Erik is a mountain climber who has climbed the seven tallest summits on earth, one of only 118 people in history to accomplish this feat. That would be impressive enough, but Weihenmayer is the only person to do so while blind. Weihenmayer was born with retinoschisis and was fully blind by the age of 13. Three years later, at a recreational program for the visually impaired, he was introduced to rock climbing, and it changed his life forever. “I wanted my life to be an adventure, I didn’t want to be shoved to the sidelines and forgotten and just sit in a dark room listening to life go by,” Weihenmayer said. “Rock climbing for me was sort of a symbol that I could get to the summit of whatever I wanted to do, but I had to do it differently.”
In 2001, Weihenmayer became the first blind man to reach the top of Mount Everest, and by 2008 he’d accomplished the amazing feat of scaling the seven tallest peaks in the world. “In an ironic way, that thing like blindness or that barrier you face, if you attack it the right way, it can become a catalyst to moving yourself to a new place that you may not have gone to in any other way,” Erik said.
Erik’s story can be viewed online, in the above film directed by Christopher Hewitt of Knucklehead. Intel has also launched a social media program, where if Erik’s video is shared 2,900 times they will donate $30,000 to No Barriers USA, an organization offering “transformative experiences that allow people to embrace a ‘no barriers mindset’ and discover the potential that lies within themselves and the world.” After viewing Erik’s “Look Inside” video above, you can head here for the full story. Stick around for credits and “Look Inside. Jack Andraka” after the jump.