No Barriers Life Elements: A Story of the 2015 No Barriers Summit

At this year’s No Barriers Summit, we encouraged attendees to engage in various events and activities by earning pins that represent each of the key elements of the No Barriers Life. I like to think of these elements as a map that helps each of us take on our challenges, no matter what they are, and live a life of meaning and purpose. Life Element 1: Vision - Define a purpose that inspires you to give your best back to the world.  It is difficult to fully appreciate the recent No Barriers Summit without looking back at how far we have come.

Telluride to Moab - Noah CrankFest

Our weeklong mountain bike ride from Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah was a fulfilling adventure, especially with so many good friends and a great cause to get behind.  I’m excited to report that Noah Blue Elk Hotchkiss, age 16, finished all 215 miles under the power of his arms and with the support of an awesome team. Five years ago, Noah was in a car accident that paralyzed him from the waist down, but he has converted this tragedy into personal growth. Noah is a leader in his hometown of Durango and the Native Americans with disabilities community.

Summer PB&J's

A few weeks ago, Momot Elementary in Plattsburgh, NY had their very first No Barriers Day with their 4th and 5th graders. No Barriers Day is a one-day event where students learn about developing a No Barriers Mindset to tackle the barriers that they will inevitably face.

Mt Huntington - 50 Hours

I'm just back from our Mt. Huntington climb. Despite only being 12,241 feet high, Mt. Huntington is a majestic pyramid of snow and rock, steep on all sides, with no easy way up. I’ve heard climbers call it one of the prizes of the Alaska Range. The West Face comprises a huge, El Capitan-size granite face, yet sneaking through it is a steep ice Couloir (a vertical gulley). Mt. Huntington's West Face Photo Credit: Mike Gibbs

Lafayette College Commencement 2015

On Saturday, May 23rd, I had the privilege of delivering the commencement speech to the graduating class of 2015 at Lafayette College. The commencement ceremony was a huge success and I owe a great deal of thanks to President Alison Byerly, Marie Enea, and Jim Krivoski, for their warm hospitality.   Lafayette Commencement 2015 from Erik Weihenmayer

Mayflower Gulch Training Day

As I plan for my Mt. Huntington ascent, I’m training for the long hard days that are typical for big Alaska climbs. It’s important to mix up cardio, strength and just being outside on your feet all day. Backcountry skiing last week at Mayflower Gulch between Copper Mountain and Leadville provided the perfect setting. Timmy O’Neill described it as a “cathedral of gendarmes plastered with late season snow.” Deep in the cirque, I could hear the echo of the ridgeline standing out against the immensity of the sky.

Cannon School takes No Barriers Pledge

I had a great time today chatting with middle school students at the Cannon School in Concord, NC. I met one of their teachers, Leigh Northrup, when I was kayak training at the US National Whitewater Center. Leigh and the other teachers have been working with their students on the Touch The Top Curriculum that I developed to help my story come to life in the classroom.

The Way to See Hoover Dam

As I mentioned, my Pure Insurance talk fell at the same time as my kids’ spring break, so we decided to bring them for a Vegas adventure trip. Vegas isn’t known for being kid-friendly or for outdoor experiences. However, you can find mini-adventures everywhere. Although the Hoover Dam is controversial for damaging the Colorado River, one of the most beautiful and fragile rivers in North America, I still thought it would be interesting to check it out. No matter what your opinion, it’s a pretty impressive feat of construction.

Climbing, Kayaking, and Eating in Taiwan

Just back from a work/play trip to Taiwan and for anyone who has never been, like me, I just assumed it was a flat tropical island. I could not have been more wrong. Taiwan turned out to be a rugged but verdant paradise not to be believed. Massive peaks rise to nearly 13,000 feet nearly straight out of the South China Sea. As a narrow island, on clear days from these summits you can see both the Taiwanese Strait and the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. However, the real gems are the people.

Kilimanjaro Blind Trust Changing Lives in East Africa

When a group of friends and I joined together to form Kilimanjaro Blind Trust in 2005, we hoped to increase access to basic equipment that would allow blind and visually impaired children in East Africa to live a more purposeful life. None of us anticipated how the organization’s reach would explode within the first decade of its existence. It is beyond thrilling to be able to report just how big of an influence they have had on the education of thousands of young people in East Africa.

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