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.

If It Were 60 Degrees Warmer, It'd Be Freezing Out Here!

Mt. Katahdin, the highest point in Maine and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, rises dramatically above the surrounding lowland lake country. Named by the Penobscot tribe, it means “The Greatest Mountain.”  A New England classic, Katahdin has been on my tick list for a long time, and especially as a winter mountaineering ascent. So I enlisted a few buddies: my colleague - Skyler Williams, long time friend - Bob Vilter from CT, Charley Mace - who has been with me to summits around the world, and our local guide and cold-weather expert  - Dick Chasse. 

Erik and The Ribbon, Round 4

Warm sunny weather drew my good friend Rob Raker and me back to the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado to try and knock off some of the classic climbs that have eluded me over the years. The first, Ames Ice Hose, is infamous among climbers, and located just off the road to Ophir, outside of Telluride. I’ve been skunked several times by bad conditions and competing parties of climbers, so we left at 5:00 am to make sure we were the first ones there. Arriving to an empty parking lot, we breathed a sigh of relief at having the area to ourselves for the time being.

You Are the Wind Beneath My Climb

The flatirons that sit above Boulder, Colorado are one of the most iconic images of the Colorado Front Range. They are also one of my favorite places for rock climbing. A absolute classic, the First Flatiron is perched above the world-famous Chautauqua Park, and rumor has it that there are killer views at the top. A couple of my very talented climbing buddies, Charley Mace and Timmy O’Neill, joined me for a little adventure a few weeks ago.

Freedom Fidos

Some of you are familiar with my involvement in No Barriers Warriors, formerly Soldiers to Summits. It is exciting to report news that makes us all proud and reflects so highly on the program. Matt Burgess was on our second program when we climbed 19,347' Cotopaxi in Ecuador. It’s safe to say that Matt struggled throughout that trip physically and mentally, but he reached the summit and says the experience was a catalyst to transformation. 

2015 No Barriers Summit Registration Is Open!

The 2015 No Barriers USA Summit Registration is open! This year it will be in Park City, UT on July 9-12, 2015. 

Three Times Not the Charm

Climbing a mountain is always uncertain, and the summit is never guaranteed. You prepare by picking a great team, training hard, and having a smart plan based on good, conservative decisions. No matter how good your preparation, however, the mountains have a way of showing you they are in charge.

2015 Leading the Way Programs

Leading the Way is a program I helped No Barriers USA start almost a decade ago. I love seeing it grow and blossom. Our first few trips were to the Peruvian Andes, and we expanded to other amazing parts of the world like the Amazon and the Grand Canyon.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Lonnie Bedwell

Lonnie Bedwell, a former Navy Petty Officer and submariner, was injured in a hunting accident that took his sight instantly. After raising his family, 13 years later, he was introduced to adaptive sports, learning to kayak by doing hundreds of rolls in the pond on his Indiana farm. Lonnie enjoys the wilderness to its fullest, fishing and hunting with his daughters on a regular basis. He joined the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition to emphasize the importance of supporting our veterans on their journey home.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Harlan Taney

Harlan Taney has made a life of adventuring around the globe. He has kayaked exotic rivers from China to Norway, South America to New Zealand. For the last 18 years, Harlan has spent his summers as a Grand Canyon river guide amassing somewhere in the ballpark of 160 trips down the “Big Ditch.” He has joined Erik for adventures from Mexico and Peru to the Salmon River in Idaho. Harlan served as Erik’s primary guide on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition. When he is not guiding, Harlan runs his own production management company, 4 Corner Film Logistics.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Skyler Williams

Skyler Williams has spent the last 6 years working with Erik and managing his speaking business, Touch The Top. He started kayaking, at first to train with Erik, but over the last several years, after lots of rolls and several swims has developed his own passion and enjoyment of the sport. He has coordinated and joined expeditions to Mexico, Peru, Idaho, Utah and the Grand Canyon. Skyler served as a guide, safety boater, producer and general ring leader of the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Timmy O'Neill

Although best known for his climbing exploits and comedic personality, Timmy O’Neill cut his adventure teeth paddling in Pennsylvania with his father. He is a founder of Paradox Sports, which improves people’s lives through adaptive sports communities. When he is not slack-lining or hanging off the edge of the Earth, he volunteers as an ophthalmic surgical assistant for communities in need in Asia and Africa. Timmy served as a guide and safety boater on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Chris Drew

Chris Drew started his passion for rivers at an early age on the rivers of North Carolina. He resettled out west and now works as a river guide in Colorado. He served as one of Lonnie’s guides on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Steve Mace

Climber, Skier, kayaker and adventure aficionado, Steve Mace, has been around the world with Erik, from guiding blind Tibetan teens on the North Face of Mt. Everest to rivers in Peru and the Western US. Steve served as one of Erik’s training partners, guides and a safety boater on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Seth Dahl

Seth Dahl is an Iraq War veteran, having served 7 years in the Montana 163rd Infantry. He spends his summers guiding river trips on Idaho’s Salmon River and winters shooting and editing positive and encouraging outdoor stories that highlight the complexity of the human condition. Seth was one of Lonnie’s guides on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Team Reflection-Rob Raker

Rob Raker, affectionately called “Papa Duck,” met Erik on a chance encounter in one of the world’s most remote places, Antarctica. After meeting again while filming an adventure race, Rob and Erik became good friends and have rock climbed, ice climbed, skied, ice-skated, paddle-boarded, bicycled, kayaked and traveled to over a dozen countries together. When kayaking was only a flicker of an idea, Rob taught Erik to “Eskimo roll,” and was instrumental in developing the guiding system that Erik uses. Rob served as a guide and safety boater on the No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition.

Children of the Revolution

I’m now back from our memorable trip to Kazakhstan hosted by Eurasian Bank. When I fly halfway around the world for a speaking engagement, especially to a place with some of the most dramatic mountains in the world, I can’t help but get out and climb.

Kentucky School for the Blind & Kindred Healthcare Visit

Last Thursday,  I spoke at Kindred Healthcare’s Clinical Impact Symposium in Louisville, KY. After the conference, I was able to head over to the Kentucky School for the Blind to share and interact with some of the students. It was really fun getting to spend some time with the kids, and talk about my recent adventures but more importantly the No Barriers Mindset message. As a young person, really for us all,  life can be tough to navigate,  but especially being blind. I’ve taken my knocks over the years, bled along the way and had to learn to always keep reaching.

Veterans Day 2014

On Tuesday, I spoke at the MillerCoors Veterans Day remembrance in my hometown of Golden. Local WWII historian Greg Kyle, let me check out some equipment from the famous 10th Mountain Division, an elite winter and mountain warfare unit that trained  in Colorado during WWII.

Aloha!

On October 18th, I spoke in Oahu at  a leadership conference for Hawaii Pacific Healthcare, a group of hospitals in the Hawaiian Islands. I love their theme, “unprecedented collaboration” as they work to change the healthcare industry through the way they deliver care to patients. The next day, HPH sponsored a talk to the community at University of Hawaii, and despite an approaching tropical storm, almost 4,000 folks showed up. I was signing books and shaking hands for hours and loved hearing so many No Barriers stories from people of all ages and backgrounds.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition Reflection

Some of you know I celebrated my birthday in the Grand Canyon during our No Barriers expedition. What an amazing place to have a birthday party. That night, the team gave me some very meaningful gifts. Rob Raker laid out an exhibit with crazily-shaped pieces of drift wood he’d been carefully collecting throughout the journey; one piece felt like an old man’s staff , another like a bent arm and another like a cello.

Kayaking Blind Grand Canyon Celebration

My recent No Barriers Grand Canyon expedition was my most physically and mentally challenging experience yet. It was a big stretch for me and my team. Throughout, there was plenty of fear, intensity, even some panic. However, there were also moments of joy and celebration. Now with the expedition behind us, it’s time to celebrate the journey and all the barriers shattered along the way. Many of you joined us by following along through our dispatches from the river, and some of you supported us by taking the No Barriers Pledge yourself, committing to your own No Barriers Life.

Kayaking Blind Grand Canyon Expedition Recap Video

Our expedition partner, Nature Valley just put together an incredible short video clip as a summary of the expedition. Of course there is lots more to share but this encompasses a little bit of everything from the adventure. It even has the surprise finish that Ellen wrote about yesterday. Enjoy!

Family Surprise at the Takeout

Written by Ellen Weihenmayer: It’s fun and rather easy to surprise a blind guy. The kids and I hopped on a plane and flew to Flagstaff, Arizona. From there, we got on the raft guides’ bus and drove 6 hours to the take-out at Pearce Ferry. My friend, Kim, came along. Kim is our family’s cheerleader, starting with her film work at base camp while Erik was on Everest. Also, Erik’s lead climbing Sherpa and friend, Kami, met us in Flagstaff. Kami is “Uncle Kami” to our family. He helped us in the arduous adoption process for our son, Arjun. He’s always up for an adventure.

Kayaking Blind

Now that I’m home, I’ve had a little time to reflect on our No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition. Lonnie and I embarked on this journey as part of our No Barriers Pledge, our commitment to live a No Barriers Life. As two blind people, we understood that choosing to kayak 277 miles through the Grand Canyon and through some massive white water, wouldn’t be easy. Choosing this kind of path is never easy!

Side Hikes in the Grand Canyon

Side hikes in the canyon are one of the highlights of any trip. Check out this gallery of some of the favorites from the expedition.

No Barriers Kayaking Blind Expedition White Water Highlights

We have a new action-packed kayaking video to share with you! The team arrived home late Monday night, and they have been working hard on creating some new videos to share with the community. We hope you enjoy learning about how the team experienced white water on the Grand Canyon in the excerpt below. From Erik: 

Day #16: Monday, September 22, 2014-Post Lava Falls & Skyler's No Barriers Pledge

Day #16: Monday, September 22, 2014-Post Lava Falls We heard from the team this morning via text. They camped out below Lava Falls, relieved to have this section of the river behind them. The resting spot is called Tequila Beach. Go figure. Lava presented the team with some unexpected drama that can only be described as chaotic success. Michael Brown, our film director, has assured us of some good entertainment as he works to tell this story on film.

Grand Canyon Expedition 2014 Launch!

September 7, 2014- Today, I'm launching on a long awaited adventure, to solo kayak the Grand Canyon, 21 days, 277 miles from Lee's Ferry to Pierce Ferry. Joining me is Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell, an accomplished kayaker, who like me is also blind. Together, the two of us hope to make a powerful and authentic statement about living a No Barriers Life and the belief that this is possible for each of us.

Another Personal Everest

Some of you probably remember my post a few months ago about Derek Campbell. On November, 2013, he had a major snowboarding accident at a ski resort in Colorado that caused a traumatic brain injury resulting in a stroke. A month after the accident, his dad, Mark, was told by doctors to start thinking about making end-of-life decisions. However, Derek's heart and soul had a different plan.

Teachers Climb Too

Teachers are often the light that help shape children’s lives as they grow into adults. Earlier this year, I was blessed to be a part of an inspiring teacher’s story.  Clare La Pier reached out to me through my blog shortly after reading my memoir. She’s taken on a lot of adversity in her own life and has used it as fuel to push herself forward, as well as to push her students toward their own summits. Recently, she took the No Barriers Pledge, and here’s an excerpt from her powerful blog comment:

The Salmon River with the Family

To kick off the summer, my family and I descended a six-day stretch of the Salmon River through the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area in Idaho. The family, including my brother Eddi and his two older kids - Edwin and Brooklyn,  voted it the best river trip ever. The Main Fork of the Salmon is a wide, friendly river with big wave trains and only a few muncher holes to avoid.

Tim Conners, Continuing to Climb

My friend Tim Conners and his mom Betsy have just taken a huge step in their lives. Tim was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 15 years old. After going through chemotherapy and then a bone marrow transplant that resulted in a complication that made him blind, Tim, needless to say, has been through the ringer. However, Tim is a “climber".  I originally met Tim when I was contacted by the Make a Wish Foundation a few years ago. After speaking with Tim, my teammate Skyler and I brainstormed with him and his mom and decided to do something fun but also adventurous together.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition 2014

Two blind guys are going to take on kayaking the Grand Canyon in September 2014. As Lonnie Bedwell and I paddle 277 miles through the Grand Canyon, we hope to encourage 1 million people to take the No Barriers Pledge, a pledge that says, What's within me is stronger than what’s in my way. We hope our big challenge will push others to pick a significant barrier holding them back, attack it, and shatter it into a million pieces.

Sending Off Our Heroes

Two weeks ago, my high school friend and now Army Lieutenant Colonel, Scott Fitzgerald, invited me to speak at Lewis/McChord Army/Air Force Base to a battalion of soldiers, most of them soon deploying to Afghanistan. The base is in DuPont, Washington, near Seattle, so it was surprising to have sun shining when my teammate Tanner, my guide dog Yuri, and I landed and took our first steps out of the airport. We felt it was a good omen for such an important day. Before arriving at the base, we fueled up in true athlete fashion with crispy chicken sandwiches and fries from Wendy’s.

Flower Arrangement of the Year

This may be a little unusual for one of my blogs,  but look carefully at the flower arrangement designed by Patricia Taira of Mary’s Flowers and Gifts in Florence SC, to beautify an event I participated in this week for McLeod Health, a non-profit faith-based healthcare organization which services northern South Carolina.  The two boots,  the climbing rope and ice tool, buried amidst gorgeous flowers,  wins my designation for the Flower Arrangement of the Year. It dramatically reinforced the "reaching" theme of my presentation.

Kyle Coon's Ascent

I’ve had the privilege of knowing lots of “climbers” over the years. One of them is Kyle Coon who I met when he was just seven years old. Kyle and his father, Steve, first met my dad, Ed, and me at an event I was speaking at in Jacksonville, Florida. After my presentation, Kyle seemed almost in shock. His reaction on that day still fills my father and me with emotion.

Climb on Binning Family Foundation!

