Showing posts with label Erik Weihenmayer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Erik Weihenmayer. Show all posts

Blind Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer Scales El Cap in a Day

Just when we think we've seen it all from blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, he comes up with new ways to surprise us. Yesterday, we learned that he not only managed to climb the iconic El Capitan in Yosemite, but he did so in under 24 hours, an impressive accomplishment with or without sight.

Climbing with some of the sport's biggest names – including Hans Florine, Timmy O’Neill, Geoff Tabin, and Charley Mace, Weihenmayer went up the East Buttress route. While that is the shortest path to the top of the famous wall, it still involves 11 pitches and 1500 feet of climbing. He told National Geographic  “I wanted something I could free climb, and the length of East Buttress made me feel somewhat confident that I could do it in a day.” That turned out to not be a problem at all, as the squad finished the route in about 8 hours, even passing another team along the way.

This is just the latest in a series of impressive accomplishments by Weihenmayer. His resume also includes a successful climb up Mt. Everest – along with the rest of the seven summits – and a descent of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon by kayak. Over the years he has climbed numerous mountains, competed in adventure races, mountain biked some tough trails, and generally did a number of very adventurous things that even those of us with full use of our eyes would be lucky to do. He has also served as an inspiration for millions around the world, who have seen the boundaries of what a blind person can accomplish redefined again and again.

This isn't even the first time Weihenmayer has climbed El Cap. He did it 20 years ago with Florine as well. But that time they went up The Nose route, taking four days to complete the 32-pitch, 3000-foot wall. This is the first time any blind climber has knocked off El Cap in a single day however, which is pretty much the mark that all climbers are looking for when they take on the massive wall.

At the top of the East Buttress, the team was met by friends who had cold beer and snacks waiting. It didn't take long for Erik to start talking about his next Yosemite climbing adventure, with Florine chiming in that they should try The Nose again, but this time do it in a day as well. Perhaps that will be the next major challenge for Weihenmayer to undertake. We'll just have to wait to see how he surprises us next.

Forbes Interviews Blind Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer

It is always a good thing when someone from the world of outdoor adventure gets a bit of mainstream press. It is even better when that someone is as inspiring at Erik Weihenmayer, the blind adventurer who has competed in endurance racing events, gone mountain biking, paddled the length of the Grand Canyon, and reached the summit of Mt. Everest. To say that Erik is a great source of motivation and inspiration would be an understatement.

Recently, Forbes magazine sat down with the mountaineer to talk shop, and they discussed everything from his previous life as a middle school teacher and wrestling coach, to how he prepares mentally and physically for his adventures. Erik also touches on the technologies that have helped him to achieve his goals, how he "sees" the world around him, and how he mitigates risk in the backcountry.

Weihenmayer also talks about his next adventure, which will take him climbing again with his No Barriers organization. The foundation works with injured U.S. servicemen, and helps them to regain confidence and strength by organizing an expedition to the mountains. The team will train in Colorado throughout the summer of 2016, before heading to Gannet Peak (13,809 ft/4208 m) in Wyoming.

If you'd like to know more about Erik, check out his personal website and be sure to read his book, Touch the Top of the World, which chronicles his attempt to become the first blind person to summit Everest. I'm sure you'll find both very inspirational.

Blind Kayakers Wrap Up Grand Canyon Paddle (With Video)

A few weeks back, I posted a story about blind adventurers Erik Weihenmayer and Lonnie Bedwell launching their bid to paddle the length of the Grand Canyon. At the time, the two men – along with their support team – were just preparing to embark on their expedition, which was expected to take about three weeks to complete, covering the entire 277-mile (445 km) stretch of the Colorado River. Earlier this week, they wrapped up that incredible journey, both both Erik and Lonnie paddling the challenging stretch of water.

The treacherous whitewater found inside the Grand Canyon can be difficult to run even for those who have the ability to see the river. For these two blind kayakers, it must have been both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Both trained diligently for the trip, and had lots of experience on other rivers, but their accomplishment is impressive and inspiring none the less.

For Erik, this is just another big adventure that has allowed him to remind the rest of us just what we can accomplish in life, no matter what barriers are thrown up in front of us. As you probably already know, Weihenmayer is the first, and only, blind person to summit Everest. He has also climbed the other Seven Summits, ridden his bike across Vietnam, competed in adventure races, gone backcountry skiing, and more.

Lonnie has a similarly inspiring story. He was Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard submarines. He lost his sight due to a hunting accident, but took some time before he started pursuing adventures of his own. Bewell eventually taught himself how to kayak on a lake on his Indian farm, before he started paddling rivers. In 2013, he made a descent of the Colorado in the Grand Canyon as part of team of military veterans.


The team has left the Grand Canyon and are all on their way home now, their mission a success. Congratulations to everyone who took part in this endeavor. It will certainly serve as an inspiration to others for a long time.

To get a better sense of what the journey was like, read the expedition dispatches at KayakingBlind.org. Then, check out the video below, which highlights some of the whitewater they encountered along the way.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition White Water Highlights from Erik Weihenmayer on Vimeo.

Blind Adventurers Launch Grand Canyon Paddling Expedition

A team of kayakers that includes two blind adventurers has launched an expedition to paddle the length of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The journey will take them down 277 miles (445 km) filled with some of the most challenging and iconic rapids in all of North America. The Canyon's unpredictable whitewater can make for a wild ride for paddlers who have perfect vision, but for the two men on this journey who lack sight, it will be a completely different experience altogether.

The two blind paddlers are Erik Weihenmayer and Lonnie Bedwell. Weihenmayer's name is no doubt familiar to Adventure Blog readers, as we have been following his preparation for this trip for some time. He is no stranger to outdoor adventure having staked claim to being the first – and only – blind person to ever climb Mt. Everest. Erik's adventures have also taken him to the top of the other Seven Summits, on a cycling journey across Vietnam, and mountain biking and skiing in various locations, amongst other pursuits. Bedwell is a former Navy Petty Officer and submariner who lost his sight in a hunting accident. He too continues his favorite outdoor pursuits, and has already paddled the length of the Grand Canyon in the past. His experience will be helpful to the entire team.

Joining Erik and Lonnine on this journey will be kayakers Seth Dahl, Chris Drew, Steven Mace, Timmy O'Neill, Rob Raker, and Harlan Taney. Each of them has a great deal of paddling experience that will prove invaluable to the expedition as well. The entire journey is being filmed by a production company too.

The team, which consists of nine paddlers, launched from Lee's Ferry yesterday, and will now spend the better part of the next three weeks descending the river. They are attempting this excursion to not only continue to show what visually impaired people can accomplish, but to also inspire others to take on the biggest challenges in their life as well. You can follow their progress at KayakingBlind.org. Good luck to Erik, Lonnie, and the entire squad.

Kayaking Blind Grand Canyon Teaser from Erik Weihenmayer on Vimeo.