Saturday, October 11, 2008
First year students to hear author-climber Weihenmayer on Mon, Oct 13
On May 25, 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the only blind man in history to reach the summit of the world's highest peak - Mount Everest. And on September 5, 2002, when he stood on top of Mt. Kosciusko in Australia, Weihenmayer completed his 7-year quest to climb the Seven Summits - the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, joining only 100 mountaineers who have accomplished that feat. At age 33, he was also one of the youngest. Additionally, he has scaled El Capitan, a 3300-foot overhanging rock wall in Yosemite; Polar Circus, a 3000-foot ice waterfall in The Canadian Rockies; and a difficult and rarely climbed rock face on 17,000-foot Mt. Kenya.
In September, 2003, Erik joined 320 stellar athletes from 17 countries to compete in the Primal Quest, the richest and toughest multi-sport adventure race in the world: 457 miles through the Sierra Nevada's, nine days, sixty thousand feet of elevation gain, and no time-outs. Averaging only two hours of sleep a night, Erik and his team surged past the finish line on Lake Tahoe, becoming one of the 42 teams to cross the finish line out of the 80 teams that began.
After Erik's Mt. Everest ascent, Braille Without Borders, a school for the blind in Tibet, invited him to teach its students mountaineering and rock climbing. His many climbs gave the teenagers the courage to excel in a culture which affords few opportunities for the blind. Erik and six Everest team members went to Tibet in May 2004 to train the students, then in October led them on a climb to the Rombuk Glacier on the north side of Mt. Everest. Once seen as pariahs, the teenagers ultimately stood together at 21,500-feet., higher than any team of blind people in history.
Steven Haft, producer of such blockbusters as Dead Poets' Society, made a documentary on the ascent which opened to standing ovations at the Toronto, L.A., and London Film Festivals. The film will be released theatrically in spring of 2007.
More at Touchthetop.com.