Last week, the Touch the Top Team and I spent a morning climbing with some local youth from the Redirection Center in Littleton, Colorado,  which helps kids work through some of the challenges they face, both from circumstance and choices.

"High Ground" Shown at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida

Last Friday, our film High Ground, highlighting the struggles of injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as they re-enter a civilian world, was shown at USCENTCOM (U.S. Central Command) in Tampa.  Major General Michael Garrett presided over our visit. We learned such a screening was unprecedented in USCENTCOM history, a huge honor for us all.

NEVI SKI FESTIVAL 2014

Interested in blind skiing? A couple of weeks ago, my guide Jeff and I taught a clinic for guides of the blind at Sugarloaf, Maine. I always love being a guinea pig, so check out some of the guides testing their new skills guiding me! Meet my new friend Noah Carver!  It was fun getting to teach a clinic for some guides from Maine Adaptive Sports and we got to ski with a few of the blind participants.

No Barriers USA Pledge Completion

Over the past year and a half, I have been striving to complete another summit in my life, a $1 million pledge to No Barriers USA. One of the great blessings of my life has been roping up with others who share the same vision, and I thank them all for helping me to fulfill my pledge. I share this to remind all of us to never stop climbing and to never forget, what’s inside of us is stronger than what’s in our way.

Echo Location Part 2: Back On the Saddle

Lesson 1: Follow the Leader The second part of my Flash Sonar training with Daniel Kish focused on something I haven’t done in over thirty years, riding a single bike. My team, Daniel, and I took to the park and decided to give it a shot.

Echo Location Part 1: Batman in Training

I love creating systems which break new ground. Lucky for me, an amazing sensory system for navigating as a blind person already exists. It's essentially what bats do, a kind of echo location, mastered by the guru, Daniel Kish. Flash Sonar is the name Daniel coined, in which you make sharp clicks with your tongue and listen to how the sound echoes off objects to figure out their size, shape, and distance. Most blind people have learned to do this to some degree, but it’s passive and not developed with a conscious process.

Diamond Down

Three weeks ago, I was in Phoenix giving a presentation and planned a kayak adventure on the side. Diamond Down is a 53-mile section of the Colorado River about 4 hours from Phoenix. It travels through the last stretch of the Grand Canyon and makes for a perfect day trip. It’s also perfect training for the longer 277-mile run of the GC that I have my sites set on for next fall.

They are back! REACH Pendants

Touch the Top announces we are selling our REACH Pendants again this year. Last year we took a big reach ourselves by embarking on this new venture, and it was so wildly popular, we’ve decided to bring it back for the holidays. All proceeds will go towards a scholarship for a deserving teenager to participate in a No Barriers - Leading the Way experience. These trips take teams of kids: blind and sighted, deaf and hearing:  on multi-day journeys down the Grand Canyon. The mission is to help youth learn to tap into the human spirit, push through adversity, and embrace a No Barriers Mindset.

No Barriers South Pole Allied Challenge Meets the Queen

It is utterly amazing to witness individuals who push themselves to show the world what determination, teamwork, and a common vision can accomplish. Imagine cross-country skiing nine miles a day with a total of 208 miles over the course of 16 days in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit and winds blasting against you at 50mph. To add icing on the cake, put yourself in the shoes of someone pulling 154 pounds on an arctic sledge with your eyes and hearts set on the vision of reaching the South Pole.

Third S2S Expedition Returns – Two Steps Upward, One Slide Back

A couple weeks ago, I returned from our third Soldiers to Summits expedition high in the Peruvian Andes, with 15 veterans, all with either physical injuries or mental and psychological trauma. I met the team back in August at the No Barriers Summit during their first training session. I got acquainted with Aaron Hale, blind for less than two years. Aaron was leading an Army bomb squad when an IED exploded in his face. It took out his eyes, blew out his eardrums, took away his sense of smell and fractured his cranium and face bones.

Now Two Blind Kayakers

Some of you have already heard that an amazing blind guy, Lonnie Bedwell, a Navy Veteran, just kayaked the Grand Canyon. He was part of a descent of the Colorado River with an organization serving veterans, Team River Runner. I’d heard of Lonnie and even met him once at an event for disabled skiers, and he’s humble, and down-to-Earth, as well as courageous.

Breaking Barriers at the No Barriers Summit

I come away from every No Barriers Summit energized and inspired to double my efforts to build a community that has the tools and the mindset to break through barriers and make contributions to the world. The recent 4-day event at Telluride was no exception.  Here are my highlights:

Oregon Museum Exhibit

If you happen to be in the Portland Oregon area, check out the new Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It features the BrainPort device that I have been testing to let me "see" using a sophisticated camera and tongue display. Here are some photos of the display.

Are you coming to Telluride?!

The No Barriers Summit is just weeks away and I'm getting excited! The line up of speakers, scientists, and entertainers is incredible. This is an event for the whole family, with lots of adventurous activities in beautiful Telluride, Colorado. As a bonus, you'll save $25 per person if you register before August 1st. You really need to be here August 8th through the 11th! Here are some of the highlights:

Peruvian Dream Trail

National Geographic interviewed me for an article on the World's Best Hikes. I recommended Peru's Ancascocha Trail, which is an alternative to the more crowded Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu. Sometimes called the Super Inca Trail, this is a real workout but a great way to visit the world famous ruins.

What's Your Everest - Asheville edition

A gentle reminder for everyone in the North Carolina area that the next What's Your Everest? climb will feature an ascent of the highest peak on the East Coast, Mount Mitchell. Although I won't be able to attend this No Barriers event personally, lot's of my friends will be there, including some of the soldiers who have taken part in our Soldiers to Summits programs. If you want to be inspired, I hope you'll join this climb and screening of High Ground!

What's Your Everest? videos

On June 1st, nearly 60 people reached the 14,065-foot summit of Mount Bierstadt here in Colorado. What makes this exceptional is that many of the climbers faced incredible adversity to even get to the base of the mountain. Among the many stories, we had: a blind person who had never climbed a mountain before, a woman who had received a heart transplant, a man who survived two heart attacks (the last just three months ago), a stroke survivor, and several wounded warriors. No Barriers put together a great little video about our  climb that is well worth watching.

No Barriers Essay Contest, 1st place!

Last but certainly not least in our No Barriers Mindset essay contest is the winning entry from Michelle Smith. I think Michelle Smith really captured the spirit of my message and has implemented the mindset in her own life. For her winning entry, Michelle will receive the Grand Prize, an awesome tent from my longtime sponsor, Mountain Hardwear.

No Barriers Essay Contest, 2nd place

Here is an excerpt from the Second Place entry into the No Barriers Mindset essay contest. I appreciate how Mackenzie is not letting a medical condition get in the way of enjoying a favorite activity. When you take on the No Barriers Mindset, you both adapt and leverage your situation to live life to the fullest. For this essay, Mackenzie will be receiving a pair of trekking poles from Leki, my longtime sponsor. Reach! Erik 

No Barriers Essay Contest, 3rd place

Here is the Third Place entry into the No Barriers Mindset essay contest. I like Megan's grit and determination, though I do encourage her to dream big! As a reward, we are sending her a sterling silver REACH pendant  as a bit of encouragement during those hard days ahead. Reach! Erik   Megan Jones, 12th grade, Piqua High School, Piqua, Ohio

No Barriers Essay Contest Runner-ups

Back in April, I created an essay contest for students to explore the No Barriers Mindset. My goal was to get kids thinking about how they can apply some of my “tools” in their own lives to not just overcome challenges but shatter them.

S2S Goes To Washington

Last week, I attended a successful event in the US Capitol at the High Ground screening hosted by Congressman Jeff Miller. Though attendance by Congressmen was not great due to a Congressional vote that went longer than expected, it proved to be a good opportunity to meet some of our corporate sponsors.

Help A Blinded Boy

A year ago, the parents of then five-year-old Fernando Caled Alvarado Rios gouged out his eyes for a satanic ritual. He and his older brother Kevin, who witnessed the attack, survived but are now in a children's shelter. The parents and five others are in jail, hopefully for a very long time. When a friend first told me about this horrific story, I sat on it for a longtime because it was so inhuman I didn’t even know how to react. I think we all have the tendency to look away from such cruelty and brutality.

ERIK’S GIFT: Reach!

In the spirit of our ongoing No Barriers essay contest, I wanted to share this children's story written by my friend Cheryl Cutting. I hope you enjoy it. Erik ERIK’S GIFT: Reach! By Cheryl A. Cutting

What's Your Everest? Climb, June 1st

We have a few spaces left for the No Barriers What's Your Everest? Climb on June 1st. I hope you will join me and the rest of our team for an ascent of Grays Peak (14,270 feet), just an hour from downtown Denver. Grays and its sister peak, Torreys, are the highest points along the entire Continental Divide in the United States and they provide exceptional views of the Front Range of Colorado.

No Barriers Essay Contest extended

Hey students, you just got one more week to submit your essay to my contest! We've had quite a few great essays come in already but I want to make sure everyone has time to enter. The objective of the No Barriers Mindset Contest is to encourage students to examine how they will reach to achieve the “impossible.” To enter the contest, start by watching four videos on this web page. Then write a 300 – 500 word essay that answers these questions:

Wells Fargo TV ad

A lot of friends have called me recently to say they thought they heard my voice or got a brief glimpse of me on a TV ad. They wanted to know if I’m the blind guy climbing while they were watching Dancing With The Stars and other prime time shows. Yes! It all came together quickly, and I’m psyched to be represented, along with the Wright brothers, Rosa Parks, and the Mars Curiosity landing. Very cool and an honor to be working with Wells Fargo. They’re right. Conversations lead to some amazing things! Erik

No Barriers Boston Fund

As a graduate of Boston College, and a runner, I was greatly impacted by the horrors of the tragic bombing. So I am proud to share the news that we have established the No Barriers Boston Fund to help amputees acquire advanced prosthetic legs. The goal is to raise $500,000 in the next 60 days so that these victims can once again run races, climb mountains, bike, swim, and live a normal life.

No Barriers Mindset essay contest

Hey students, win great prizes! As a parent and former schoolteacher, I have a strong interest in helping kids to dream big. To that end, we’ve created an essay contest that explores what we call at No Barriers, the "No Barriers Mindset." I have teamed up with two of my sponsors, Mountain Hardwear and Leki, to offer some cool prizes for the essays that stand out.

Grand Canyon practice run

I’m back from our 12-day practice run of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. This trip was a test run for myself and my team to assess whether coming back to kayak all 225 miles is a real possibility or just a pipedream. Now that I’m back and have had some time to reflect, I feel I have a good shot at pulling this off.

Vote for Trish!

My good friend Tricia Downing is in the running to win a wheelchair accessible van and she needs your help! Trish is an amazing athlete who was paralyzed from the waist down after a car hit her while she was riding her bike. That hasn't stopped her and she's now doing incredible things, such as starting Camp Discovery for women affected by injury or disease.

Soldiers To Summits accepting applications

I'm excited to announce that the next Soldiers To Summit program will culminate in October with an expedition to the Peruvian Andes! Please help spread the word about this fantastic opportunity for injured veterans--the deadline for applications is June 3rd.

Today Show article on blind skiing

Last Friday, I went skiing at Vail with my usual guide, Jeff Ulrich, and a producer from NBC news. Jack Chesnutt just posted this article on the Today Show Health blog.

Round 2: Usumacinta River, Mexico

In March, my team and I traveled to Mexico to kayak the Usumacinta River again. We returned to the Usu because it’s as an easy winter training ground. Getting there is simple, just fly to Houston and then to Chiapas, Mexico. It’s relatively safe—there haven’t been any kidnappings since the 90’s. And it’s a high volume river that is good practice for the Grand Canyon.

Vote for the Webby

Last November, the New York Times published an article about me that was written by Erik Olsen. He also produced a short film, called "Paddling Blind," that is now up for a Webby Award. Please take a moment and vote for Erik's film!

Modern Gypsies Compassionate Adventure

My buds, the Modern Gypsies (Eric Post, Taylor Filasky, and John Post) have completed their first Compassionate Adventure and produced a series of cool videos that are starting to appear on Vimeo. On this expedition, they travelled to Ecuador and climbed Cotopaxi (the same peak our Soldiers To Summits team climbed last December). Then the Gypsies took their adventure to the next level by installing a well in a remote town to provide clean, safe water for the locals. Great stuff!  

Morocco "Expedition Possible" Adventure

Join my No Limits team and the Modern Gypsies for an adventure of a lifetime! Anyone who watched the ABC television show "Expedition Impossible" will know that my friends (Jeff Evans and Ike Isaacson) were the runner-ups to those pesky Gypsies (Taylor Filasky, Eric Bach, and John Post) in month-long adventure race across scenic Morocco. And you also know that, despite the competition, we all became lifelong friends.

Launching on the Grand!

In the next hour or so, I'm launching for my trial run down the Grand Canyon! We have a great team that will assist me and it should be an incredible two-week adventure. The goal of this trip is to test out systems and try running some of the rapids so I know what I'll be in for when we make the complete descent next year. I will try to send some posts from the river but satellite connections aren't the greatest at the bottom of the Big Ditch. I've also pre-scheduled some other blog posts while I'm away, including a more detailed report on last month's kayaking trip in Mexico.

3rd Annual What's Your Everest Climb - June 1st

Join me and the No Barriers team on June 1st for an ascent of Grays Peak (14,270 feet). And if you're still feeling frisky you can bag nearby Torreys Peak (14,267 feet) too. These are the highest peaks along the entire Continental Divide in the United States and they afford exceptional views of the Front Range of Colorado.

Summit Scholarships Available

Money should not be a barrier to attending the No Barriers Summit. Therefore we have set up a scholarship fund to help those in need. No Barriers will give first priority to people with disabilities and current or former members of the US military. Depending upon need, you may receive help with the cost of registration as well as travel and lodging expenses. To apply for a scholarship, please visit the No Barriers web site. I look forward to meeting you in Telluride!

