DB 078: Erik Weihenmayer, The 1st Blind Person To Summit Mt Everest, On Living A “No Barriers” Life

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Erik Weihenmayer lost his vision by the age of 13, but he resisted the idea that blindness would sweep him to the sidelines of life. He established himself as a formidable wrestler in high school, representing his home state of Connecticut in the National Junior Freestyle Wrestling Championship in Iowa. As a teenager, he also discovered rock climbing and a natural dexterity for the tactile aspects of scanning the rock with his hands and feet for holds.

He became the only blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest on May 25, 2001. In 2008 he climbed Carstensz Pyramid on the island of Papua New Guinea, completing the Seven Summits, the highest point on every continent.  This accomplishment closed the circuit on a 13-year journey that had begun with his 1995 ascent of Denali.

Erik also co-founded a movement called No Barriers. The mission is to help people with challenges, all of us to some extent, to turn into the storm of life, face barriers head on, embrace a pioneering and innovative spirit and team up with great people to live rich in meaning and purpose. The motto is “what’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.” To this aim, Erik continues to challenge himself to live a No Barriers Life and, in September 2014, he kayaked the entire 277-miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.


  • When Erik lost his vision, and how he reacted to it when it happened.
  • How wrestling in high school and being a part of the wrestling team helped him gain his confidence back.
  • How Erik discovered his love for rock climbing and how that turned from a hobby into a quest to conquer the world’s tallest peaks.
  • How Erik trained to climb Mount Everest.
  • How Erik felt when he reached the top of Mount Everest.
  • How Erik deals with barriers that come his way.
  • Erik shares some of his daily rituals.
  • Erik’s proudest moment in life so far.
  • Erik’s advice to his 8-year old self.
  • Erik’s BIG DREAM for the future.



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