Powering by Sheer Faith: Review of Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man’s Journey to Climb Farther Than the Eye Can See

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Touch the Top of the World recollects Erik Weihenmayer‘s journey of overcoming blindness by climbing among others, Rainier, McKinley, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and the mountain of all-Everest as well as learning to rock climb (El Capitan) and ice climb.  Weihenmayer’s account is also the story of powering through, overcoming his limitations, not settling, enduring and achieving while the faith and love of others guides you. touch the Top of the World is autobiographical, relating his childhood through his first job so it is not solely a book about mountaineering. A few interesting notes: he summited Denali (McKinley) on Helen Keller’s birthday–June 27; his mother died while he was young and from what I can tell likely had some form of bi-polar disorder, yet she overcame this to go onto become a successful businesswoman of Asian jewelry in her own right; his father and two brothers accompanied him on some early hiking treks; and Ellie is a nickname for Ellen. The technical details in climbing mountains and scaling rock faces was as usual a delight for this arm-chair mountaineer. He credits as part of his inspiration recently departed Dick Bass and his book, Seven Summits (my review)  seven. I always learn something about Everest in these books and Weinhenmayer’s description of the Death Zone (above 8,000 meters) was enlightening. I could picture the area better in mind while reading this account than others.

 

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