Blind Wrestling

Since I was a wrestler in high school, this story about Anthony Ferraro was especially interesting. Though we've never met, Anthony certainly exemplifies the No Barriers mindset. If anybody knows how to reach him, it would be awesome if Anthony could attend the No Barriers Summit this summer in Telluride!

What is Soldiers To Summits?

Check out this terrific short video that explains what our Soldiers To Summits program is all about! It was produced by my good friend Didrik Johnck.

Global Explorers to Machu Picchu

Global Explorers is one of the great programs run by No Barriers. This gives high school students the opportunity to not only travel to incredible destinations but also foster the principles of leadership and giving back to the community.

A Soldier's Poem

I was really moved by this poem from Soldiers To Summits participant, Matt Burgess, which was inspired by our recent program. It speaks to me because it reflects the struggle and pain it takes to break through barriers, gain traction, and ultimately transform our lives. All that chaos, turmoil, and conflicting emotion represents the reality of change and growth, and that it’s the commitment to a lifetime of hard work, not just one program being a cure-all.

Climb Coto with El Jeffe!

My longtime climbing partner, Jeff Evans, is putting together another expedition to Cotopaxi next December. He's planning on taking a team of experienced climbers as well as one of the soldiers who didn't quite make it to the top with our S2S program. If you are comfortable using an ice axe and crampons and want the trip of a lifetime, this is a great opportunity!

Everglades Family Expedition

Last week we took the kids out of school for a fun family adventure. I was in Florida speaking to two organizations and have had a life-long goal to explore the Everglades, and not just by loud airboats that drown out the sounds of wildlife, the typical mode of travel for tourists, but by kayaks where you’re moving quietly only inches above the surface of the water.

Happy Anniversary to No Barriers!

A big congratulations to everyone at No Barriers and Global Explorers! It has been a year since our two non-profits merged and it has indeed been a happy marriage. Of course, there have been growing pains too but I feel confident that this will continue to be a fruitful joining of like-minded people. And I am looking forward to an exciting year ahead! Below is a letter from our Executive Director as he looks back on all that we've accomplished in 12 short months:

Global Explorer deadlines approaching

Back in October, I told you about two exciting Global Explorers programs that are happening this year: a Grand Canyon adventure and trekking in Peru. The deadline for applying to those has passed, however, there is a new opportunity for anyone between the age of 15 and 19! It's particularly aimed at those who are deaf or hearing-impaired but is also open to the hearing-abled.

Lobuche drama

I know many of you have seen the movie High Ground. But you probably haven't seen this clip that didn't make the cut. It's a great example of how our team came together, dealt with major adversity, and saved the life of one of our soldiers. Starring my good friend, Jeff Evans! Thanks again to Michael Brown and his crew for recording all the drama.  

Fast and Rocky!

Rocky Contos is an amazing whitewater guide who organized my kayaking trips to Mexico and Peru last year. Here is a great article in Outside magazine about Rocky's quest to become the first person to truly descend the Amazon from the source to the sea. I'll be heading back to Mexico with Rocky soon and have some other adventures in mind with him in the future.

New England Ski Festival, Feb 10-14

Come join me and my guide, Jeff Ulrich, at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine a week from today at the New England Blind and Visually Impaired Ski Festival. We will be giving a clinic on the best method for guiding blind skiers and it's open to anyone. I will also be giving a talk Sunday night on developing a No Barriers mindset.

More on Telluride

Yesterday I mentioned that I was recently in Telluride for a No Barriers fundraiser. This particular event was a Dinner in the Dark, where the meal is served in total darkness...welcome to my world!  We've done a few of these around the country and they are always fun and entertaining for everyone. The dinner in Telluride was almost completely sold out with 107 attendees and we raised over $20,000 net to help fund the upcoming No Barriers Summit!

No Barriers Summit in Telluride!

From August 8th to 11th, the place to be is Telluride, Colorado! That will be the location of the fifth No Barriers Summit. And it promises to be the best yet with hands-on clinics, product demonstrations, outdoor excursions, films, art, music, keynote addresses, leadership exercises and symposia.

Cotopaxi video

Recently, I posted my thoughts about last month's Soldiers To Summits Cotopaxi program. Overall, it was a great success even though not everyone made it to the top of the mountain. We were fortunate to have talented photographer and videographer Didrik Johnck along. And he produced this exceptional 30-minute video about the climb.

S2S Cotopaxi Recap

It has been a month since I returned from Cotopaxi as part of our Soldiers to Summits program and I am still processing this intense and memorable trip. Our S2S expedition left at the beginning of December to climb the second highest peak in Ecuador.

No Barriers Million Dollar Challenge!

Every now and then, I like to challenge myself with big goals, and not always physical ones. When No Barriers merged with Global Explorers in January of last year, I wanted to make sure that the new organization would have staying power. To that end, I committed myself to raising one million dollars for No Barriers. And I'm proud to report I’m almost there!

Kudos to Cheryl!

Congratulations to my friend Cheryl Cutting for organizing a very successful screening of High Ground! Last night in Wilder, Vermont, she and her team packed the theater. Those in the audience included over 40 veterans, many of them from the local Veterans Administration hospital, and they all received a holiday gift that had been donated. In fact, the movie was such a success that they will have an encore showing on January 23rd.

Bagging For Tips Friday In Denver

Last year, the Bass Pro Shop invited Soldiers To Summits to participate in their Bagging For Tips program. In one day of volunteering, we raised over $2,000! So of course we are going to do it again. This Friday, please join us and help bag purchases or giftwrap presents while spreading the word about S2S. There are many different shifts available, starting at 11 AM and ending at 8 PM. They're going fast, so go to this link to secure your spot!

Soldiers To Cotopaxi

I'm still traveling in Ecuador with my family but I wanted to give you a quick update on our Soldiers To Summits Cotopaxi expedition. This was indeed a very demanding peak attempted in very adverse conditions. Not all of us, myself included, reached the top. But standing on the summit was never what this program was all about. By any measure, this expedition was a great success!

REACH! Pendants are back

Just a quick note to let you know that we now have REACH pendants back in stock. The response has been fantastic with over three dozen already shipped. If you are still looking for a last minute gift, we now have about a dozen available. The cost is $100 plus shipping and the pendant comes in a gift pouch and with a special card signed by me. These pendants are a fundraiser for No Barriers so I appreciate your support. Happy Holidays! Erik

Superheros

First things first, I don't consider myself a superhero! But the people at the Carroll Center For The Blind are. They are the ones that, many years ago, set me on the path towards becoming a climber and adventurer. And in the meantime, they have helped countless others adapt to a world without eyesight.

Cotopaxi Update

A quick update from Ecuador: We're halfway through the Soldiers To Summits Cotopaxi expedition and things are going great! To warm up and get used to the altitude, we climbed Guagua Pichincha, a 15,500 ft active stratovolcano. This was the first chance for the soldiers to test their newly acquired skills and really appreciate how big a goal Cotopaxi will be! Unlike the practice ascents of peaks in Colorado, Pichincha required a lot of scrambling across ledges and scaling small rock faces. Now everyone is excited to tackle mighty Cotopaxi!

REACH Pendant update

Wow! The reaction to the REACH pendant has been extraordinary. We have nearly sold out in just over a week. But more are on the way and will arrive in time for Christmas. This is a fundraiser for No Barriers so your purchase truly helps a great cause. Thank you to everyone who placed an order!! The first batch will arrive soon and we will send them out soon thereafter. When your pendant arrives, please leave a comment on the original blog post telling everyone what you think!

Donate $10 to help us get 10 feet closer to the summit!

On December 10th, I will be helping a team of injured veterans and active duty service members reach the summit of Cotopaxi, the second highest peak in Ecuador (19,347 feet). This will be the culmination of their yearlong journey with Soldiers To Summits, where we use mountains as metaphor and training ground to help veterans harness adversities and step up to lead and serve others. Follow our journey on the day-by-day trip blog!

REACH Pendants!

I am really excited to announce that we have a unique new product to offer as a fundraiser for No Barriers! My friend Cheryl Cutting designed this beautiful sterling silver pendant to inspire everyone to reach towards unseen possibilities. The word REACH is spelled out in the Latin alphabet on one side and Braille on the other. 

New York Times article on blind kayaking

The New York Times just published a great article about me! Written by Eric Olson, it gives a pretty good look at what I've been up to lately. There's even a 7+ minute video of me training at the National Whitewater Center. But dude, I really don't say "gnar" that much!

NatGeo article on High Ground

National Geographic Adventure just posted a great article on High Ground on their blog. With Veterans Day coming up on Sunday, it's great to get the word out about this important movie! Please tell your friends!

Swiss Adventures

Recently I was honored to speak in Geneva to Jaeger LeCoultre, the manufacturer of super high-end watches. How high end? They start at around $10,000 and can go up to $50,000 or more. The company is about to celebrate its 180th anniversary and remains committed to the utmost in quality.

Michael Brown interview on Last Call

Check out this awesome interview of my friend Michael on Carson Daly's Last Call! He explains his motivation for making High Ground, with lots of great clips.

Blind For A Day

I want to give a big shout out to Anna Chouler in Scarborough England. The television show Expedition Impossible is airing on the other side of the pond and she was inspired by Team No Limits. Anna decided to raise awareness for the blind and to raise money for guide dogs by wearing a blindfold for an entire day. Her goal was to raise $800...and she ended up raising almost $1,000! Anna wrote on her page:

High Ground reviews keep rolling in: NPR

Everyone who sees this film is impacted, even jaded movie critics! Here's a great review on NPR.

LA Times reviews High Ground

Another great review for High Ground, this time in the Los Angeles Times. Congrats again to Michael Brown and Don Hahn on a great documentary! We had an awesome turnout last night at the event in Golden. Thanks to everyone who came!

New York Times reviews High Ground!

Today's paper edition of the New York Times has a review of High Ground (Page C6) and you can read it online here. If you are a NYT subscriber, please log on and rate the film. Some good reader reviews can be as important as a critics opinion.

Go See A Movie!

This Friday is when High Ground opens in theaters around the country. Of course, we are having a special showing here in Golden, Colorado with Jon Krakauer introducing and producer Michael Brown and soldiers answering questions.

Global Explorers Applications

Global Explorers, the youth component of No Barriers, is seeking applications for its 2013 Leading the Way program. Next summer, teams will journey to two exciting destinations: the magnificent Grand Canyon and the beautiful Peruvian Highlands. These trips are fantastic opportunities and I highly recommend anyone that qualifies apply!Rim to River Expedition: Grand Canyon, Arizona

Kayak Training Continues

My first trip to the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte didn’t bode well. In the very first rapid, called Entrance Exam, I flunked when I flipped and ended up taking a long swim. I was completely overwhelmed by the chaos of the river and was on the verge of quitting and going home. But eventually I got back in my boat and kept at it.

Another Reason to see High Ground

My friend Malcolm Daly recently shared this great article from the New York Times written by Sebastian Junger (the author of WAR and co-director of Restrepo). It thoughtfully sums up many of the feelings that our veterans struggle with daily.

Soldiers Training, Part 2

Recently, we had the second training session for our Soldiers To Summits Cotopaxi program. What makes this so remarkable—and difficult— is that we aren’t just trying to achieve a mountain climbing adventure. I don’t want to pour my heart and energy into just helping people learn how to climb mountains. In itself, climbing mountains doesn’t help you change your life. You can stand on a summit and you’ve achieved something but it doesn’t mean that you’ve learned anything about life off the mountain. For S2S, climbing isn’t an end but a means to better things.

New No Barriers Video

Check it out! And tell me what you think.

Major High Ground Event - Nov 2

When High Ground had it's world premier in Boulder, Colorado this spring, tickets sold out right away--and the film was voted People's Choice award at the Film Festival! Since then, there have not been any public showings of this incredible movie in Colorado.

Denver Post article on S2S

There's a great front page article on Soldiers To Summits in today's Denver Post. If you're in the area, be sure to come to the Bent Gate tomorrow night and meet some of the team!

High Ground Screenings Near You

If you are in San Diego, Austin, Washington DC, Seattle, or Houston, then you have an opportunity to see the movie High Ground in the first week of October. If you aren’t in one of those areas or if you can’t make the date already set up, then you can arrange to host your own screening.

Soldiers Heading South, Way South!

The Soldiers To Summits program is going to the South Pole! We are teaming up with Walking With The Wounded, a highly regarded charity in the United Kingdom, to send an expedition on a four week journey to the bottom of the planet. With the backing of Prince Harry (aka HRH Prince Henry of Wales), this exciting adventure will inspire people around the world.

Accessing Zion Narrows

Two weeks ago, I teamed up with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) to help preserve access to an incredible part of the United States. It was my third project with TPL, previously working to open the trail to Wilson Peak, an iconic  14,017-foot mountain in southwestern Colorado, and Bridal Veil Falls, the spectacular 365-foot waterfall above Telluride, Colorado, and the tallest free-standing waterfall in the country.

Peru Kayaking Adventure

This summer, I was originally planning to kayak Hell’s Canyon on the Snake River as part of my training for the Grand Canyon, But my friend Rocky Contos at SierraRios Adventures contacted me about some trips he had planned in Peru. As you may recall, In January, a group of us joined Rocky on a descent of the Usumacinta River in Mexico. We had such a good time that I didn’t hesitate to go on another adventure with Rocky.

Baskis Wins Major Award

I am delighted to announce that my friend Steve Baskis has been chosen to receive the Louis Braille Award by the Associated Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired (ASB). This is a very prestigious honor recognizing the achievements of a blind person for the the visually impaired community (I won in 2007). The award ceremony is January 25 in Philadelphia and I plan to attend.

Baby News

Some exciting baby news from two good friends: Michael Brown and Brian Smith. On Friday, August 31st, Julia gave birth to Gordon Vincent Brown a strapping lad at 8 lbs 10 oz. I'm sure young Gordy will have an awesome life! After all, his dad was the filmmaker with me on Everest and has made many awesome films including High Ground. And Gordy's mom owns the South Side Walnut Cafe, one of the best breakfast and lunch spots in Boulder.

