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Adventures in Mountain-Climbing and Research

Adventures in Mount-Climbing and ResearchBeing a blind person who climbs mountains – that’s like being a Jamaican bobsledder; the two just don’t seem to go together, Erik Weihenmayer acknowledges. But, in fact, the opposite is true.

That was one of the many messages Erik, an FFB spokesperson, delivered to a crowd of more than 500 people at VISIONS 2012 earlier today, when he wowed them with his presentation “Overcoming the ‘Obstacle’ of Blindness.”

Best known as the only blind person to summit Mount Everest, Erik is also an author, filmmaker, motivational speaker and adventurer who, among other feats, paraglides, skydives and, most recently, kayaks.

That’s right – kayaks. And he proved as much with one of the many video clips and slides he showed, even while joking about the irony of “a blind guy” using photos to tell his story.

At the core, however, of his often humorous and moving message was the idea that adversity – especially the kind that the visually impaired face – can be taken advantage of, in ways that force people to be innovative and creative.

“Alchemists,” he called those who work adversity to their advantage, “people who turn led into gold.” And he included among them FFB’s members and researchers.

Below, you’ll find video highlights from Erik’s presentation, starting with a description of his journey up Mt. Everest more than 10 years ago, with a joke about Minneapolis, site of VISIONS 2012, thrown in. And, yes, that’s Foundation co-founder and chairman Gordon Gund sitting in the front row:

Here, he recounts how he recently participated in an adventure reality show called Expedition Impossible, which was set in Morocco, where he relied heavily on his team, No Limits:

Finally, he touches on the idea of “vision,” in particular how it applies to the Foundation’s mission:

– Rich Shea

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