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Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  926 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Erik Weihenmayer was born with retinoscheses, a degenerative eye disorder that would leave him blind by the age of thirteen. But Erik was determined to rise above this devastating disability and lead a fulfilling and exciting life.

In this poignant and inspiring memoir, he shares his struggle to push past the limits imposed on him by his visual impairment-and by a seeing w
Kindle Edition, 360 pages
Published September 1st 2006 (first published February 1st 2001)
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As a blind person, my most recurrent thought while reading this book was "Holy crap, why is he risking his fingers this way?" Sub-zero temperatures, even lower windchills, and clawing your way over jagged rocks by hand? Not for me, thank you very much.
Actually, even if I had 20/20 vision I'd still have no desire to climb even a small mountain, so the rather drawn-out and technical descriptions of his climbs didn't interest me as much as they probably should have. I found the more mundane parts o
Jul 05, 2012 Jackie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-books
I liked this book, but I actually liked the parts that really had nothing to do with mountain climbing a little bit more. The book is mainly about climbing mountains, and the main guy just happens to be blind. I don't have a desire to climb mountains, and after reading this book I have less of a desire to climb mountains, if that is possible. Actually, I think it might be an advantage to climb mountains blind, because you cannot look down and think, "Yikes! The drop down is much farther down th ...more
Nancy Rossman
The human part of the story, having sight and Erik's memory, and then the trouble started at a young age since he was blind at 13/14.

This poignant and optimistic tack in lieu of other family tragedy would encourage anyone and perhaps have them closing the book and more grateful of what they do have.

Mountain climbing is always mysterious to me. Especially the seven peaks with all of the history of danger and Erik wanting to do it initially is beyond courageous however, his continuing with it afte
Mar 23, 2017 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
My sister LOVES Eric Weihenmayer; he is her hero and she talks about him on a daily basis. She surprised me recently with a signed copy of this book. It was a very effective way to force me to read it so we could talk about him together.

Weihenmayer -who went blind by the time he started high school- is inspiring because he works around and conquers limitations that would be valid excuses to not do something. His mountain climbing is impressive, but what I loved reading about was when he worked a
Mihai Giurgiulescu
To be certain, this was not at all the book I was anticipating. I remember hearing the news, many years ago, that a blind man had reached the summit of Everest and had come down safely. At the time such a feat seemed simply impossible, so I filed the story in the recesses of my brain with the understanding that some day I would take the time to learn more about it. When I finally decided to read Touch the Top of the World, I did so with the expectation that it be a memoir centered around that mo ...more
Kristopher Swinson
Nov 05, 2008 Kristopher Swinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kristopher by: Bishop Potter
This was a decent read that had me laughing at times. Thanks to his very graceful acceptance of his condition, he tells the story in a way that doesn't draw attention to his disability in the expected sense. He continually places it in a reducible context...which is very odd, considering that most people probably purchase the book because they don't anticipate the normalcy that he seeks. He himself admitted, offhandedly, that blind people can be as shallow as anyone else about dating (142-143)!

" شاید این یک تعصب باشد .. ولی من باور نمیکنم که انسانی ؛ علت صعودش به قله را دیدن منظره ی اطراف بیان کند ..
هیچکس سختی کوهستان را برای دیدن یک منظره تحمل نمیکند .. قله ؛ تنها جایی برکوهستان نیست . قله در قلب و ذهن ما جای دارد . قله ؛ پاره ای از یک رویاست که به حقیقت می پیوندد .. و مدرکی مسلم براین است که زندگیمان بامعناست .. قله نشانی از آن است که می توانیم با قدرت اراده و توان جسممان ؛ زندگی را به آنچه میخواهیم و آنچه دستانمان قدرت خلق آن را دارند ؛ تبدیل کنیم ..!
Apr 23, 2010 Tif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mike heard him speak at a conference a few weeks ago and was very impressed. So I went out the next day to get his book.

Totally inspiring! Makes me wonder if I ever really do anything really difficult in my life? I feel like I need to climb a mountain or run a marathon or something.