The Heroic Journey

After I posted about our Soldiers To Summits training that we held last month, several people asked me about our selection of the Heroic Journey metaphor as the overarching theme of the program. A lot of the credit for that belongs to Peter Bailey, who is Senior Vice President at the Prouty Project.

Blind Encounters with Jeff Evans

My longtime friend, climbing partner, and No Limits teammate Jeff Evans was recently featured in the alumnus magazine for the University of Colorado. Check it out, it's a good read. I heard he even took a shower before the photo shoot ;-)

Scarpa Interview

Recently, the folks at SCARPA North America interviewed me for their community blog. As you may know, I am extremely pleased to be sponsored by SCARPA, the premier manufacturer of outdoor footwear. Since I am blind, I am more dependent upon quality shoes and boots than most athletes. For almost all of my sports—from rock climbing to mountaineering to trail running to backcountry skiing—SCARPA makes the best products on the market. (On the river, I wear Chaco sandals.)

But...He's Gay!

There might be one or two people left on the planet who haven't seen the infamous "Gay Climber" blooper. It's literally be watched by millions of people and is still a YouTube sensation. I had never met Cynthia Izaguirre, the news anchor who made that gaffe. But on a trip to Dallas, I visited the TV station where she now works and we discussed what happened: 

Mike Is At It Again!

My friend Mike Armstrong is doing another fundraiser to support the Foundation for Blind Children. This time he and his partner are going to ride a tandem road bike 390 miles across Arizona, from east to west, over 5 days in September. Their goal is to raise $25,000 for the foundation.

A Dream Comes True

Earlier this year, I was contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation because they had a teenager who wanted to meet me. When he was just 15 years old, Tim Conners was stricken with leukemia. He underwent three months of radiation, chemotherapy treatments, and spinal taps but they were ineffective at stopping the disease. Finally,  a bone marrow transfer from his older brother, Mike, saved Tim's life. But there were many complications, one of which caused him to go blind.

Canoe & Kayak Feature Article

The August issue of Canoe & Kayak magazine has a profile about me and my kayak training, which you can now read online. There's also a video shot by the Denver Post earlier this summer. Check it out!

Camp Paradox, August 12-14th

Next week, outside of Fort Collins, Colorado, there is an opportunity for people with disabilites to have a lot of fun. They still have some openings for Camp Paradox.

Boulder REI Event

If you are in Boulder, Colorado this Friday evening, August 10th, check out a great presentation by Team Atlas Shrugged at the REI store. Jarrod Skulavik, Steve Mestdagh, Johnny Lintott, Peter Brown, and Topher Downham were the 3rd place team in this year's Adventure TEAM Challenge. They will tell you stories from this amazing event and discuss training strategies. Alas, I'll be headed to Peru so I won't be able to attend.

Soldiers To Summits Kicks Off

Our second Soldiers To Summits program has been gearing up for months. Behind the scenes, we have been working hard on fund raising, developing the curriculum, and selecting the new team. Countless hours have gone into preparing for this new S2S program but until the entire team comes together, it almost doesn’t feel real.

More Paralympic inspiration

I don't know Wesley but I find this story pretty remarkable. The idea of running at full speed and then jumping 22 feet, without being able to see where you are going, is a bit terrifying. But he won silver medals at both Athens and Beijing and now holds the world record for Paralympians. He will be going for gold in London and I bet he wins. Yet another person proving you can do great things when you believe there are no barriers in life!

A Friend Heads to the Paralympics

My young friend Andrew Johnson will be heading to London to compete in the 1,000 meter rowing sprint. I've been fortunate to hike the Inca Trail in Peru and in the Dolomites of Italy with Andrew and can attest that he has the great attitude and spirit that it takes to be a world-class athlete. Here is a TV news profile of Andrew and his rowing partner as the train for the big event. You can bet that I'll be cheering them on!

Shoshone kayak run

Here is a video of my first attempt at running the Colorado River in Glen Canyon. Things go pretty well...at first! I did make it through with no flips or swims on later runs. But alas no video of that. Trust me!

Ultimate Water Radio Challenge

I am incredibly frustrated. I’ve been training hard for over a year, preparing myself physically and mentally, so I can kayak the Grand Canyon. No blind person has ever done this before. And it’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever attempted. But I’m being held back by technology or, more specifically, the lack thereof.

Kayak Training, part 2

I swallowed a lot of pride, not to mention a lot of river water, on my first visit to the National Whitewater Center. But a few weeks later, I returned for more. On that first trip, the very first rapid, called Entrance Exam, spanked me hard and I never made it past the first third of the Channel. So I was a bit apprehensive about returning to Charlotte for five days of whitewater training on the same man-made river.

Mount Elbert No Barriers Fundraiser climb

I was about to post my trip report about our annual No Barriers "What's Your Everest?" climb of Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado, which we held on on June 3rd. But an email from one of the participants arrived and it sums up why I do these things so well.

Adventure TEAM Challenge 2012: Even Better and More Inspiring

This amazing event keeps getting better and more inspiring! The sixth running of the ATC was the biggest yet, with fourteen teams from around the country. The new location near Fruita Colorado offered spectacular high desert terrain for an adventure race replete with steep rock walls for climbing and rappelling, world-class mountain bike trails and the spectacular Colorado River cutting through Ruby Horsethief canyon.

Family Fun in Hong Kong

This week, I gave a talk in Hong Kong for a well-known company. It was a great opportunity to bring my family along to see some of the world. Emma and Arjun had to miss a few days of school but we feel this experience is worth it. Happy Memorial Day! Erik  

Everest Article on Outside

Check out my article on Outside Online about our ascent of Everest. It's a brief retrospective of the great team effort that went into my reaching the summit.

Jeremy McGhee -- A Man After My Own Heart

I've never met Jeremy McGhee but I already like him. He shares the No Barriers mindset that I advocate so tirelessly. Jeremy is paralyzed from the waist down and has set out the goal of skiing Bloody Couloir near Mammoth Lakes, California. This backcountry descent requires a 4.5-mile approach with 2,200 feet of elevation gain just to get to the bottom. Then you climb straight up up the 2,600-foot chute before you ski down it. Oh and by the way, a good portion of the the slope is 45° (most double black diamond ski runs are around 40°).

TV Appearances

This morning, I was a guest on a local television station, Fox 31, where I talked about the upcoming Adventure TEAM Challenge. Here's a link to the interview: http://kdvr.com/2012/05/11/adventure-team-challenge-2/ And for those of you in the Denver area, I will be on Channel 7 News this Sunday morning. Stay tuned!    

No Barriers Launches Bold New Look

I'm really excited about the launch of the new No Barriers website, logo and tagline today at www.nobarriersusa.org. This marks a major step in our recent merger with Global Explorers and it gives a clear indication of the direction we are heading. Here’s some insight into how the No Barriers board and staff developed the new look:

Mixing Work and Pleasure

Spring is one of the busiest times of year for me as I speak to organizations all over the world. My crazy travel schedule often tears me away from my family for extended periods. So whenever possible, I try to mix a little pleasure with work.

Trail Running with Uri

Here is a short video of me running with my guide dog. We both love getting out for a romp!

Greatest Moments on Everest...I'm #4

Outside Magazine Online just published an article about the Ten Greatest Moments On Everest. Naturally, the list includes Tenzing Norgay and Ed Hillary's first ascent and Reinhold Messner's solo ascent.

Spring Skiing

When you ask folks in Colorado about the skiing this season, there is a collective groan of disappointment. The year before, we were spoiled by one of the biggest and best snow years on record and now we are feeling a bit let down. Nonetheless, spring is the time to get out and enjoy ski mountaineering on the higher peaks! Warm, sunny days followed by cool nights help consolidate the snowpack, making it relatively safe from avalanches. This stability enables backcountry skiers to enjoy the steep bowls and chutes that are too dangerous earlier in the season.

No Barriers Elbert Climb - June 3rd

Join me for the 2nd annual No Barriers What's YOUR Everest? Challenge on June 2-3 for a climb of Mt. Elbert (14,400 feet), the tallest peak in Colorado. This fundraising event encourages you to embrace the No Barriers mindset and discover "what's within you is stronger than what's in your way."

Zero/Zero Hikes the Appalachian Trail

Check out this great TV documentary about Trevor Thomas solo hiking the Appalachian Trail, which extends 2,175 miles from Georgia to Maine. Shortly after he lost his vision to a rare eye disease, he heard me talk about climbing Everest. That gave him the inspiration to start hiking and doing things on his own.

Skiing with Arjun and Rob

Recently, I had a fantastic day of skiing with my nine-year old son, Arjun, and “Uncle Rob” at Copper Mountain. Rob is a longtime climbing, kayaking, and adventure partner and guide who has been with me on many trips over the years.

Kayak Training

Recently, I have been focusing my training on whitewater kayaking, which is easily the scariest, most intense thing I have ever attempted. To maximize our training time, my partner and guide, Rob Raker, and I traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, home to the United States National Whitewater Center. We have great rivers in Colorado but what makes the NWC unique is the world’s largest pumped whitewater park. This incredible man-made facility, which opened in 2006, offers consistent water flows and rapids so it is ideal for practicing technique.

2 Blind 2 Ride

The thought of cycling 16,000 miles from the tip of South America to the top of North America is pretty daunting in itself. Now imagine doing it while blind! That's what Christi Bruchok and Tauru Chaw are currently undertaking. Christi is blind in one eye and is so short-sighted she can only read with glasses and within "sniffing" distance. Tauru had retinitis pigmentosa, which leaves him with sharp vision through a "toilet paper" roll during the day and totally blind at night. Both are legally blind. And together they are peddling a tandem bike across two continents.

S2S Director Charley Mace on Everest

Charley Mace, our Director for Soldiers To Summits, and a longtime climbing partner of mine, is bound for another ascent of Everest. He was with my team on the Hillary-Norgay route a decade ago and now he's going back to climb the West Ridge. This is the climb made famous by Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld 49 years ago when they made the first traverse of an 8,000 meter peak.

Hong Kong Adventure

Recently I was asked to speak in Hong Kong and had a few extra days to play. So my friend Rob Raker traveled with me for some truly exotic climbing. We met another friend, Stuart Sharpless who owns Paradigm Consulting, which is a diverse company involved in corporate team building, adventure films, and managing the top adventure athletes in Asia. Stuart was a wonderful host who showed us some of the highlights of Hong Kong.

Kickstarting "Out Living It"

My good friend Michael Brown isn't slowing down. As many of you know, he is the award-winning producer who created "Farther Than The Eye Can See," the film about my Everest climb, and most recently "High Ground," the film about our Soldiers To Summits expedition that premiered last month. Soon, Michael's next project "Out Living It" will make its world premier at the Aspen Shortsfest.

Billy Mattison on the 2012 Adventure TEAM Challenge

We are fortunate to have Billy Mattison as the Event Director for the 2012 Adventure TEAM Challenge. He is a very experienced adventure racer who has competed in major adventure races around the world, including three Eco-Challenges—one of which his team won. Billy is also a professional raft guide in the summers and the avalanche director for the Vail Ski Patrol in the winter. Here is some insight from Billy into this year's event:   Hello adventure teams!

Register for Adventure TEAM Challenge!

With this year's inclusive 2012 Adventure TEAM Challenge only two months away, I encourage all teams to register online right away. There is no charge to register your team and each of the five participants online and by doing so, you will help us prepare for the event. Once your team has registered online, World T.E.A.M. Sports will send your captain an invoice. All teams will need to submit half their team registration fee by Monday, April 2. The remaining 50 percent of the team fee must be paid by May 1.

The Adversity Advantage e-Book!

At last, my latest book, The Adversity Advantage Deluxe Edition, is available for your iPad, Kindle, Nook, or any other e-reader!

ESPN covers Kyle on Kili

Recently, I wrote about the incredible story of Kyle Maynard climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Now you can watch an amazing 11-minute video on ESPN about Kyle and their expedition. Trust me, this is well worth your time! No Excuses

High Ground Wins!

The premier of High Ground on Saturday was simply awesome! Michael Brown did a fantastic job of documenting our Lobuche expedition and explaining the struggles that many returning veterans face. High Ground won both the "Call To Action" and the "People's Choice" awards for the entire Boulder International Film Festival!

Himalayan Stove Project update

Back in September, I wrote about the Himalayan Stove Project, which is run by my friend George Basch. It's a great program doing a wonderful thing for the health of thousands of people while also protecting the environment. I just received word that an entire container with 1,539 high-tech biofuel stoves is on the way to Kathmandu. These will be distributed free of charge over the next couple of months. This is a real mile-stone and bodes well for the future.

A Meme for Uri

Uri is my latest guide dog and he works hard for me. So in his honor, I had to share this one:  

Major Achievement on Kilimanjaro!

On January 15th, my friend Kyle Maynard made a historic ascent of the highest peak in Africa became the first man to crawl to the 19,340 ft. summit. In setting a world record for what is achievable, Kyle became a prime example of what I call the "No Barriers mindset."

Running the Sacred Monkey River

In January, I reunited with my friends from Expedition Impossible, the Modern Gypsies, for an exciting whitewater kayaking adventure in southern Mexico. As you may recall, Taylor Filasky, Eric Bach, and John Post won the month-long adventure race in Morocco while my team, No Limits, came in second place. I hate losing but, if I must, I’m happy it was to people I truly like.

Adventure TEAM Challenge registration

I am psyched to announce that the Adventure TEAM Challenge is now open for registration! This year, we have moved the race up to May 18-20 to give everyone an awesome kickstart to their summer. And we've moved it to the mountain-bike mecca of Colorado, Fruita! This year's race is going to be bigger and better than ever. Get your teams together now and sign up by going to the web site. See you there!

