ELSAH — Two renowned mountaineers will speak at Principia in October to share remarkable stories of courage and perseverance.
Ed Viesturs, regarded as the country’s foremost high-altitude mountaineer, is this year’s George A. Andrews Distinguished Speaker. He will present No Shortcuts to the Top at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, in Cox Auditorium. Familiar to many from the IMAX documentary film “Everest,” Viesturs is one of very few climbers — and the only American — to successfully summit the world’s 14 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. He completed this 18-year project, which he called Endeavor 8000, in May 2005, when he ascended Annapurna, an especially treacherous peak.
Viesturs is the recipient of numerous awards, including National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year in 2005, the historic Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorer’s Club, and the American Alpine Club’s David A. Sowles Memorial Award for his participation in rescues on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. Viesturs has written several books, including “No Shortcuts to The Top: Climbing the World’s 14 Highest Peaks,” “K2: Life and Death on the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain” and “The Mountain, My Time on Everest.”
Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer returns to campus
Principia will also welcome Erik Weihenmayer, who in 2001 became the only blind climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest. He will speak in Cox Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6.
A year after his first visit to Principia College in 2007, Weihenmayer climbed Carstensz Pyramid on the island of Papua New Guinea. With this climb, he completed his ascent of the Seven Summits, the highest points on each continent—a 13-year journey that began with his ascent of Mount Denali. Two years ago, Weihenmayer took on a different type of challenge. Together with a blind Navy veteran, he kayaked the 277 miles of the Colorado River flowing through the Grand Canyon.
In an effort to share what he has learned about overcoming limitations, Weihenmayer co-founded the organization No Barriers, whose motto is “what’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.” He is the author of “The Adversity Advantage: Turning Everyday Struggles into Everyday Greatness” and “Touch the Top of the World,” which was made into a feature film.
Weihenmayer’s talk is sponsored by Principia alums Don and Christina Koch. General public admission is $15; $10 for Gold & Blue Club members. Purchase tickets or listen to a live broadcast on Principia Internet Radio.