The Blind Adventurer Who Climbed Everest and Broke Barriers with Erik Weihenmayer

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As a blind adventurer, Erik Weihenmayer has been lucky to experience a life of meaning and purpose—of breaking through barriers. After he safely came down from the summit of Mt. Everest in 2001, becoming the first blind person to reach the highest peak in the world, his team leader told him something that would change the course of his life: “Don’t make Everest the greatest thing you ever do.”

These words stuck with him, and he has spent the last 16 years trying to live up to that challenge: climbing the tallest peak on each continent; kayaking the Grand Canyon; authoring three books; and starting a nonprofit movement, No Barriers.

On today’s Broken Brain Podcast, our host Dhru talks to Erik Weihenmayer, one of the most celebrated and accomplished athletes in the world. He is the author of the bestselling memoir, Touch the Top of the World, which was made into a feature film, as well as The Adversity Advantage, which shows readers how to turn everyday struggles into everyday greatness. His latest book, No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon is more than an adventure story; it illuminates how we move forward in our lives towards growth and purpose – despite the barriers that get in our way. He is an internationally recognized speaker and brings his message of living a No Barriers Life to audiences around the world. No Barriers is an organization that helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit, break through barriers, and contribute to the world.

In this episode, Dhru and Erik talk about loss and suffering and how to look deep within ourselves to find our strength, resilience, and purpose. They discuss breaking through limitations and turning our greatest challenges into our greatest triumphs. They also talk about gratitude and the importance of giving back. 

In this episode, we dive into: 

  • Erik’s story of being diagnosed with a very rare disease, juvenile retinoschisis, and told he was going to lose his eyesight (3:52) 
  • Breaking through limitations that society places on you (8:05) 
  • Erik’s mental state when he finally lost his eyesight and how he responded to the external world (10:22) 
  • Erik’s fear of being forgotten and dying an insignificant life (16:40) 
  • Erik’s open heart policy (19:26) 
  • The power of belief (42:10) 
  • How to not let external pressure consume you (46:35)
  • The moment Erik reached the top of Mount Everest (52:04)
  • The power of creating connections (1:18:25)
  • Erik’s lasting message (1:20:50)
  • Where to learn more about Erik (1:24:12)

For more on Erik Weihenmayer, you can follow him on Instagram @erikweihenmayer, on Facebook @erik.weihenmayer, on Twitter @erikweihenmayer, on YouTube @touchthetop, on Vimeo at, and through his website

Also mentioned in this episode:

For more on Dhru Purohit, be sure to follow him on Instagram @dhrupurohit, on Facebook @dhruxpurohit, on Twitter @dhrupurohit, and on YouTube @dhrupurohit. You can also text Dhru at (302) 200-5643 or click here

Interested in joining Dhru’s Broken Brain Podcast Facebook Community? Submit your request to join here:

Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD


Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.


If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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