Recovery

Recovery is a vital part of training. And the older I get, the more I have to recover! All those accumulated little injuries begin to take a toll. While rest and massage great ways to heal your body, lately I've been receiving treatments of cold laser therapy. This is a clinically-proven method for stimulating your body's own healing mechanisms. Check out this video to learn more:  

Training for the River, Part 2

Here is the second part of my training with Anton video. I should point out that this is just one of many workouts that he puts me through. We mix it up a lot and I'm always worn out by the end of a session! Next will see some healing that he helps me with. If you have questions for Anton Ferguson, you can reach him by email: contact@fitnesslaser.com

Jeff's Haitian Adventure

My good friend, Jeff Evans, recently returned from an incredible adventure in Haiti. They got the full experience with surfing, kite-boarding, and a rolled truck. Head on over to Jeff's blog for a good read!

Training for the River, Part 1

I am often asked how I train for adventures. So I thought I'd show you what it takes to get ready for an expedition. Over the past couple of months, I have been preparing for a whitewater kayaking trip in Mexico. This video will give you an idea of what I've been doing with my trainer, Anton Ferguson.

Congratulations to Jordan Romero!

For those of you you haven't heard, my friend 15-year-old Jordan Romero, completed a 6-year climbing quest and hopes to inspire kids with his Healthy Eating Challenge. Team Romero, which consists of Jordan, his father Paul and his step-mother Karen, spoke at Summit 2011 about his quest and the importance of living an active, healthy no-barriers lifestyle.

Fantastic article on the Adventure TEAM Challenge

My friend Bob Vogel, who is a wheelchair athlete, wrote a superb article about last summer's Adventure TEAM Challenge for New Mobility magazine. It's definitely worth reading! We've already started planning on the next ATC race and it's going to be better than ever with a new location and time. Stay tuned for details.

Wha'SUP!

It's winter, so it must be time to think about summer! One of the coolest new toys I got last year was a pair of stand up paddle (SUP) boards from Tower Boards. We didn't get them until the fall so I haven't played too much but have lately been thinking about what fun they'll be this year! Here's a photo with me and my friend Rob Raker on the maiden cruise.  

Ring The Bell!

Hi Everyone, I received this wonderful note from the mom of a young boy I met while speaking at their community school. Her son is an amazing kid full of spark and passion - despite some challenges like a missing arm. YuYu had a great success yesterday that he has asked me to write to you about. You were one of the first people he wanted to be sure heard about this.

Holiday Fundraiser Success!

On Christmas Eve, a terrific group of volunteers donated their time to help raise money for the Soldiers To The Summits program. Working in two hour shifts, our community "Bagged for Tips" at the local Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World. By simply standing at the cash registers and explaining what S2S is about, we raised over $2,000 for the upcoming program!

Backcountry Coalition interview, Part 2

This is the second half of the interview I did with Jeremy Dobish for the Backcountry Coalition. This time I talk about some of my gear issues, favorite ski destinations, and more. Happy Holidays! Erik  

Kyle and Kevin on TV - Mission Kilimanjaro

In just 18 days, my good friend Kevin Cherilla will be leading another expedition to climb the highest peak in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. What makes this trip unique is he will be guiding Kyle Maynard, who is attempting to become the first upper-level quadruple amputee to climb the mountain. And Kyle will do it entirely under his own power!

Backcountry Coalition interview

Here is an interview I did recently with Jeremy Dobish for the Backcountry Coalition. This is a cool, grassroots community of backcountry skiers from around the United States who share information, trip reports, photos, and the general enthusiasm of getting off the beaten track. If you enjoy off-piste skiing, you should join them. Best of all, it's free! Erik

Canadian Oatmeal Adventure

Recently, I returned from a unique adventure in Canada where we filmed a television commercial for Quaker Oats. I had spoken a couple times to the Quaker team, and told them that we religiously ate oatmeal at midnight in our tent before a big climb. It’s light to carry, easy to heat up, and fuels you for an amazing day ahead. So simulating this ritual was the plan for the ad.

Great No Barriers Summit article

Here is a great article by my friend Bob Vogel that just came out in the December issue of New Mobility magazine. It focuses on the No Barriers Summit and discusses all the adaptive technology available for outdoor recreation. New Mobility No Barriers Summit article

Health & Wellness article

Here is a recent article that features my friends Tricia Downing and Malcolm Daly, as well as myself. All of us are outdoor athletes, who happen to have disabilities, living in the Colorado Front Range and this is distributed at hospitals and doctors offices in the same region. It should provide some hope for people facing their own adversities. NoLimits_H&W_editorial

Friday Inspiration - Steve Baskis

Click the link below for a great article in Chicago Magazine about my friend Steve Baskis. He was one of the soldiers on our Lobuche expedition in Nepal last year who made it to the summit. Since we are both blind, Steve and I have a special connection. This article was written by Brian Mockenhaupt and talks about Steve's recent ascent of Kilimanjaro in Africa that was led by my friend Kevin Cherilla; both Brian and Kevin were on our Soldiers To The Summit expedition too.

S2S Reflections - Nicolette Maroulis

Here in the United States, we are about to celebrate one of our most important holidays -- Thanksgiving. Thursday isn't about a religious celebration or national pride, it's simply a day to pause and give thanks for all that we are blessed. This seemed an appropriate time to check in with some of the team from last year's Soldiers To The Summit (S2S) expedition. Over the next few weeks, you will hear from some of the injured soldiers, and the climbing team who supported them, on what the program means to them.

Friday Inspiration - Kyle Maynard

At the No Barriers Summit this summer, I had the pleasure of meeting Kyle Maynard. He is a true inspiration to me and countless others. Why? Because Kyle is a quadruple amputee who hasn't let his birth defect slow him down! In fact, on the spur of the moment and with almost no preparation, we climbed a 12,000-foot peak together...Kyle used towels and packing tapes on his stumps as we crossed sharp rocks, mud, and snowfields.

Masquerade Ball in Scottsdale

I am a proud supporter of K2 Adventures and Mission Kilimanjaro. If you are in the Phoenix area, I highly recommend this event! It's organized by my good friend Kevin Cherilla and his associates. Kevin will be leading my friend, Kyle Maynard, on his historic ascent of the highest peak in Africa this winter.

Veterans Day and S2S

The following is a wonderful sentiment and news update written by my good friend and Team No Limits partner, Jeff Evans. Since my father is a former Marine combat pilot, this article echoes many of my own feelings. Erik

Cambodia, Peru, or Grand Canyon-the choice is yours

If you are a student or teacher, or know someone who would be interested, next year could be very exciting! Global Explorers, a great nonprofit organization, is sponsoring three opportunities for adventure and education--with a chance you can go for free!

Elevations Interview

Here is an interview that I did with Elevations Outdoor, a great outdoors magazine here in Colorado. http://www.elevationoutdoors.com/activism/true-vision/

No Barriers Board Member Receives Award

Mike Savicki is a longtime friend and fellow board member of No Barriers. A 1990 Tufts graduate and currently one of the top wheelchair marathoners in the country, he recently received the 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award (DAA) from Tufts.

Vote for Kelly!

There are three days left to vote for the Inspiration Awards for Women. Please vote for my friend Kelly Perkins. She is an incredible woman who received a second chance at life after an unknown virus attacked and destroyed her heart back in 1992 and she received a heart transplant in 1995. And now she has climbed mountains all over the world. Kelly inspires me and truly deserves this honor! http://www.inspirationawards.us/voting/index.php

Soldiers to the Summit Joins No Barriers USA

The No Barriers team is proud to announce thatSoldiers to the Summit (S2S) is now an integral part of our mission to promote cutting-edge ideas, approaches, and assistive technologies that help people with challenges push through personal barriers.

No Barriers Fundraiser Climb – Kelso Ridge

Fall in the Rockies is a great time to get out and enjoy the last warm sunny days of Indian summer. Last weekend, we enjoyed a great day of climbing with my longtime climbing partner Jeff Evans, my colleague Skyler Williams, and new friends Nick Hemmert, Annette Jewell, and Victoria Jewell.

Soldiers To The Summit Film Announcement!

Exciting news! The feature film about our Lobuche expedition is now official and titled High Ground. We've had to keep this quiet for months but now we can spread the word. I can honestly tell you this film is going to blow you away! Nothing like it has ever been produced and Michael Brown has done an outstanding job making it happen. With the backing of a major Hollywood producer like Don Hahn, High Ground will have a tremendous impact upon everyone who sees it. Check out the press release and trailer:

Expedition Possible!

Mark Burnett isn't the only one creating incredible adventures. This past Labor Day, we invited friends to our place near Rollinsville, Colorado for a mini-expedition. Called Expedition Possible, twenty-four teams competed for the coveted prize: a picture of a Ford Explorer. The Explorer looked very much like the one presented to the Gypsies after their big win. It just wasn't as big.

Adventure TEAM Challenge article

Here is a great article by wheelchair athlete Sherry Shulz about her experience in the Adventure Team Challenge in June. It was published in Sports 'N Spokes, which is the magazine for wheelchair sports and recreation. A New Frontier -- Adventure Team Challenge  

No Barriers Summit leads to an award

Here's a cool story about a cool lady, Sarah Doherty. Years ago,she lost one leg at the hip due to a drunk driver. Not only did that not slow her down but she went on to climb the highest peak in North America. And Sarah didn't stop there...she went on to invent some super sophisticated crutches that allow people to do all sorts of outdoor adventures, year round.

Blind Motivation in Arizona

I’m not the only blind guy doing over-the-top adventures. This spring, my friend Mike Armstrong hiked the entire 782-mile length of the rugged Arizona Trail, which runs from the Mexico to Utah borders, in 45 days. In the process, Mike raised $22,000 for the Foundation for Blind Children (www.seeitourway.org), which has the mission to show people that blindness is a diagnosis, not a handicap.

Himalayan Stove Project

There are a lot of great non-profits doing important work in the world. Sometimes the smaller, lesser-known organizations are the ones doing the most good with the least fanfare or funding. The Himalayan Stove Project (HSP) is one such worthy cause. HSP was started by my old friend, George Basch, who I climbed Aconcagua with 14 years ago. George also accompanied me to base camp of Everest to see me off and wish me well. He’s trekked and climbed all over the world from Bhutan to Tanzania.

No Barriers Summit - Impressive Numbers Tell the Tale

The No Barriers Summit 2011 has been over for two months now, but the excitement it sparked for so many people is still buzzing in the air. So now, after the dust has settled a bit and we've had a chance to compile this information, we can share some cool stats with you: Did you know, there were over 1100 available spots in clinics this year? A total of 582 people from 42 different states and 3 countries attended!

Gypsies Colorado Adventure

Well this is the second week of withdrawal from Expedition Impossible and many of you may be feeling the lingering effects of going cold turkey. So I’ll brighten your day with some Gypsy love! As you know, we had a roaring party for the final episode that raised over $10,000 for No Barriers and Free The Children. Suffice to say, the party didn’t end when the show was over. So the next day, we got a late start and headed up to my house in the mountains about an hour from town.

Interview with Maximum Adventure

Here is an interview that I recently gave to Chris Taylor for the Maximum Adventure blog. http://maximumadventure.net/2011/09/01/erik-weihenmayer-inspiring-even-i...

Expedition Impossible Behind the Scenes Finale

Sure, we would have liked to win. But we were pretty happy coming in second to our friends, the Gypsies. They certainly deserved to win; after all they were first at nearly every stage and helped us squeak by several times throughout the challenges. However, Team No Limits was determined to make those Gypsy boys work for it! And we did get a lot of pleasure beating them in the sailing stage.

Quandary Peak Celebration

And now for something completely different. You might recall that back in May, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of my Everest climb. To commemorate this life-changing event, my Everest team reassembled to lead a mini-expedition up one of Colorado's 14ers, Quandary Peak. Together we took over 50 people, including disabled soldiers, to the summit of a beautiful mountain. In the process, we also raised over $10,000 for No Barriers and Soldiers To The Summit!

Own a piece of Expedition Impossible!

Were you inspired this summer by Team No Limits and Team Modern Gypsies? Would you like a lasting memory of our epic adventure? Would you like to help out two great non-profit organizations?

Interview with Jeff and me in Westword

Here's a good interview with the two of us by Colin Blane in Westword. Thanks, Colin!

Expedition Impossible Behind the Scenes #9

I couldn’t believe it! What the heck just happened?! There was no way we were going to beat the Cops. Despite Ike hobbling as fast as he could, they had passed us on a brutal cross country push and had a 15 minute lead. Yet…somehow…we did it! But lets go back to the beginning. Only the day before, we had had the unlikeliest of wins over the California Girls. We woke up the next morning, partly in disbelief that we were still in the competition yet still facing the reality that a team with a blind guy and a badly sprained ankle didn’t have much chance.

Local paper covers Team No Limits

The Boulder Daily Camera recently ran an article about our team and the upcoming party at the Lazy Dog. Only one comment but at least it was a positive one.

Watch the Expedition Impossible finale with the Gypsies and No Limits!

So now it can be told...the Gypsies are coming to Boulder! Not only that but also the host of Expedition Impossible, David Salmoni, and the Executive Producer, Lisa Hennessy, too. It's going to be an exciting night at the Lazy Dog! And we will raise money for No Barriers (my charity) and Free The Children (Gypsies charity).

Adventure TEAM Challenge video

Here is a great video put together by one of the teams in this year's race. It's nice to see a different perspective on this unique adventure race! Thanks to Topher Downham and Team Atlas Adventure.

Team No Limits hosting a No Barriers fundraiser

Join Team No Limits to watch the final episode of Expedition Impossible and help support No Barriers! Jeff, Ike, and I are hosting a party at the Lazy Dog Lounge in Boulder, Colorado on Thursday, August 25th. The $20 cover ($10 for kids) will go to charity. We will have entertainment before the show, tales of adventure, and a live auction of memorabilia from the show. Plus special guests!

