The team is positioned in the 12,000′ capital city of Lhasa acclimatizing and assembling gear, and undertaking some final training with the six blind Tibetan teenagers from the Braille Without Borders school. It was only 4-5 years ago that these students, now ages 15 to 17, lived in a dark world of no opportunity and no hope. Today, they can speak passable English, read Braille in English, Chinese and Tibetan, and can operate a computer. Soon some of them – we hope all – will stand on a peak higher than any outside of the Himalayas…an amazing life transition, thanks to Erik and his team and to Sabriye Tenberken, founder of the school, a blind adventurer herself, and author of My Path Leads to Tibet.
Erik from Lhasa: “Although groveling in the dirt for a month in order to put myself on a high peak may not motivate me like it once did, I’m filled with a sense of optimism about what we’re about to do. To think about getting these young Tibetans to the summit fills me with energy and a sense of purpose. I think of Sonam Bongso’s (age 15) simple statement, “I am blind, but I want to show the world that blind people can do anything.” I think of Sabriye’s work, in five years bringing these blind children out of their dark rooms into the mainstream of life, taking kids once seen as pariahs, now some of the most respected in their villages and among the more educated in all of Tibet. It shows me the power of one strong will to nudge society forward and force open doors of opportunity. In less than a month, six of these teens may stand higher than any other summit outside the Himalayas.
What a statement that will make about people’s potential across Tibet and throughout the world. That’s why we’re here, why we’ve left behind our families and comfortable lives, to be a part of something pioneering, to help continue that nudge towards opportunity begun by Sabriye.”
Erik’s mission : “There is a blurry line separating what the world sees as impossible yet what we know in our hearts to be fully possible. If I can find a way to reach out across race and culture, and shatter the boundaries which have been established through generations for the disabled people of Tibet, and pass to them that same sense of joy and achievement with which I have been blessed, it will be the fulfillment of my climbing career.” Follow the climb on http://www.climbingblind.org.