Storytelling with Adventurer, Author, Inspirational Speaker Erik Weihenmayer
Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer has become a celebrated and accomplished athlete despite losing his vision at 13 years old. Shedding the label of "disabled" and redefining what it means to be blind, Erik has transformed the image of blindness and opened up the minds of people around the world.
I realized over time working with this community that challenges, a lot of the profound ones are invisible. - Erik Weihenmayer on working with people with "hidden" disabilities
The Journey of an Adventurer who Happens to be Blind
On May 25, 2001, Erik became the first blind climber in history to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. At the age of 33, he became one of less than 100 individuals to climb all of the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.
I climbed with Mark Wellman, who is a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down, and a guy named Hugh, her who's a double leg amputee... You let go of your ego and come together as a team to do something really incredible. - Erik Weihenmayer
Erik refuses to let blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life and actively seeks opportunities to help others adopt a similar mindset. In 2004, Erik and his Everest teammates led a group of blind Tibetan teenagers to 21,000 feet on the north face of Everest as an educational outreach project. Their journey was documented in the film Blindsight. In 2010, Erik and his Everest team led the first Soldiers to Summits climb to the summit of Lobuche in the Himalayas, a quest documented in the film High Ground.
A former middle school teacher and wrestling coach, Erik is the author of Touch the Top of the World and The Adversity Advantage. He is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the prestigious National Courage Award and the 2002 ESPN ESPY award.
Storytelling to bring a message to life
Erik brings to life stories of the people he serves, with different degrees of abilities and challenges. He knows we all connect through the telling of shared experiences.
I think our brains, through thousands and thousands of years have sort of been programmed to capture the essence of an idea through a story. - Erik Weihenmayer
He tours the country inspiring others while spreading the mission of the No Barriers world.
Why is writing so important to storytelling?
Erik says writing is particularly vital to his storytelling, in order to get the story inside of him, out into the open. He says writing helps to solidify and organize his thoughts, while putting everything out "on paper," so he can get as close to the truth as possible.
When you write it down on paper or like on a computer, you go, oh my God, that's BS... It's not really necessarily as true as it could be. Writing is this incredibly powerful process of making sure that you're getting to as close to your truth as, possible. - Erik Weihenmayer
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