Expedition Impossible Behind the Scenes #8

Before I fill you in on some of the backstory from last week’s episode, I’d like to share a few comments that mean so much to Jeff, Ike, and me. The three of us suffered a lot over this month-long adventure. But sentiments like these make all that pain and discomfort worth it! Whitney wrote:

Hugh Herr Interview on NPR

My friend and fellow board member at No Barriers was interviewed today on NPR. As a teenager, Hugh lost both of his legs below the knees due to a mountaineering accident. Now he is a professor at MIT and still an amazing dude!  

Expedition Impossible Behind the Scenes #7

Prior to this episode, a lot of people have been asking about Ike because he has been underrepresented on the show. At last, Ike had his chance to shine! It’s crazy that there have been so many opportunities to get hurt—running along riverbeds, jumping off cliffs, charging down rocky slopes, plunging through snowfields—and Ike trashes his ankle getting into a taxi. In Morocco, there is a gutter between the sidewalk and the road and that’s what caught his foot.

Team No Limits entry to Expedition Impossible

Tonight's a big night for Team No Limits on Expedition Impossible! It's safe to say that this will be a game changer...and leaping off a waterfall was just a warm up for this episode. Will you be watching? Before Jeff, Ike, and I became reality TV stars, we had to get on the show. Part of the lengthy application process for all the teams was putting together a brief video that told the producers why we should be selected. As you can tell, we took this very seriously!

Curing Blindness in Nigeria

My good friend Geoff Tabin has climbed Everest and the other Seven Summits. He's also Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Director of the Division of International Ophthalmology at the John A. Moran Eye Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Over the past 15 years, Geoff has organized cataract removal projects around the globe, starting in the Himalaya and expanding to other regions.

Expedition Impossible Teaser #7

Here is a teaser commercial for Thursday's episode where Ike gets more attention than he wanted! ABC hasn't figured out online videos so this may or may not play on your browser.

Expedition Impossible Behind the Scenes #6

Another tough stage in Morocco! Lot’s of people commented on how beautiful the waterfall was at the beginning of the show, but I didn’t have a second to take in the beauty. Jeff and I were running down steep, broken, uneven stairs, crossing the river and scrambling along a narrow trail. Plenty of times a misstep to the left would have sent me plunging 50 feet off a cliff or tumbling down a rocky slope into the river.

People Magazine Q&A

Wow, I made the same page as Roseanne Barr! This is from the July 22nd issue of the "#1 celebrity magazine."

Expedition Impossible Behind the Scenes #5

Well ABC billed this episode as “A Blind Man’s Nightmare” and it lived up to the hype. Though relatively flat, this is the type of terrain that is brutally hard on me. The loose rocks and uneven ground are incredibly treacherous for sighted people too—witness John’s blown ankle. When I’m charging along behind Jeff or Ike, holding on to their pack, it’s impossible for them to warn me about every danger.

Expedition Impossible Behind the Scenes #4

As you can imagine, Team No Limits was pretty psyched for the stage in the Atlas Mountains! Jeff and I both live around 5,500 feet so we barely even felt the altitude. Ike is the flatlander who lives in Kansas. But he had climbed a 20,000-foot peak in Nepal with us back in October so he didn’t have much problem with the thin air either.

No Barriers Summit Major Success!

The 2011 No Barriers Summit was definitely our best yet! It had a big impact on everyone who attended. We had so many great participants who took advantage of their own adversities propelled themselves forward to new heights.

Nice NPR Story

Here's a nice story that rand today on some NPR stations in the Southwest region. It's about a program that I helped develop called Leading The Way, which takes teens who are visually impaired along with sighted teens on adventures around the world. The latest trip was to the Grand Canyon.

Expedition Impossible Behind the Scenes #2 and 3

Episode #2 As promised, here is some more of the backstory on Expedition Impossible. Things have been pretty hectic lately—the second episode aired during the opening ceremonies of the No Barriers Summit and I was giving a talk in London as the third episode aired—so I’m combining these reports.

BrainPort on BBC

Here's a short video of my climbing Castleton Tower, near Moab Utah, while using the BrainPort vision device. This is an excerpt from a TV special on BBC. It has shown in the UK but not on this side of the pond yet.

Adventure TEAM Challenge success!

To sum it up, this year’s Adventure TEAM Challenge represented true adventure. Billy Mattison, the race director, described adventure as, “Going forward when your destination and future are uncertain and there is risk.” Billy knows about risk and how to minimize it: he has won an Eco-Challenge, co-owns a rafting company (Timberline Tours), and is avalanche director of the Vail ski patrol. His goal was to create a course with acceptable risk, and plenty of challenge.

Expedition Impossible Premier Party

Last Thursday, Jeff Evans and I met up with 200+ friends at the Lazy Dog sports bar on the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder to watch the premier of Team No Limits and Expedition Impossible. It was a GREAT time but I must admit it was so noisy that I missed most of the show and had to watch it the next day.

Expedition Impossible Behind The Scenes #1

I hope you enjoyed the first episode of Expedition Impossible, which aired last night on ABC! Somebody sure did because the show was ranked #1 among adults 18 to 49, teens 12 to 17, and kids 2 to 11—the highest rating the network has had on Thursday night since the finale of Lost in 2008. While I can’t tell you anything about future episodes, as long as Team No Limits hangs in there, I will post some stories about what happened that you don’t see on the camera.

Get Psyched For The No Barriers Summit!

Rousing Performances and Inspiring Talks Each Day of the Summit 2011 We are getting really excited for the No Barriers Summit 2011 as it gets closer - Less than two weeks away now! Below we have listed some of the highlights from each day - these are not to be missed! ___________________________________________________________________ Opening Ceremony & Reception Thursday 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm Josh Blue Opening Ceremony Keynote Performer

Radio Interview With Mark Burnett

This morning, Mark Burnett and I were interviewed on the KOOL 105 Steve & Stephanie Morning show. Listen and you'll hear us talking about Indiana Jones and Expedition Impossible. KOOL 105 interview

A Note From My Friend Dean

The Inspiration of the Adventure TEAM Challenge BY DEAN STOECKER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ALTERYX, INC.

Home Boy Makes Good!

Great article in the Roanoke, Virginia newspaper about my man Jeff! The building excitement about Expedition Impossible is palpable. Hope you're planning to watch and cheer on Team No Limits!

An Oldie But A Goodie

Somebody posted my interview with Jay Leno from a decade ago!

Adventure TEAM Challenge this weekend

The World's Most Adventurous Adventure Race™ starts on Saturday on the Upper Colorado River. This will be the 5th running of the Adventure TEAM Challenge, proudly sponsored by Alteryx, and it promises to be the best yet. We have 13 teams and 65 athletes from all over the US competing in an event that includes rafting, mountain biking, crossing zip lines and rappelling.

Expedition Impossible preview

Here is a sneak peak of the first 15 minutes of Expedition Impossible. The show premiers next Thursday on ABC. Hope you're getting psyched to cheer on Team No Limits!

TV news appearance

Yesterday, I was interviewed by our local NBC affiliate, KUSA, for their morning show Colorado & Company. I talked about the upcoming No Barriers Summit as well as a variety of other topics. As usual, my dog Uri stole the babe's heart!

Team No Limits featured in TV Guide

The premier of Expedition Impossible is just over a week away! Check out the new issue of TV Guide, which spotlights No Limits as a "Team To Watch." If you are in the Colorado Front Range, join the "watch party" at the Lazy Dog on the Mall in Boulder every Thursday as long as Team No Limits lasts! The first episode airs on June 23rd on ABC.

10 Years Ago Today...

I stood on top of the world! We got 19 out of 21 to the summit of Everest--still a world record for the most members of one team to top out in a day. Many, many thanks to my incredible friends who came together and achieved the impossible!!

Denver Post article on Quandary ascent!

Great article in today's Denver Post about our super-sucessful climb of Quandary Peak on Friday. We got 55 people—including 4 blinds, 1 prosthetic, 2 PTSDs, and 1 TBI—to the top of the 14,265 foot peak! We enjoyed spectacular weather and incredible camaraderie for a true celebration of taking on adversity. More details soon. PS at the bottom of the article, be sure to click the Recommend It link so this get more attention.

New Expedition Impossible commercial

"We're in the Sahara, yo!" "It would be humiliating to lose to a blind guy!"

Expedition Impossible - change of date

ABC has moved the premier from June 21st to Thursday, June 23rd. Same bat time, same bat channel. Here's the first commercial for our adventure race:

Expedition Impossible - Meet the teams

Here's Jeff with his Hollywood hairdo while I'm sizing up Ike in case I have to carry him. http://abc.go.com/shows/expedition-impossible/meet-the-teams/ThemeGallery/771576

Virtual Everest

Ten years ago, I suffered mightily to become the first blind person to climb the highest peak in the world. If only I had waited! Now you can climb Everest without even leaving your desk. This new technology lets you experience Everest in 3D high resolution. It's just like the real thing...minus the coughing your lungs up, terrifying crevasse crossings, and blistering cold.

My Secret Is Out - Expedition Impossible!

As you may know, I dropped out of sight for about four weeks this past March and April. Now I can tell you that I was in Morocco participating in a new reality TV show called Expedition Impossible! This is the latest creation of Mark Burnett, the producer of Eco-Challenge adventure races and the Survivor and The Apprentice reality shows.

Powerful interview of a friend

My good friend Douglas Sidialo was recently interviewed by Lisa Mullins for PRI's The World radio broadcast. It's a very powerful piece and well worth the listen. In 1998, Douglas was blinded by flying shards of glass during the embassy bombing in Kenya that was ordered by Osama Bin Laden. While that terrible tragedy changed his life, Douglas used it as fuel for greatness.

Double your donation and win!

Support our anniversary climb of Elbert! Donate anything to Global Explorers today to win a $500 Moosejaw Climbing Package and every donation up to $10,000 will be matched! Go to: http://www.crowdrise.com/whatsyoureverest

Adventure TEAM Challenge on Twin Cities TV

The Adventure TEAM Challenge made the local news in Minneapolis yesterday morning. My friends at the Prouty Project have really stepped up to raise awareness for the world's most rewarding adventure race! The Prouty Project is an amazing company that helps other organizations with strategic planning, organizational development, and board development. They are sponsoring FIVE teams to attend the ATC this year!

More Dog News

You might recall that around this time last year, I wrote about a blind guy named Scott Cunningham and his guide dog Travis who hiked 95-miles of rugged terrain in the Scottish Highlands to raise money for charity. So far, the duo has raised about $200,000 for training guide dogs.

Fidelco article

Hey dog lovers, here's a link to a short article about me and Uri. It's on the web site of Fidelco, the company that provided all four of my guide dogs. Lots of German shepherd photos too! If you happen to like dogs, and wine, and supporting good charities, then you're in luck! You can enjoy all three by purchasing some very tasty Fidelco wines.

Training Uri, the education of a guide dog

People are always curious about my guide dogs. I sometimes think these noble animals get more attention than me at events. Among the most frequent questions that I am asked is, "how do they train a guide dog?" Since I just got Uri a few months ago, we decided to show you!

Blind Seeing Blind

Here are a few interesting stories that I've run across lately: a blind solo cyclist, a blind waterskier setting a sighted world record, and a blind runner training solo for an ultramarathon.

Registration for No Barriers Summit now open!

No Barriers recently opened online registration for Summit 2011. We anticipate Summit 2011 filling early so please register soon to guarantee your place! Registration is $75 for the 4-day Summit and includes access to all the offerings including: Opening Ceremony with Josh Blue, all adventure clinics sessions, full access to Innovation Village and No Barriers University Presentations and dinners. (Limited scholarship are available - please contact jackiec@NoBarriersUSA.org for details.)

Elbert Fundraising Climb

Hard to believe but it's been 10 years since I climbed Everest! A lot has happened since then and my team and I are still working together to give back after the mountains have given us so much. Our latest effort was the Soldiers To The Summit expedition and now we are working on making the film happen.

Soldiers in Outside!

Be sure to pick up a copy of the April issue of Outside Magazine for a feature story on our climb last fall! It's on newsstands now. Or you can read the article online now.

No Barriers Summit Honorary Committee

Wow, I am super excited! We have a powerhouse team backing the No Barriers Summit including our senior US Senator and the state Governor. It's no small feat to get major hitters like these backing an event, which speaks volumes about the significance of our Summit. Don't forget to mark you calendars and join us in Winter Park, CO from June 30 to July 3rd! Press Release:

Conquering The Climb

In case you missed the premier this morning, here is the show. Great stuff! This 1/2 hour special about our Soldiers To The Summit expedition aired on The Pentagon Channel. Much of the footage came from Michael Brown and the folks at Serac Adventures who are now busily at work editing the full-length movie. You can learn more about the film on the newly launched web site. We are actively working on raising funds for the film and a nationwide tour that will feature many of the soldiers.

Soldiers on the Pentagon!

A quick heads-up for a show premiering Monday morning (3/7/11) about our Soldiers To The Summit expedition. RECON is a monthly 1/2 hour news show that airs on The Pentagon Channel and features stories highlighting accomplishments of U.S. military men and women. Many local cable providers offer TPC but if you don't have that option, you can watch the show on their web site: www.pentagonchannel.mil. We haven't seen it yet but this should be worth watching!

Quad Amputee Kayaking

I often speak about using adversity as a fuel to create greatness. There are many examples of this that I describe in my book, The Adversity Advantage, but I'd like to share yet one more. My friend and kayak instructor, Chris Wiegand, recently started teaching a new student how to kayak. Why is that remarkable?

Denver Fundraising Event

If you are in the Denver area, I hope you can attend our No Barriers fundraiser next Wednesday (February 23rd) at the Denver Athletic Club. I will be teaming up with Neil Duncan to give a presentation about the many ways of taking on adversity and using it to your advantage. We will also have a preview of the movie about our Soldiers to the Summit expedition!

A Soldier Reflects

It's been about three months since we returned from Nepal and our successful ascent of Lobuche. For many of us, it has been a whirlwind of activity as we try to make the movie of our climb become a reality. Others on our team are busy with their own projects. Although we are all immersed in our lives here at home, each of us has been deeply affected by our experiences on that adventure.

