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First blind man to summit Mt. Everest helps Colorado kids achieve new heights

Posted at 3:59 PM, May 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-01 17:59:50-04

DENVER (CBS4)– More than 15 years ago, Golden, Colo., native Erik Weihenmayer made history by becoming the first blind person to summit Mount Everest.

Since then, he’s continued his mission to climb the world’s tallest peaks and inspire others.

Weihenmayer was an athlete before he began to go blind as teenager. He says he wasn’t going to let a little thing like lack of sight take him out of the game.

That’s when he found rock climbing. Some 29,000 feet later, he’s inspiring others to reach their summits, too, regardless of their ability.

Weihenmayer spent the morning at the Anchor Center for Blind Children, guiding kids with severe visual impairments up their own version of Mount Everest.

He says it’s important for all children to have someone they can look up to, whether they can see them or not.

“I was lucky because I had a great family, but none of them knew anything about blindness. I wish I knew more blind people who could give me a glimpse of the future, of what was possible. That’s why I’m here today. It’s neat teaching them climbing, but maybe it will click that I’m blind, too, like they are,” said Weihenmayer.

Weihenmayer says his whole philosophy is living life with no barriers. The Anchor Center gives children the tools and education they need to begin living that life.

It’s one of only a few nonprofits that serve children under the age of five who have severe visual impairments.

Erik Weihenmayer (credit: CBS)