The Adrenalist

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Erik Weihenmayer’s Blind Kayak Challenge



When adventurer Erik Weihenmayer calls whitewater kayaking “sensory overload,” he’s excluding the very sense that would fuel that overload for most: sight. Weihenmayer is totally blind, and yet he is one of the most accomplished adventurers on earth.

In 2001, he became the first blind person to reach the peak of Mt. Everest, as reported by Time, and the next year he completed the Seven Summits. His most impressive feats might be his ice climbing accomplishments, including ascents of ice waterfalls such as Losar in the Himalayas.

But white water kayaking might be the most insane thing Erik has tried yet. When New York Times caught up with him in mid November at the US Nationals Whitewater Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, he was training for a descent down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon — a gorge of churning ricochet rapids that no blind individual has ever taken on before. Considered one of the world’s premier white water locales, the rapids are dotted with massive boulders and rife with waves up to 15 feet high. While Weihenmayer and his team will have the proper survival gear and a phone to reach the National Park Service rangers, they will be pretty cut off from civilization during their adventure.

Stayed tuned. A feat of Adrenaline-fueled bravery is in the making.

Cover Photo Credit: Fovea Centralis –

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