I hope he writes more about the climbs he did after this book. I want to read about Everest!
Apr 14, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book years ago after I met Erik and heard him speak. This is the story of his life - not only his climbing, but his experiences growing up that helped form him into the courageous and outstanding person he is. Everyone should read this.
John Stieven
Apr 13, 2016 John Stieven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you ever think you just can't do something, remember Erik -- the first blind person to climb Mt. McKinley -- and on track to climb the highest mountains on each continent! Unbelievable story of courage and determination.
Jan 20, 2009 Fabio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This guy is blind and has climbed every mountain on earth. I cant even fit in my pants. This book really helps you realize how lazy you are. which is why I burned it and ate some ice cream.
Gerald McFarland
Pretty amazing story. Erik's blind; yet he sets out to climb some of the toughest peaks in the world. The writing doesn't sing, but his aspirations are astonishing; moreover, he achieves them.
Susan Berry
Sep 01, 2015 Susan Berry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: everest
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 thro ...more
Mar 05, 2015 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This guy Erik is so legit. This book is his memoir of growing up, becoming blind, and the struggle of pushing the limitations that society sometimes imposes on those who are blind. Erik's life though is full of adventure- from rock climbing El Capitan to summiting the 7 summits- the tallest mountains of each continent in the world- including Mt. Everest! This book is grand and full of stories and lessons of friendship, vision, leadership, pushing boundaries, and climbing mountains.

Fav quotation
Jun 05, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this for work, and then I have to decide if we want to assign it as part of the disability-themed book assignment. If my supervisors want to use it, I then have to come up with essay/discussion questions. In some ways doing the assignment is easier than creating it!

I've seen two documentaries about Erik Weihenmayer and his mountain climbing, but it will be interesting to more of his background story.

I got really bored with the last third of the book in which he recounts, in more deta
James Christensen
Touch the top of the world : a blind man's journey to climb farther than the eye can see by Weihenmayer, Erik (bio/hist/adventure) 08 -
796.522 WEI

Written before he climbed Everest. Tells of his early life, loss of sight (detached retinas, then gloucoma), parental support and treatment as though anything was possible, the fight by his mother to even get him into public school, his athleticism, his desire to be normal, seemingly impossible excursions to Machu Pichu, Borneo??, Kilimonjaro, with fa
Feb 14, 2009 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-tales
When I finished this book, I felt recharged and renewed, because this book is not about blindness or limitations. Triumph, yes. Hard preparation, determination, pain, sacrifice and joy - yes. Erik's descriptions of his youth, his mother's focus on keeping him in the educational mainstream, his father's zeal for creating adventures and his own personal and physical progress make good reading. But the climbing sequences - gripping. I could feel the rock beneath my hands on the technical climb up E ...more
Jul 17, 2008 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the incredible story of Erik Weihenmayer, a guy from my hometown who is the first and only blind person to reach the summit of all 7 continents' highest peaks. Erik went blind at the beginning of sophomore year of high school after battling glaucoma. I worked for his mother at their home, making necklaces in her "sweatshop labor" front room from beautiful asian beads and woods. Two weeks before Erik lost his sight completely, his parents began the process of getting divorced, his mother ...more
Oct 25, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little nervous about reading this one because I didn't want the world to only see "Super blind" and think Erik was representative of all blind folk. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the book. It includes a bit of the family struggle as well as the personal struggle adapting to a blind world/life. It includes a bit of the "politics" of the blind world (who's really blind and who lives at the top of the hierarchy). And it includes a very large dose of the limitations that are im ...more
Alexia Armstrong
Jan 03, 2015 Alexia Armstrong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Born with a degenerative eye disorder, Weihenmayer was left totally blind by the age of 13. But with the support of his pitiless family, Erik never let himself be condemned to a life of dependence on others. By creating "systems" and learning how to live independently with only the help of his guide dog or a cane, he knows blindness is not always a disadvantage.