I am honored

It came as a pleasant surprise recently that the Connecticut Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame named a wrestling scholarship in my honor. The annual $500 award will go to a senior at any high school in the state who has wrestled for at least three years and demonstrated the ability to overcome exceptional adversity. According to the announcement:

Rolling with the Interior Secretary

Right before Christmas, I was kayaking with my friend and kayak coach Chris Wiegand in Confluence Park in front of the REI in Denver. This is the park Chris helped design, along with the Golden kayak park. It was a chilly December day and Chris had guided me successfully down the course twice with only one wave hitting me broadside and forcing me to do my first real (non-practice) eskimo roll. I rode a couple wave trains upsidedown and facing upstream and when I popped back up, some other paddlers along with us started applauding, along with some river-side spectators.

Meeting Uri

It's always an exciting moment when any of us meets their new dog for the first time. For a blind person, their new guide dog is a special gift who not only gives us love but also freedom. My new dog, Uri, is a two-year-old purebred German shepherd from a Bavarian bloodline. He was provided to me by Fidelco, a fantastic organization in Connecticut that specializes in raising and training guide dogs.

Caption Contest!

My buds Jeff and Ike had a little fun with me last week and a friend took this picture. We posted it on Facebook and asked people to write a caption. 18 responses so far and some pretty good ones. Enjoy! Ruby Roof — Heading in a new direction for 2011...

The Adversity Advantage – Excerpt #4

The start of a new year is always a good time to reflect upon the past and to look forward to the future. It is a chance to rethink our attitudes and viewpoints. Rather than falling into predictable patterns and thinking the same old ways, we can make changes and try new approaches that will yield better results.

Support Matt—vote now, vote often!

Mike Moniz, CEO of Circadence, was a major sponsor of our Soldiers to the Summit Expedition. His son, Matt, is a nominee for National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. This summer, at age 12, with his dad, Matt climbed to the highest peak in all 50 states, including formidable and dangerous Mt. McKinley/Denali (20,320') -- in just 43 days. Matt is also well on his way to climbing the Seven Summits, with Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua already added to his Denali feat.

Seasons Greetings!

As the end of the year approaches, I look back on a 2010 that was exhausting, but exciting and fulfilling too. I had many highlights but the absolute apex was my Soldiers to the Summit Expedition in October. I was recently combing through www.soldierstothesummit.org and found two letters, one from the mother of our soldier teammate, Mat Nyman, and the second from Brian Smith, who leads 3DATS, one of our sponsors. It's a satisfying feeling to know this climb made a difference in both of their lives.

BrainPort wins major grant

For a couple of years now, I have been testing an exciting technology called BrainPort, which helps blind people "see" via a camera and a device that translates images into sensations on the tongue. It's pretty amazing stuff!

Full Scholarships to Cambodia

Students, would you like to visit Cambodia for 18-days next summer...for free?! If you are in high school and between 15 and 17 years, you can apply for a fully-funded cross-cultural exchange program that is operated by one of my favorite organizations, Global Explorers.

Farewell to Willa, Hello to Uri

Many don’t know that at the beginning of last summer, my family and I had to say goodbye to Willa, my guide dog of eight years. Willa was a gentle little lady, beautiful and dainty, and incredibly smart. However, she was actually a “reject.” She had gone to a blind guy, who didn’t have very good mobility skills, and Willa would take advantage of him—when he wasn’t paying attention at the grocery store, she’d lead him to the dog food aisle. When he’d command her to lead him to the front exit, she’d take him around in a big circle right back to the dog food isle.

1st International Blind Climbing Comp

This weekend, my friend Koichiro Kobayashi (better known as Koba) will be running the 1st International Blind Climbing Competition, which is being held in the Chiba Prefecture (about 30 minutes from downtown Tokyo). This is a major event that is sponsored by the Japanese Mountaineering Association. I was invited to compete but regrettably I had a scheduling conflict. I climbed Kilimanjaro in 2005 with Koba, and was actually part of his wedding ceremony at the base of the mountain.

Book Release - The Summit

My friend and guide, Eric Alexander, has just released his own book. Entitled The Summit: Faith Beyond Everest's Death Zone, this is his account of our famous climb, as well as our ascents of Elbrus and Kosciusko. Eric was also with me on Ama Dablam and Alpamayo. In addition, he has lead other disabled climber up other summits (including Denali, Aconcagua, and Kilimanjaro) and he teaches disabled skiing at Vail. He also directs Adventures Beyond Limits, an organization that educates and encourages youth with disabilities in the outdoors.

Expedition News

Our Soldiers To The Summit expedition is continuing to attract media attention around the nation. In the Phoenix newspaper, Dan Sidles and Kevin Cherilla were featured in a big article. And recently Chad Butrick and I were guests on the morning show of our NBC television station in Denver (click the link for an article and video of our appearance).

The Adversity Advantage – Excerpt #3

Here in the United States, we are celebrating Thanksgiving. This is our annual day to take stock and acknowledge all of our blessings. Even when there is adversity in your life, no matter how great, there is always something for which we can give thanks. This excerpt from my book, The Adversity Advantage, drives that point home. It definitely makes us thankful for all the ways we can influence our lives and futures.

2nd Race Across The Sky screening

Attention friends living in Austin, Boston, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Colorado Springs, Columbia, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Greenville, Los Angeles, Madison, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, or San Francisco areas!

No Barriers in Eldorado!

While I was away in Nepal this October climbing with our soldiers, the team at No Barriers USA held an exciting event near Boulder, Colorado. No Barriers is the non-profit organization on which I serve as a director. The purpose of this event was to raise awareness about the upcoming No Barriers Summit that will be held June 30-July 3 next summer in nearby Winter Park, Colorado.

Passing of a Great Woman

It saddens me to report the passing of Kathy Urschel, an incredible woman who was the epitome of my message about using adversity as fuel instead of letting it overwhelm you. At the age of 21, Kathy had lost her vision and by 28 she also lost her hearing (later restored with cochlear implants). Most people who had gone blind and deaf at a young age would resort to bitterness and woe-is-me outlook on life. Not Kathy! She took on adversity and showed the world that it wasn't going to keep her down.

Veterans Day Tribute

This powerful and beautiful video tribute is part of the footage that Michael Brown brought back from our Soldiers To The Summit Expedition. Please watch it and share with your friends!

Lobuche trip report

I’m finally home from my Soldiers to the Summit expedition after what seems like a long time away. I’ve actually been home for a week now dealing with a case of giardia (a nasty waterborne parasite) on the expedition that manifested itself during my last few days in country. As they say, you can leave Nepal, but it doesn’t leave you. So I’ve been laying low over the last week trying to kick this tough illness. Seems there’s often a price to pay for reaching for big things.

The Adversity Advantage - Excerpt #2

As you may know, I just returned from a month long expedition to the Himalayas helping to lead a team of injured soldiers to a 20,000+ foot summit near Everest. One team member, Steve Baskis, is not only blind but has pretty serious nerve damage on his left hand. We had three amputees, three folks who struggle with post-traumatic stress, and others who struggle with brain injuries. To use a positive pessimism, "All our soldiers have serious disabilities, but at least we're attempting a dangerous high-altitude Himalayan giant."

A Lost Friend

The euphoria of our successful Soldiers To The Summit expedition has been dampened by the tragic news of the loss of our friend, Chhewang Nima Sherpa. Only seven days after he stood with us on the summit of Lobuche, Chhewang was fixing ropes near the summit of Baruntse, which is one valley to the east. He was at about 23,000 feet when a corniced ridge collapsed, sweeping him away. An immediate rescue was launched but it eventually had to be called off due the danger to rescuers.

"Race Across The Sky" Film Premier!

On Thursday, November 4th, the film about this year's Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race will premier at the Paramount Theater in Denver. Called "Race Across The Sky," this promises to be even better than the movie they made the year before!

Call for Nominations and Applications!

Do you know an exceptional student (between the ages of 14 and 21) who would benefit from a unique travel and leadership program? If so, or that's you, I encourage you to apply for the Rim To River Expedition! This trip will be from July 6 to July 17 next summer and the deadline for applications is November 15th.

Final Team Call from Kathmandu

Please join our Soldiers To The Summit team for a live broadcast from Kathmandu! It starts at 11 AM Eastern time and will last about an hour. You can ask the soldiers questions about their experience, either by typing them in or by voice if your computer has a microphone. Here is the registration link for Wednesday's final Lobuche webinar: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/685125048

Summit Day was...

Check out this great little bit of ambush journalism by my friend and professional photographer Didrik Johnck!

A Climber's View

Brad Bull was with me on our Everest climb almost a decade ago and we've stayed friends ever since. On that expedition, he reached the summit with his dad, Sherman Bull, and they became the first father-son team to climb Everest (Sherman was also the oldest summiter, though that record has since been surpassed). When I brought up the subject of the Soldiers to the Summit Expedition, both Brad and Sherman leapt at the opportunity!

Anchor Center Hike

Now that our successful Soldiers to the Summit expedition is on the way home from Lobuche, I'd like to share some of the other things that have been going on. Not all adventures have to be big and sometimes small adventures can inspire as well.

Soldier's First Hand Account

Check out this personal account of our Lobuche climb by former soldier Chad Butrick. This was written while the experience was still fresh and raw in his mind. After losing his leg, Chad was actually told that he should give up an active life. I think his post gives a sense of what all our soldiers are feeling now.

Soldiers on the Summit!

We did it! On October 13th, eight of our injured soldiers reached the 20,075-foot summit of Lobuche. These men and women overcame their injuries, gave it their all, and achieved a great victory—not only for themselves but for other veterans, disabled people, and all of our sponsors.

Meet Soldier Hero Chad Jukes

It's going to take a while to upload all the photos and videos from our summit day. In the meantime, let me tell you a bit about one of our more experienced soldiers. It's been over a year since we first met and teamed up to climb a famous 365-foot ice climb outside Telluride, Colorado called Bridal Veil Falls. During that ascent, Chad impressed me with his level-headedness and willpower. So it's no surprise that he was right there with us at the top of Lobuche!

Eight Soldiers to the Summit!

I'm happy to report that our team achieved our goal! All eleven soldiers made it to high camp, however, three elected to make that their summit. The remaining eight soldiers—Steve Baskis, Chad Butrick, Aaron Isaacson, Chad Jukes, Nicolette Maroulis, Justin Moore, Matt Nyman, and Dan Sidles—aided by our team of climbers and Sherpas reached the top of Lobuche on Thursday. It was a long, hard day and we're all exhausted yet elated. We will make our way down to Base Camp in the morning and give you more details. The entire team really pulled together to make this challenge a huge success.

Base Camp video tour

Check out my buddy Luis giving a tour of our Base Camp. As you can tell, Luis is a bundle of energy... little wonder that he's climbed Everest 6 times!

Meet Soldier Hero Ashley Crandall

Greetings from Base Camp! It seems like it's taken forever to get here, though it's actually just been a year of planning and a week of trekking. Now we are finally poised to climb our mountain. Getting this far has been a true challenge for everyone involved with the hardest work about to begin. While we all know that we are taking on huge adversity, with that risk comes even bigger rewards.

Spiritual Warrior: A Mom’s Take on Her Lost Son

Lona Parton, our trekker who lost her son spoke last night in front of the group. She told us about her amazing son Tyler who died in Afghanistan. He was a graduate of West Point, fluent in Arabic, and a musical genius who loved to climb mountains and play his guitar at the top. She told us in the months after his death she also wanted to die, but then she realized she needed to live on to be a good mother to her to remaining children. Her second son is about to graduate from West Point and will soon be deployed overseas.

Meet Soldier Hero Matt Nyman

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Matt Nyman has been having a tough time, particularly on the descents, both with his amputates leg and his other foot. Fortunately, he has been using a new innovative product from a company called SideStix that has allowed him to soldier on. As you read more about Matt, it will be obvious that he has the mental and physical toughness that it takes to climb a Himalayan peak!

Meet Soldier Hero Kathrine Raggazino

On our trek into the mountain, I have partnered with Katherine Raggazino, better known as Rizzo, as my guide. A big part of any team is the pure excitement and joy that one person can bring to everyone. On that count, Rizzo has given all of us an extra boost of energy.

Trials on the Trail

October 10, 10:30am PHERICHE – I’m writing from Pheriche, 14,200 feet, and I’m blown away how well the team is performing. No major altitude sickness or injuries. In Namche Bazaar, we had a team discussion and each of us devoted the next day’s hike to someone on the team. I picked Katherine Ragazzino (aka: Rizzo). A couple months ago on our Colorado training hike she guided me for the 1st time ringing a bear bell in front of me and pointing out obstacles. Out of Namche we hiked together again up the long steep hill into Tengboche.

Meed Soldier Hero Ike Isaacson

By any standard, Aaron "Ike" Isaacson is one of the toughest people I have ever met. His commitment to this team, and his fellow soldiers around the globe, is absolute. Like many of us, he has faced incredible adversity which he has learned to use as fuel that drives him on to greater things.

Soldiers Press Coverage

Even over here in Nepal, we are hearing about news reports on our expedition. My buddy Kevin Cherilla got a glamour boy photo and a cool article in his local paper (The Arizona Republic) and web site. Please let us know if you see any other media coverage around the country. We're heading out from Namche into the big mountains! This is when the real work begins for everyone.

Meet Soldier Hero Steve Baskis

We're on our way into the Khumbu now. So far, the expedition has been running relatively smoothly. Which isn't to say there haven't been problems but you always have to expect problems on any complicated mission. While we are trekking into Base Camp, I'd like to introduce you to some of our soldier heroes. Since I am blind, I of course share a special connection with 24-year-olde Steve Baskis. But while I lost my vision gradually at an early age, Steve lost his sight literally in the blink of an eye.

