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Erik Weihenmayer, first blind climber in Torres del Paine

Sport

INSPIRING

The blind American, who was the first blind man to ascend Everest and the Seven Summits, has climbed with the Señoret brothers and Felipe Tapia the North Tower and the Shark’s Fin, in the Torres del Paine.

The name of Eric Weihenmayer it may sound to mountaineering fans with a good memory. In May 2001, this American from New Jersey became the first blind climber to summit the Everest. And in September 2002, he was the first blind person to complete the seven peaks. His adventures and inspiring lectures from him have been held regularly ever since. In 2014, together with the also blind Lonnie Bedwell, they kayaked down almost 450km of Grand Canyon whitewater of the Colorado.

Nevertheless, Eric Weihenmayer I still had to travel to Patagonia to climb on its vertical rock walls. His time has finally come during this southern summer and for this he has chosen the Torres del Paine, in Chilean Patagonia. There, he has placed himself in the hands of his friend Philip Tapia and of the senoret brothers and your agency.

sport Erik Weihenmayer climbs the Torre Norte del Paine (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
Erik Weihenmayer climbs the Torre Norte del Paine (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
sport Erik Weihenmayer climbs the Torre Norte del Paine (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
Erik Weihenmayer climbs the Torre Norte del Paine (Photo: @senoretbrothers).

Sport Objective: North Tower

Initially, the main objective of the expedition of Eric Weihenmayer at Torres del Paine was to attempt the first climb by a blind man on the north tower. According to their Chilean guides, when the appropriate window of good weather arrived, they headed for the route Monzino (V+, 400 m).

The logistics of the ascension consisted of Eric Weihenmayer was always second, with Philip Tapia also climbing second but a few meters above him to transmit useful information, both from the wall and from the movement sequences. The cameraman Francisco Herrera completed the team making the audiovisual record. So he described Christopher Señoret on their social networks that first experience:

It took us 5 hours and we spent 45 minutes at the summit, on a day with perfect weather. Then, 4 hours to descend, and in total an activity of 10 hours on the wall. The style was always climbing. It was our first time guiding a blind man and it was an incredible experience; we learned a lot from him. He is a person like no other!

He climbed all second and never hung on the rope. We are impressed by his level of climbing, motivation and great abilities to function in a terrain as complex as Patagonia.

sport Erik Weihenmayer and Felipe Tapia in the Torre Norte del Paine (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
Erik Weihenmayer and Felipe Tapia in the Torre Norte del Paine (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
sport Erik Weihenmayer in the Torres del Paine (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
Erik Weihenmayer in the Torres del Paine (Photo: @senoretbrothers).

Sport Tip Shark Fin

already back in Puerto NatalesSatisfied for having achieved their objective, they saw that the weather was opening up a new window of opportunity for them to climb some other route. Also, as Cristóbal Señoret comments, “We had a much clearer perspective of Erik’s abilities and what he was capable of doing”.

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This is how they came up with the idea of ​​trying aesthetics. Shark finlocated in the French Valley. There, as Señoret himself explains: “We climbed the normal route, which involves a ridge, perfect fissures and adventurous terrain for a total of 12 pitches (approximately) and 11 hours of activity to and from the base of the wall”.

Sport Central Tower already in sight

This was the happy conclusion of the expedition of Eric Weihenmayer at Torres del Paine. The experience was so good and satisfactory, however, that he is already thinking of broadening his horizons and going a little further. “He looks forward to coming back for the Central Tower next year”, reveals Cristóbal Señoret. The project is funded by the Rab brand, which will add information in the coming days.

sport Erik Weihenmayer climbs Shark's Fin, in the French Valley (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
Erik Weihenmayer climbs Shark’s Fin, in the French Valley (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
sport Erik Weihenmayer climbs Shark's Fin, in the French Valley (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
Erik Weihenmayer climbs Shark’s Fin, in the French Valley (Photo: @senoretbrothers).
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