In May 2000, he became the first blind man to summit Everest and by August 2008, the 152nd person to reach the highest peak on each co
Oct 14, 2015 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a story worth reading, especially for the inspiration of overcoming the hurdles that life throws at you. I was particularly interested in his journey from the anger and denial of a life-changing handicap to his eventual adaptation to it. He seems very honest about his setbacks, his self-doubt, as well as his determination to do the things he wants to do regardless.
He certainly is one of those adventurers addicted to the draw of conquering the world's highest mountains - with or without
Mar 18, 2009 Nicolas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2013 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I agree that Erik phenomenal in facing his life challenges, I cannot give so strong an endorsement of the book itself. I am not a book editor but if I were, I would have substantially edited & pared down the nearly 350 pp. Sometimes, I felt that the plodding through the chapters was somewhat intentional to set the tone for the slowness of the climb & reaching the end of a chapter was analogous to victory over the adversity of completing a climb.I also think an editor should ha ...more
Dec 20, 2012 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a climber and mountaineer, I loved his accounts in these endeavors. He beautifully illustrates many of the emotions and challenges I have faced including falling in love with climbing, struggling physically through hikes, overcoming fear, and questioning the ability to complete the goal at task. I was especially drawn to his account of climbing the Nose of El Cap as it is on my "to-do" list. Erik's journey and relationship with these activities proves that there are certain universals in life ...more
Jan 04, 2014 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
Listened to the audio book on a long drive. It was a welcome alternative to the few AM radio stations available. The book was well written and the reader was very good (Nick Sullivan).

I should add the author is highly competitive with Type-A personality sometimes pushing his abilities to the limit in extreme conditions. This seemed questionable to me at times, especially with a wife and baby at home, but that was his decision to make along with his wife. Not personally my approach to adventure,
May 07, 2013 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing memoir of Erik Weihenmayer who is blind and is the first blind person to scale Mount Everest. He has also scaled El Capitan in Yosemite. I was totally in awe of how this man, who lost his vision in his early teens, makes the most of his life and doesn't let his blindness get in the way of accomplishing any goal he has. This is a truly inspiring story, which I recommend to others. He also has a nice sense of humor about his blindness and how he sees adversity in general. He us ...more
Apr 28, 2015 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether you are an avid mountain climber, a full fledged adventurer, or someone looking for a little perspective, this book is amazing. Fraught with challanges and unimaginable odds, Erik Weihenmeyer takes us through his incredible journey from losing his sight to climbing some of the worlds tallest peaks. This story is not just about the challenge of reaching the summit of the mountains but reaching the summit of your potential no matter what the world thinks of your abilities. Fantastic read.
I saw the author speak at a conference and was inspired by his story, as well as his humor and outlook. The book covers his early years when he lost his eyesight, as well as how he adapted. But the lure for me was learning how he manages rock and mountain climbing, from El Cap to Everest. Being autobiographical, it's plainly straightforward and technical at times with descriptions, but I felt more along for the ride than with many other books with climbing tales. Greatest takeaways include the r ...more
Aug 27, 2011 Chelsea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book! It's truly inspiring that this man was able to climb the toughest mountains in the world, including Everest, and also just happens to be blind. It's so heart breaking that he didn't become blind until he was 13 years old too and had to basically relearn how to live and function. He described it as dying.

Anyways it's a really inspirational book about how people can push their own limits and live truly incredible lives. I highly recommend it!
May 30, 2014 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Fascinating book about a blind man who set himself the goal to summit the highest peaks on all the continents. I enjoyed the part about his adjustment to going blind, and admired his determination not to let it limit his life. I have to say he seems a bit crazy though! I can't imagine leaping across an ice crevasse sighted, much less blind! I think the CD must have been abridged, so the transitions between the climbing expeditions was a bit choppy, but overall, it was an exciting memoir.
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“A summit is so much more than a view. I may be biased, but when people say they summit mountains for the view, I don't believe them. No one suffers the way one does on a mountain simply for a beautiful view. A summit isn't just a place on a mountain. A summit exists in our hearts and minds. It is a tiny scrap of a dream made real, indisputable proof that our lives have meaning. A summit is a symbol that with the force of our will and the power of our legs, our backs, and our two hands, we can transform our lives into whatever we choose them to be, whatever our hands are strong enough to create.” 1 likes
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