Weihenmayer continues to live an adventurous life and sets a living example to prove that you need not have perfect sight to have an extraordinary vision.