Kathmandu: Our Hero’s Journey Begins

After a year of fundraising, organizing, and recruiting I can’t believe we’re finally here in Kathmandu ready to embark on our adventure to climb Lobuche. I’m really proud of the team for all their hard work and training and I’m grateful for all the donors, sponsors, and World TEAM Sports community who have got us to this point.

"Into The Wind" premiers tonight!

As many of you know, I consider Terry Fox, the Canadian who defied cancer and set out to run coast-to-coast after losing a leg, a personal hero. He inspired me, and countless others, to take on our adversities. In fact, I mentioned Terry just the other day in the first excerpt from my book, The Adversity Advantage.

Great Achievement on El Cap!

Congrats to Steve Wampler! Last week, he became the first person with cerebral palsy to climb El Capitan in Yosemite. Until he began is six-day ascent, Steve had never spent more than 24 hours out of his powered wheel chair. He estimates that he made 20,000 pull-ups during the 3,000 foot climb.

The Adversity Advantage - Excerpt #1

As you hopefully know by know, the new Deluxe Edition of my book, The Adversity Advantage, has recently been released. I am very excited about this latest version, which is both more exciting to read and more illustrative of my message. Over the next few months, I will provide some excerpts that should give you a taste of what is inside.

Soldiers to the Summit PSA's

This month and next, you may run across a full-page ad in national media for our upcoming expedition. I did a little horse trading and got us $250,000 worth of coverage for free! Keep your eyes out in Time, Newsweek, The Week, Us News & World Report, and Sports Illustrated! Please post here where you saw the ad.

No Barriers Summit - June 2011, Plan ahead!

I'm excited to help bring a major international event to my backyard! Next summer, Winter Park, Colorado we will be the setting for the fifth No Barriers Summit. Scheduled from June 30th to July 3rd, 2011, this is the world's top gathering of scientists, innovators, and disabled outdoor athletes. The No Barriers Summit is a unique opportunity for people to check out the latest assistive technologies, meet some amazing people who have turned adversity to their advantage, and participate in a wide range of clinics and sympossiums.

The River Unseen - Blind Kayaking

Recently, I went whitewater kayaking on a section of the Colorado River with my friend Chris Wiegand. Chris paddled a K2 with Skyler up front while I paddled my solo kayak. This section is mostly Class II whitewater, which is good training for me to work on my skills such as eddying out and rolling. If all goes well, I plan on kayaking the Grand Canyon in a year when we take a group of disabled students down on rafts.

Soldiers to the Summit 3DATS Promo

Our Soldiers to the Summit expedition is picking up a lot of momentum with many sponsors chipping into help. For the architects among us, 3DATS and CGarchitect have partnered up to offer 50% off their line of books with ALL proceeds going to the soldiers!

First Pitch

Earlier this summer, when I was in Columbus Ohio to speak to the Boy Scouts, I was invited to throw the first pitch at a baseball game. Believe it or not, I got the ball right over home plate! Here's the video to prove it:

Blind Football

For the minority here in the US, it's called soccer. But whatever you call it, here's an interesting story about the Blind World Championships. I think I'll stick to climbing, skiing, biking, and kayaking. http://www.wired.com/playbook/2010/08/blind-soccer

Biking Blind, the Leadville Trail 100

Wow. What a sufferfest! Racing the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race is easily one of the hardest things I have ever done; it's almost 15,000 feet of elevation gain, most above 10,000 feet.

Training Soldiers in Colorado

Last week, our Soldiers To The Summit team (http://soldierstothesummit.org/) got everyone together for an amazing training session here in Colorado. Though we've all been in virtual contact for the past few months, this was the first opportunity for everyone on the expedition to meet in person. (The only climber missing was Luis Benitez. But since he was still heading home from an attempt on K2, we'll cut him some slack!)

Presidential Encouragement

Last week, we held our training session for the soldiers on our upcoming expedition. These men and women have all sacrificed greatly in behalf of our country. Our goal on this climb is to both give back to these heroes and to inspire others.

More News About Soldiers

Our Soldiers To The Summit Expedition is getting more good media attention. Here is an article in The Denver Post about our recent training session.

Soldiers in the News

Here is an article about our Soldiers to the Summit climb that ran today in the Boulder newspaper: http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_15689469

Adversity Advantage pre-sale

I've recently received a few advance copies of my newest book and am super excited! Although it bears the same name as the previous edition, this new deluxe version is infinitely better. We completely re-worked the text to make it more readable, I've added numerous stories from my adventures to illustrate points, and there are over 30 color photos.

Interviewed for Outside blog

As many of you know, I'm racing the Leadville 100 bike race in about ten days. Here's a recent interview I gave about this craziness to Outside magazine's blog.

Adventure TEAM Challenge race report

In late June, we held the 4th annual Adventure Team Challenge (ATC) and it was definitely the best race yet! If you missed my previous blog post, this is a two-day event where each 5-person team has at least two disabled athletes, one of whom is a wheelchair user.

Wheelchair Bound?!

Next time you see someone "bound" to a wheelchair, perhaps you'll think of Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham. Now 18, Aaron was born with spina bifida, a birth defect of the spinal cord, but that hasn't slowed him down. Check out Aaron's web site for more amazing feats!

Climbing Interview

If you're interested, I was recently interviewed by Climbing magazine about my Alpamayo ascent.

Words of Encouragement - Forget the Suffering

Sometimes I have the opportunity to help school groups by offering words of encouragement. Particularly for blind students, hearing it from another blind person means more than what a sighted person tells them. Recently my friend Chris Lynch asked me to speak to his group of students before they made a grueling climb of Mount Baldy. At 10,064 feet, this is the highest point in Los Angeles County and the third highest peak in Southern California.

Meet My Kenyan Namesake

But it’s not what you think! My friend, Joash from Nairobi, told me, if we summited Kenya, he'd name his unborn son after me. Darndest thing—he did just that. Meet Oliver Weihenmayer Nambute.

Rollins Pass training ride

As some of you know, my tandem partner, John Lemon, and I are training for the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, which is just a month away. We've been doing local rides on the road bike during the week and getting out for longer rides on my mountain bike on the weekends. This past Sunday, rode over 11,680-foot Rollins Pass--both ways!

Alpamayo — First Blind Ascent

Alpamayo is a mountain that pulls at the heartstrings of all climbers. Even though I can’t see it, I know that it is one of the world’s most beautiful mountains. Anyone with a sense of adventure who does see its dramatic southwest face can’t help but imagine following the natural lines to the summit. I’ve been thinking about this mountain for years and finally made it happen.

Third Time's A Charm - Guest Blog

Occasionally, I like to share inspirational stories from friends who are doing great things. Here is a terrific race report by Trish Downing — I love her spirit! A lifelong athlete, Trish was paralyzed from the waist down in September 2000 when a car turned in front of her bike. Rather than let adversity overwhelm her, she took on the new challenges and is now competing again as a wheelchair athlete.

Alpamayo Teaser

If you’ve been following me on FaceBook or Twitter, then you know I recently returned from a successful climb in Peru. My friend, Eric Alexander, and I traveled to the Cordillera Blanca to climb Alpamayo—a 19,500 foot peak that easily ranks as one of the most beautiful mountains on the planet. We are still processing all of our photos and videos, so this post is mostly a teaser. I’ll get the full trip report up in a couple of weeks. But I’ve had so many people asking about our climb that I wanted to tell you a bit about our ascent now.

Adventure TEAM Challenge around the corner!

In just a couple of weeks, 5-person teams from across the nation will converge on Leadville, Colorado for what is truly an amazing race. The 4th Adventure TEAM Challenge is a two-day event featuring trail running, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, rappelling, zip lines, and race orienteering. What sets this apart from other adventure races: each team has at least two disabled athletes, one of whom is a wheelchair user.

Backpacker Magazine Article - Blind Photography

Take a look at the current (June 2010) issue of Backpacker for a brief article about how I learned to become a photographer. Now I know what you’re thinking: a blind photographer is as much of an oxymoron as a blind climber! Well it just so happens I learned to take photographs on a climbing trip.

Alabama commencement address

I’ve been traveling a lot lately, both for adventures and corporate talks. It’s an exhausting schedule but sometimes an event really stands out. Recently I had the great honor to give the commencement address to 1,000 graduating students at the University of South Alabama. With over 10,000 people attending, I talked about becoming a modern-day alchemist by taking lead and turning it into gold.

No Barriers Fundraiser

A couple weeks ago, I visited Minneapolis to participate in a fundraiser for No Barriers USA. This non-profit organization's goal is to promote innovative ideas, approaches, and assistive technologies that help people with disabilities push through their own personal barriers to live full and active lives. The local newspaper ran a front page story about my visit and we had a terrific turnout.

Veni, Vidi, Vici — Ham and Eggs Couloir

After great ice climbing in the Adirondaks and Scotland this past winter with my climbing partner Ian Osteyee, we were ready for another big adventure. This time, we set our sights on Ham and Eggs Couloir on Moose’s Tooth in the Ruth Gorge of the Alaska Range. We rounded out our team with Jay Abbey, a 56-year-old granddad and total stud, who is a friend of Ian’s. Although Moose’s Tooth is not particularly high (10,335 feet), it is just 15 miles from Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America.

Spring Skiing Fever

This spring, I have been training for two big climbs that have been on my tick list for quite some time: the Moose’s Tooth in the Alaska Range (stay tuned for a trip report) and Alpamayo in the Peruvian Andes. Both ascents consist of long, sustained ice climbing and are a good test of physical and mental endurance. In addition to physical conditioning in the gym, I also try to spend a few long, hard days in the cold and wind to train my mind against the challenges of the mountain.

Team Sight Unseen scores award!

I am very excited for a friend of mine, Kyle Coon, who recently won $10,000 from the Gore-Tex Experience More Challenge to climb Aconcagua, the tallest peak in the Western Hemisphere, with his friends, Justin Grant (who is visually impaired), Brad Jaffke, Peter Green, Joseph Mayfield, and Ben Meyer. The name of their expedition is Team Sight Unseen.

The NEW Adversity Advantage

It’s been a major team effort but we just shipped the final edits for the new deluxe edition of my book, The Adversity Advantage to the publisher! This new edition features many stories from my expeditions to the Seven Summits that tie into the key points my co-author, Dr. Paul Stoltz, and I make about turning adversity on its head. There are also 31 color photos from the climbs to give you a better feel for what it’s like to ascend the highest summit on each continent.

Adirondack Ice Climbs

A little time warp back to January. Wanted to tell you about this earlier but we had to overcome some technology challenges…mountain climbing is easier than fighting computers!

Go Scott and Travis!

I want to give a big shout of support to Scott Cunningham and his guide dog Travis! At this moment, they are in the midst of hiking the West Highland Way again, a 95-mile long trail across rugged Scottish Highlands terrain. Scott lost his eyesight, in just a few weeks, 16 years ago to a rare eye disease. Since then he and Travis have hiked all of the major trails in the UK while raising money to train guide dogs.

Access Fundraiser at Neptunes - April 8th

I hope everyone in the Front Range will come see my show at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder on Thursday, April 8th. Tickets are $7 and 100% of the proceeds go to the Access Fund, the non-profit organization dedicated to keeping climbing areas open.

Point Five Gully

This February, I crossed the pond to climb one of the most famous mountains in the world, Ben Nevis. Although only 4,409 feet tall, “The Ben” is the highest peak in the British Isles and it experiences some of the most vicious weather on the planet. Indeed, hundreds of climbers and hikers have either died or had epic rescues on this mountain—as we would soon witness!

$75k Raised for Boys & Girls Club

Last week I was honored to be the keynote speaker at a breakfast benefit for the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver. According to Patrick Hayes, the Vice President of Development, "We had almost twice as many people as last year, and we raised more than $75,000!!! We exceeded our fund-raising goal for the morning, ensuring that we will be able provide camp experiences for 500+ underserved kids this summer. Plus, we know others in attendance will still be sending in their gift in the coming days.

My New Blog!

Welcome to my new blog! Many of you know that we have been offering a free email newsletter for several years. This has been great for telling about bigger adventures and projects. However, the format was not conducive to brief updates about shorter trips, upcoming talks, and noteworthy news from friends and the non-profit organizations that I support.

Education Site Rollout

I am really excited to announce the rollout of an upgraded Education section on my web site. My team and I have developed an interactive site with a curriculum that will engage students and bring my message to life in the classroom.

Blind and Naked - Erik Climbs the Legendary "Naked Edge" in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado

In November, Erik succeeded on one of his most difficult climbs yet! Sure, climbing Everest and the rest of the Seven Summits wasn't easy. And the Nose on Yosemite's El Capitan wasn't a walk in the park either. But from the standpoint of technical difficulty, the Naked Edge in Colorado's Eldorado Canyon is one of the most challenging.

Blind Skier's Edge Ski Clinics - Breckenridge, Colorado

This week, December 10-11, Erik and his ski guide, Jeff Ulrich, will be showcasing their blind skiing and guiding clinics at the Hartford Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge, Colorado. The program they developed, called the Blind Skier's Edge, is an innovative technique which hopes to attract more blind skiers and guides to a sport that has seen marked decline in recent years.

Registration Open for 2010 Adventure TEAM Challenge

Last summer, Erik and his team competed in the third annual Adventure TEAM Challenge, a 2-day multi-sport adventure race through the wilderness outside of Vail, Colorado. Erik helped found the race four years ago as a way for athletes with all kinds of challenges to get out and test their capabilities. Teams of five each include at least two disabled athletes, one of whom must be wheel-chair bound. The race has flourished, and now includes numerous members of the military, elite paralympic athletes and weekend warriors alike. The non-profit World T.E.A.M.

Erik Climbs Mt. Ararat, The Mythical Resting Place of Noah's Ark

Rising high into the thin dry air of eastern Turkey, Mt. Ararat stands at almost 17,000 feet. Some geologists believe Ararat to be the largest single-mass of mountain in the world, since it rises uninterrupted from the surrounding plains at 2,000 feet, while most other large peaks stand in mountain ranges with less differential.