Googled: Erik Weihenmayer ’91, H’03

Erik Weihenmayer has been blind since the age of 13 and a professional outdoor adventurer for more than two decades. In 2001, the Coloradan appeared on the cover of Time as the first blind person to scale Mount Everest (a feat recounted in his 2002 memoir, Touch the Top of the World). Seven years later, with his ascent of the 16,024-foot Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, he checked off mountaineering’s Seven Summits challenge—scaling the tallest peak on each of the seven continents.

On September 7, Weihenmayer will climb into a one-man kayak at Lee’s Ferry, Arizona, and begin a 277-mile journey down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. He will be guided by a voice in his ear, that of a trailing kayaker who will be wearing a microphone transmitting to an earpiece worn by Weihenmayer. After the “slow and methodical” experience of high-altitude ascents, Weinhenmayer says, navigating the river—with its more than 200 rapids, whirlpools, and falls—will be “the scariest thing I’ve ever done.”

Weihenmayer studied English and communication at Boston College. When he is not climbing, skiing, paddling, skydiving, or biking, the married father of two travels internationally as a motivational speaker for the likes of Apple, Walmart, and Pfizer.

This feature was posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 and is filed under Research.