Mount Everest is a mountain that has the history of turning brave, bold, experienced climbers into corpses in a matter of seconds.
One could make the argument that it has been designed by nature to keep people off it.
In Tibet, you grow up around the power and magnificence of it, and you’re told stories of ghost and goblins that live on the mountain by your parents so they scare you enough to stay away from it.
Mount Everest is guided by the unexplained rules of nature and if you’re on that mountain and nature decides to play a game of black jack…
well, as the old saying goes, “The house always wins.”
Of course, as with anything, boldness has a god like mechanism that can keep someone alive under almost any circumstances.
As Shakespeare said in his play Cymbeline, “Boldness be my friend! Arm me, audacity, from head to foot.” It somehow pulls people out of situations when they’re looking death in the face.
This is exactly what Erik Weihenmayer did when he decided to take on the Goliath known as Everest.
Erik’s story was covered in a Time Magazine article in 2001 called, “Blind to Failure.”
Upon having the idea to climb mount Everest he received a letter from Jon Krakauer.
Krakauer was a man who knew the power of Everest and detailed it in his book, Into Thin Air. A book about how eight men got killed by a “rogue storm” on top of the summit.
He told Erik not to climb the mountain that it was too dangerous.
A lot of people told Erik not to climb the mountain, as he details in his book Touch The Top of The World.
In an excerpt from Touch The Top of The World from mountaineer Ed Viesturs:
“More power to him, and I support his going,” Viesturs said. “But I wouldn’t want to take him up there myself. Because he can’t see, he can’t assess the weather. . . . When I guide, I like people to become self sufficient. With Erik, they’ll have to be helping him, watching out for him every step of the way.”
“It was tough going forward in the face of experts who thought I would be a liability, risking my own life and those of my teammates. I had only shaken Viesturs’s hand once, so I couldn’t figure out how he presumed to know so much about my strengths and ability to contribute to a team. He hadn’t seen the sixteen years I’d been climbing, learning rope management, crevasse rescue, and avalanche safety; he surely hadn’t seen the days spent on big walls when my teammates hung from anchors placed by the blind guy. Or the years I spent becoming independent, learning to build snow walls, cook meals on gas stoves, and set up tents in whiteouts. Viesturs hadn’t seen any part of my life except that I was blind. Truth be told, I had heard all the criticism before.”
On May 25, 2001 Erik Weihemayer was the first blind person to climb Mount Everest. In 2008, he completed the Seven Summits, meaning he climbed the tallest peaks on all seven continents.
A few years ago he decided to take a group of blind Tibetan children to climb Mount Everest, which is portrayed in the movie “Blindsight.”
You can find more about Erik at www.touchthetopoftheworld.com
Editor: Brianna Bemel