Connecting at the 2016 No Barriers Summit

It’s hard to believe that we’re already on our 8th No Barriers Summit, this year hosted at Copper Mountain, Colo. It was almost ten years ago when Mark Wellman, Hugh Herr, Jim and Connie Goldsmith, and I gathered to plan our first U.S. Summit and dreamed how amazing this celebration could be. We hoped it would become the world’s premier adaptive event, as well as a movement of people seeking to shatter barriers.

Summit of Everest - Celebrating 15 Years

Today, May 25, marks the 15th Anniversary of my team and I reaching the summit of Mt. Everest.  It was a momentous achievement, but I don’t think that any of us could have predicted how powerfully the experience would alter the course of our lives. This past year I have been working on my third book, entitled No Barriers, which in many ways chronicles my experiences beyond Everest.  Although it’s been a daunting and intense process, it’s also been a fun opportunity to look back over the last 15 years and reflect on what an adventure it has been.

Boots to Slippers: Reflections on 2015

2015 definitely marked some dramatic shifts in my life, from ascents of stunning peaks in the Alaska Range, the Italian Dolomites, the Wind River Range of Wyoming, and back home again to try to make sense of these journeys and discover the deeper meanings and motivations behind them. I spent much of the first half of the year squeezed into mountaineering boots or rock climbing shoes and shivering on narrow ledges, and the second half, in slippers, sitting in front of my talking computer with a cup of coffee, contemplating what living a “No Barriers Life” really means.

Teaching Blind Skiing at Breckenridge

My ski guide, Jeff Ulrich and I just got back from the Hartford Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge where we led a blind skiing clinic as continuing education for adaptive instructors. Of course, many participants were from Colorado, but it was a fun part of the clinic to hear about the far off places that people came from to participate, like Bogus Basin in Idaho (that’s the real name!) to Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. 

Twenty Meters of Ice

I’m a summit guy. I love summits. They exist on top of mountains, and I’m not satisfied with anything less. In fact, when my kids were little and learning to rock climb, it drove me crazy when they’d stop half way up the wall and say, “I want to come down.” “Keep going,” I’d yell back. “You’re not at the top.”

2015 No Barriers Summit Stories

We just finished our 7th No Barriers Summit in Park City, Utah. This 4-day event has become the world’s premier gathering of technologists, innovators and end-users all with the aim of helping people with challenges break through barriers and live the life they imagine.  For many, breaking through barriers means being active and getting outside. So, the Summit is always hosted in beautiful outdoor venues that provide opportunities and access to wild experiences to test people’s potential.

No Barriers - What's Your Everest

Last weekend at our No Barriers ( What’s Your Everest event near Breckenridge, Colorado, my team and I joined a community who were all there for the same reason; What’s Your Everest asks every participant to tackle their own barriers and push past them to achieve something they might not have thought possible. Individuals from very different abilities and backgrounds came together at the base of three “14ers” to try to achieve a mountain trifecta.

No Barriers Life Elements: A Story of the 2015 No Barriers Summit

At this year’s No Barriers Summit, we encouraged attendees to engage in various events and activities by earning pins that represent each of the key elements of the No Barriers Life. I like to think of these elements as a map that helps each of us take on our challenges, no matter what they are, and live a life of meaning and purpose. Life Element 1: Vision - Define a purpose that inspires you to give your best back to the world.  It is difficult to fully appreciate the recent No Barriers Summit without looking back at how far we have come.

Telluride to Moab - Noah's CrankFest

Our weeklong mountain bike ride from Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah was a fulfilling adventure, especially with so many good friends and a great cause to get behind.  I’m excited to report that Noah Blue Elk Hotchkiss, age 16, finished all 215 miles under the power of his arms and with the support of an awesome team. Five years ago, Noah was in a car accident that paralyzed him from the waist down, but he has converted this tragedy into personal growth. Noah is a leader in his hometown of Durango and the Native Americans with disabilities community.