|Birth Day:||September 23, 1968|
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He went completely blind when he was thirteen years old from a disease called retinoschisis.
Weihenmayer was born September 23, 1968, in Princeton, New Jersey. At 15 months old, he was diagnosed with juvenile retinoschisis, with blindness the expected outcome by age 13. At age 4, Weihenmayer and his family moved to Coral Gables, Florida, and, in 1975, to Hong Kong, where Erik attended the Hong Kong International School for grades 2-6. As he was going blind, Weihenmayer fought against using canes and learning Braille. He wanted to hang on to his life in the sighted world. Upon returning to America, Weihenmayer and his family settled in Connecticut, where he attended Weston High School. He eventually turned to wrestling and became a prominent force in high school, captaining his team and representing Connecticut in the National Junior Freestyle Wrestling Championship in Iowa.
Weihenmayer’s first big mountain was Denali, in 1995. In 2004, with Jeff Evans, Sabriye Tenberken and six blind Tibetan teenagers, he climbed on the north side of Everest to 21,500 feet, higher than any group of blind people have ever stood. A documentary based on the project, Blindsight, was released in 2006.
On May 25, 2001, Weihenmayer became the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. For this feat, he was honored with a Time Magazine cover story. Of his Everest ascent, Time stated, "There is no way to put what Erik has done in perspective because no one has ever done anything like it. It is a unique achievement, one that in the truest sense pushes the limits of what man is capable of."
He also completed the Seven Summits in September 2002, joining 150 mountaineers at the time who had accomplished that feat, but as the only climber who was blind. In 2008, he also added Carstensz Pyramid in West Papua New Guinea, the tallest peak in Australasia, thus completing the more respected Seventh Summit.
Farther Than the Eye Can See, the documentary of his Everest ascent, is ranked by Men’s Journal as one of the top 20 adventure films of all time. The film won first prize at 21 international film festivals and was nominated for two Emmy awards. In 2004, Erik and six Everest team members trained a group of blind Tibetan students and then lead them to 22,000 feet on the north side of Everest. Blindsight, the documentary of the ascent, won People’s Choice Awards at the Los Angeles, London, and Berlin Film Festivals, and was released in theaters in 2007 to major accolades from film critics.
Erik has made it his life’s work to empower those who are marginalized and pushed to the sidelines to find purpose and fulfillment in their lives. In 2005, he co-founded No Barriers, a nonprofit organization with the tagline, “What’s within us is stronger than what’s in our way.” The organization helps people of diverse backgrounds and abilities develop a No Barriers Mindset - to attack challenges head on, problem solve, build winning teams, and serve others.
In 2006, Erik created the Adventure Team Challenge, a first-of-its-kind adventure race in which teams of disabled and non-disabled athletes compete; his team won five years in a row. In 2010, he completed the Leadville 100 mountain bike race, with elevations all above 10,000 feet, on a tandem, once again becoming the first blind person to complete a world-class competition. And in 2011, Erik’s Team No Limits raced across the deserts and mountains of Morocco for a month, finishing in second place on the ABC reality show Expedition Impossible.
The signature event is the No Barriers Summit, bringing together science, technology, and innovation to engage attendees to tap into the human spirit, break through personal barriers, and create community and global breakthroughs. In 2010, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Everest climb, Erik and his team created Soldiers To Summits, a program under No Barriers, to help veterans reclaim their lives by leading and serving again. On their first S2S expedition, Erik and his Everest team led ten injured soldiers to the summit of 20,000 foot Lobuche in the Himalayas. Since then, S2S has morphed into No Barriers Warriors, and has carried out expeditions from the Peruvian Andes, to the volcanoes of Ecuador, to California’s Mount Whitney.
Most recently, Erik was featured in the 2012 award-winning film, High Ground. This film documents a team of injured veterans; led by Erik and his Everest team, as they embark on a Himalayan climbing expedition, and along the trail, struggle to heal mentally and spiritually from the devastating wounds of war.
In September 2014, Erik and blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, kayaked the entire 277-miles of the Grand Canyon, considered one of the most formidable whitewater venues in the world.
Weihenmayer’s latest release, No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon, was published in 2017. The book is Weihenmayer's second memoir, and chronicles his groundbreaking descent of the Grand Canyon. No Barriers is for those who dream big yet have become stuck along the way. It shines a light on the process of growth and change and illuminates the surprising ways people break into the current, where life happens. Kirkus Reviews, a leading literary trade magazine, recently wrote: "Weihenmayer presents an exhilarating adventure story of arduous mountain climbing and whitewater kayaking, but he also offers broader life lessons. A wonderful tribute to the greatness of the human spirit."
In 2017, Weihenmayer was named one of "The 25 Most Adventurous Men of the Past 25 Years" by Men's Journal.
Erik married his wife Ellen in 1997.
Currently, Erik Weihenmayer is 54 years, 4 months and 7 days old. Erik Weihenmayer will celebrate 55th birthday on a Saturday 23rd of September 2023. Below we countdown to Erik Weihenmayer upcoming birthday.