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Erik has become a celebrated and accomplished athlete despite losing his vision at the age of 13. Redefining what it means to be blind, Erik has transformed the image of blindness and opened up the minds of people around the world.

On May 25, 2001, Erik became the first blind climber in history to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. At the age of 33, he became one of less than 100 individuals to climb all of the Seven Summits – the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

Erik refuses to let blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life and actively seeks opportunities to help others adopt a similar mindset. In 2004, Erik and his Everest teammates led a group of blind Tibetan teenagers to 21,000 feet on the north face of Everest as an educational outreach project. Their journey was documented in the film Blindsight. In 2010, Erik and his Everest team led the first Soldiers to Summits climb to the summit of Lobuche in the Himalayas, a quest documented in the film High Ground.

A former middle school teacher and wrestling coach, Erik is the author of Touch the Top of the World and The Adversity Advantage. He is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the prestigious National Courage Award and the 2002 ESPN ESPY award.

Erik’s triumphs over some of the world’s most formidable mountains were fueling a growing aspiration to take the lessons he learned in the mountains to help others shatter barriers in their lives. To advance this idea, Erik co-founded not merely an organization, but rather a movement called No Barriers. The mission is to help people with challenges, all of us to some extent, to turn into the storm of life, face barriers head on, embrace a pioneering and innovative spirit and team up with great people to live rich in meaning and purpose. The motto is “What’s Within You is Stronger Than What’s in Your Way.”

Erik co-founded the No Barriers Life curriculum:

Erik continues to challenge himself to live a No Barriers Life and in September 2014 he kayaked the entire 277-miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Erik lives with his wife and two children in Colorado.

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