Eric Alexander, skier, climber, and mountaineer is achieving his goals while playing an instrumental role in helping others to achieve their own. On May 25th 2001 Eric defied the odds and scaled Mt. Everest guiding his blind friend, Erik Weihenmayer, to its lofty 29,035′ summit. In 2002 the pair traveled to Russia and climbed Mt. Elbrus at 18,500 ft, and again found success on Mt. Kosciusko, Australia – two more of the seven summits (the highest points on each of the seven continents) notably the pair skied from the top of each of these latter two – making this the first-ever blind ski descents. Eric shares this inspirational story with audiences all over the country. When he is not traveling, he teaches disabled skiers in Vail, Colorado, and directs Adventures Beyond Limits, an organization that educates and encourages youth with disabilities in the outdoors.
Eric grew up in the Colorado Rockies and started climbing in his teens. He was a member of the University of Denver ski team, which led him to pursue work as a Ski Patrolman in Vail and in the French Alps, as well as instructing at Beaver Creek Resort. Eric has successfully climbed the highest point on six of the seven continents and led expeditions throughout Europe, North America, South America, the Himalayas, and other mountainous regions of the globe.
Climbing has not always been without its trials. Eric reminds us of our humanity and demonstrates the courage it takes to succeed in climbing to the “top of the world.” Surviving a 150′ fall in the Himalayas on Mt. Amadablam in 2000 was just the beginning. Eric developed pulmonary edema, and it became clear that he would need to be airlifted to safety. For eight months he struggled with pneumonia and was unable to train for Everest. Gaining inspiration from his team and his faith, Eric dared to dream once again and fought back to play an instrumental role in this historic ascent Today, Eric continues to climb and look for new challenges both personally and in the outdoors while challenging people to overcome the “Everest’s” in their own lives redefining the limits of what we can achieve.
MOST REQUESTED TOPICS:
Trust – Eric knows that to succeed as a team each individual on that team must be a person who is trustworthy and must also demonstrate the ability to trust those around them. Eric speaks of the extraordinary trust that the 2001 NFB Everest expedition shared and how it contributed, along with God’s help to the success of safely reaching Mt. Everest’s 29,035′ summit.
Courage – Dare to risk it all when the “experts” say the risk is too great. Eric speaks of moving forward in spite of our fears, stepping out in faith and courage to prove, as he says, “that we are the experts on ourselves.” Demonstrating this courage Eric joined the Everest expedition after a nearly fatal accident climbing in the Himalayas the year before and showed his commitment to the team by not giving up. Eric shares that the task of climbing Everest in and of itself would require great courage, but to add that Eric would be guiding his blind friend to the summit would require far more.
Teamwork – Taking on a monumental task, like guiding a blind man to the summit of Mt. Everest, is not something that a person can do alone. Eric details how this extraordinary achievement was made possible by team-members putting aside their individual differences for the greater good of the team. By utilizing each person’s strengths this team was able to accomplish the “impossible” and prove to the world that underdog’s can still play and win.
Leadership – In moments of crisis each person will need to have what it takes to lead. As the expedition leader fell ill on summit day and turned back the team faced a critical decision – turn back or move forward. The team chose to take on the responsibility of leadership and made the decision to press on. Opportunities to quit present themselves at every step of our journeys, we all must be willing at times to take the lead and keep striving for our goals.
Integrity – In the high mountains it is critical that people do as they say they will do. Lives depend on following through on promises with action. To survive here, and be successful, a team must be comprised of individuals willing to stand by their word. This lesson carries over into many aspects of our personal and professional lives and is quite a recipe for growth and success.
Adventure Beyond Limits – Eric shares his secrets for success: Prepare for the ascent; Ascend – dare to dream as dreams are still worth striving for; Triumph – miracles do happen so never give up, never listen to your critics, remember that champions adjust and that there are no limits to what we can achieve.