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Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Story Paperback – March 26, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (March 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452282942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452282940
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this moving and adventure-packed memoir, Weihenmayer begins with his gradual loss of sight as a very young child. By the time he became fully blind in high school, he had already developed the traits that would carry him to the summits of some of the world's highest mountains as well as onto the frequently hazardous slopes of daily life: charm, resilience, a sense of humor, a love of danger and a concern for others. His eloquent memoir exhibits all these traits. Weihenmayer--a thrill seeker who skydives, climbs mountains and skis--devotes the first half of the book to his adolescence, punctuated by his loss of sight, his mother's sudden death and his diligent efforts not only to pick up girls, but first to figure out which ones were attractive. With its many tales of pranks, adventures and the talents of his guide dog, this half alone is worth the price of admission. He goes on to chronicle his young adulthood, including his teaching career and his passion for climbing, seeded during a month-long skills camp for blind adolescents and blossoming on his harrowing ascent of Mount McKinley. He describes fearsome ascents of Kilimanjaro--with his fianc‚e, so they can be married near the crater summit--El Capitan and Aconcagua's Polish Glacier. Weihenmayer tells his extraordinary story with humor, honesty and vivid detail, and his fortitude and enthusiasm are deeply inspiring. With the insightful intimacy of Tom Sullivan's classic If You Could See What I Hear and the intensity of the best adventure narratives, Weihenmayer's story will appeal to a broad audience.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Weihenmayer is an extraordinary individual, adventurer, and athlete. On their own, his exploits as a mountain climber would be sufficient material for an exciting book, but there's an additional element Weihenmayer is blind. He began to lose his sight as a child, owing to a degenerative eye disorder, and was totally blind by his teens. Added to this trauma was the death of his mother in an automobile accident. The onset of blindness and the loss of a beloved parent might have destroyed a less resilient individual, but Weihenmayer has been able to turn his frustrations and fears into positive accomplishments. He has scaled the 3000' wall of El Capitan in Yosemite, made it to the top of Argentina's Aconcagua, climbed the vertical ice wall of Alberta, Canada's Polar Circus, and plans an ascent of Mt. Everest in March 2001. Oh, yes, he also married his longtime sweetheart on the Shira Plateau of Mt. Kilimanjaro (which he summited) in 1997 and became the father of a daughter in 2000. Weihenmayer recounts all of these climbing experiences as well as his childhood struggle to deal with the onset of blindness and his efforts to obtain employment. This inspirational story is highly recommended for all public libraries.
- Janet Ross, Sparks Branch Lib., NV
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I was very impressed with his overall writing style.
S. Skarda
This is one of the best books I have ever read, and it has encouraged me to live my life with even more zest and adventure.
Mariann Dahl
This is a heart warming story about Erik's struggle to overcome life's challenges.
Debra A. Callies

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mariann Dahl on February 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover
There are few books which really change the way you think about how you approach your life. This is definitely one. In his youth, Erik encountered two losses which would devastate most of us, gradually losing his sight and, just when he seemed to be starting to fight his way through that trauma, losing his mom to a car accident.
Amazingly, he collected himself, with the help of his teachers and school counselors, and the very strong support of his family. His dad encouraged him to join the wrestling team, and a blindness school offered up a program in rock climbing, and Erik was on his way. He began to shape a vision for his life which would guide him to this day. He wanted to live an independent life, live by his own rules. He wanted to cast aside the limitations which others imposed on him, and rise to the level of his own God-given potential. And he wanted to live an extraordinary life, not just an ordinary one.
He lives with this uplifting view of life. The glass is always half full. Blindness is just a nuisance. He can't play baseball, but he can climb, so it doesn't matter. When he cannot do something at first, he doesn't attribute his failure to blindness, but to the fact that he hasn't discovered YET the secret system which will help him accomplish his goal.
These uplifting messages are told through his unbelievable and sometimes outragous tales, with humor that has you laughing out loud, even if you're in a crowd; and with both victories and defeats which keep your emotions on a rollercoaster ride. Keep a handerchief handy. This is one of the best books I have ever read, and it has encouraged me to live my life with even more zest and adventure. Once you start, you won't be able to put it down. Wow!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Goalie Glenn on March 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is just a terrific book, filled with humor, wisdom, pathos and adventure. The author poignantly describes his childhood descent into blindness, his efforts to ignore it, his initial rebelliousness, and his gradual coming to terms with his handicap. Before long, the reader, like Erik, no longer sees blindness as a handicap, but as one of many hurdles life tosses in our way. It is certainly less of a burden to him than was the sudden, tragic death of his mother, which he movingly addresses and comes to terms with. He finds purpose to his life, he finds love, and he finds friendship and adventure on the mountains that he climbs. Buy this book and give it to any friend who has an inclination toward self-pity, and it may change their life. Read it and be inspired by the resiliency and strength of the human spirit.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. H. Kikstra on March 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Ok, that's not true. But Erik Weihenmayer has gone where no blind man has gone before and very few men and women with 20/20 vision will be able to follow his footsteps.
This is more than a mountaineering book: it's the life story about a child who had to grow up with a visual handicap that put him more and more in the dark. First unwilling to accept this fact, but later unwilling to accept society's view of blind people.
Being a good climber he just didn't quit because of his blindness, but found new ways of reaching the top, culminating in climbing the top of the world, Mt Everest and becoming one of the few people who have climbed the "7 summits".
This is an amazing story about courage, and vision in more meanings of the word. Erik has climbed Denali, Aconcagua, El Capitan and Everest amongst others. But he also moved to a new state whilst being completely blind, trained his dog, fell in love, got married on the top of a continent, led a fellow climber through the dark woods and many other things you might not expect from a blind man.
Although a close relative of mine has a blinding eye disease as well, this book inspired myself personally to just go out and do it, whatever 'it' is for me. Great inspiration and entertainingly written.
This new edition contains a new part about the Everest climb which was not included in the older editions.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an ease read but surprisingly soul-awakening book for me. There are statements on life lessons strung together like jewels hidden everywhere in this book, from the start to finish, mostly on self-assumed constraints that are common to everyone, sighted or not. I found vicariously the family love, friendship, and community support invigorating. I sensed the humor, strength, commitment, and perseverance Erik W carries with him daily, not just to the mountain top, which makes this book an absolute page-turner. Thanks Erik W for writing this book and share intimately with the readers the details of your journeys and the poeple in your life, we all have a lot to learn and draw from your experiences touched by the top of the world.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. M Connors on May 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author is a young, totally blind man who has climbed many of the world's tallest peaks, and in May of 2001 conquered Everest. This is quite an extraordinary story of his life thus far, and he tells the tale with wit, power, and insight way beyond his years. I especially liked his delightful treatment of his first experience in mingling with other blind youngsters; he shares both his painful and joyful moments with frankness and insight. His account of getting to know a pretty girl in the group and coming to understand her beauty as a thing of many dimensions, far beyond vision is so richly evocative and moving it'll bring tears to your eyes. Give yourself a treat and get this book.
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