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No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon
     

No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon

by Erik Weihenmayer
 

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Erik Weihenmayer is the first and only blind person to summit Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Descending carefully, he and his team picked their way across deep crevasses and through the deadly Khumbu Icefall; when the mountain was finally behind him, Erik knew he was going to live. His expedition leader slapped him on the back and said something that

Overview

Erik Weihenmayer is the first and only blind person to summit Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Descending carefully, he and his team picked their way across deep crevasses and through the deadly Khumbu Icefall; when the mountain was finally behind him, Erik knew he was going to live. His expedition leader slapped him on the back and said something that would affect the course of Erik’s life: “Don’t make Everest the greatest thing you ever do.”

No Barriers is Erik’s response to that challenge. It is the moving story of his journey since descending Mount Everest: from leading expeditions around the world with blind Tibetan teenagers to helping injured soldiers climb their way home from war, from adopting a son from Nepal to facing the most terrifying reach of his life: to solo kayak the thunderous whitewater of the Grand Canyon.

Along the course of Erik’s journey, he meets other trailblazers—adventurers, scientists, artists, and activists—who, despite trauma, hardship, and loss, have broken through barriers of their own. These pioneers show Erik surprising ways forward that surpass logic and defy traditional thinking.

Like the rapids of the Grand Canyon, created by inexorable forces far beneath the surface, No Barriers is a dive into the heart and mind at the core of the turbulent human experience. It is an exploration of the light that burns in all of us, the obstacles that threaten to extinguish that light, and the treacherous ascent towards growth and rebirth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/12/2016
Named after Weihenmayer’s support organization, this memoir reads like an extension of its mission statement, right down to the concluding “No Barriers Pledges.” After Weihenmayer (Touch the Top of the World), a blind adventurist, scales Mt. Everest, his expedition leader advises him not to let that be “the greatest thing you ever do.” Weihenmayer, an American, takes the advice, leading blind Tibetan children and veterans on climbs and conducting countless other courageous feats. Spinning minutia as intimacy is an unexpected, unpleasant wrinkle. The book is part Facebook post (“The journey began to take on a metaphorical meaning”) and part résumé, detailing Weihenmayer’s personal and professional travails en route to the goal mentioned in the title. Weihenmayer’s inability to pare down the selection of anecdotes—all covered in CEO life lesson–speak or ponderous dialogue straight from gift-store inspirational storybooks (“In your talk, Erik, I remember you referring to an internal light that exists in people”)—makes it impossible to care. This is heroism as a reference book. The amount of material is so mind-numbing and the diversions from the ultimate goal are so numerous that the only thing readers will be amazed by is that Weihenmayer’s accomplishments manage to be boring. Two 16-page color photo inserts. (Feb. 2017)
From the Publisher

"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." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"No Barriers is amazing. Erik's story is an inspiration to all of us." —Mark Burnett, TV producer

"No Barriers does more than chronicle a magnificent and seemingly impossible journey through the heart of the Grand Canyon. It offers a shining testament to the truth that both on rivers and in life, it is within the pockets of turbulence—the places where chaos reigns greatest— that discovery, wisdom, and growth await. Weihenmayer's powers of discernment are acute, startling, and deeply inspirational."— Kevin Fedarko, New York Times bestselling author of The Emerald Mile

"No Barriers is more than an incredible adventure story — it's a beautiful book about family and finding a way to achieve more than you ever thought possible.”—Brad Meltzer, New York Times bestselling author of The President's Shadow

"An inspiration to other blind people and plenty of us folks who can see just fine."—Jon Krakauer, New York Time bestselling author of Into Thin Air

"Chronicling a grueling journey navigating eddies and rapids while paying homage to the complexity of families and bonds of friendship forged through shared experiences. In addition to tracking the kayak trip, the author also offers a poignant account of adopting his son from Nepal and details fascinating medical advances concerning neuroplasticity, the brain's capacity to change. More than a story about a blind man converting the improbable to the possible, this volume provides a powerful testament to the human spirit, concluding with a challenge to readers to take the Pledge of No Barriers. Guaranteed to inspire." —Brenda Barrera, Booklist

Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-12-08
The first blind man to climb Mount Everest narrates his kayaking descent of 300 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. On one level, this is a tale of grit, determination, courage, and overcoming tremendous odds. With co-author Levy, Weihenmayer (The Adversity Advantage: Turning Everyday Struggles Into Greatness, 2007, etc.) presents an exhilarating adventure story of arduous mountain climbing and whitewater kayaking, but he also offers broader life lessons. Over the course of eight years, the author organized his kayaking team as a byproduct of helping others, including blind orphans in Tibet and Nepal, blind teenagers in America, and veterans of our recent wars recovering from physical and mental wounds. Among them was Kyle, an amputee who pledged to scatter a fallen comrade's ashes from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and a shy blind kid named Joey, who had never peeled an orange. Weihenmayer's organization No Barriers is intended to address those in need in many different ways. For one, the author works intensively with youth. "For blind kids to succeed," he writes, "they don't just need other blind people. They'll need to work with seeing people to harness those abilities and learn to thrive in the sighted world." Weihenmayer elaborates on the skills required to achieve significant goals, including finding the right people, technologies, and methods necessary to accomplish these goals. It took a team of 10 to help the author make his descent down the Colorado, and the stories of the team members, some of whom had been with the author through many adventures, add to the narrative. Together, they developed a plan of attack for each of the rapids and unique communication and power supply methods, and they were backed by a logistics operation moving tons of equipment. Ultimately, in this highly inspirational tale, the Grand Canyon, like Everest and other summits, becomes a metaphor for life: "physical, mental, and psychological and…never ending." A wonderful tribute to the greatness of the human spirit.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250088789
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/07/2017
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
105,223
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.60(d)

Meet the Author

Erik Weihenmayer is a bestselling author, athlete, adventurer, and motivational speaker. He is the author of the bestsellers Touch the Top of the World and The Adversity Advantage. He cofounded No Barriers USA, which empowers people to break through barriers, find their inner purpose and contribute their very best to the world. Erik lives in Colorado.

Buddy Levy is an author, educator, journalist and speaker. His books include American Legend, Conquistador, River of Darkness and Geronimo. He lives in Idaho.

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