Third S2S Expedition Returns – Two Steps Upward, One Slide Back

A couple weeks ago, I returned from our third Soldiers to Summits expedition high in the Peruvian Andes, with 15 veterans, all with either physical injuries or mental and psychological trauma. I met the team back in August at the No Barriers Summit during their first training session. I got acquainted with Aaron Hale, blind for less than two years. Aaron was leading an Army bomb squad when an IED exploded in his face. It took out his eyes, blew out his eardrums, took away his sense of smell and fractured his cranium and face bones.

Now Two Blind Kayakers

Some of you have already heard that an amazing blind guy, Lonnie Bedwell, a Navy Veteran, just kayaked the Grand Canyon. He was part of a descent of the Colorado River with an organization serving veterans, Team River Runner. I’d heard of Lonnie and even met him once at an event for disabled skiers, and he’s humble, and down-to-Earth, as well as courageous.

Big October Ahead!

Today I am embarking on a month-long adventure in Peru. First, I’ll be joining a team of injured veterans as part of our third Soldiers to Summits expedition, set high in the Peruvian Andes. S2S is part of my No Barriers organization in which we use mountain journeys as both a metaphor and training ground for setting goals, building world-class teams, innovating through adversity and stepping up to lead and serve others again.

Breaking Barriers at the No Barriers Summit

I come away from every No Barriers Summit energized and inspired to double my efforts to build a community that has the tools and the mindset to break through barriers and make contributions to the world. The recent 4-day event at Telluride was no exception.  Here are my highlights:

Oregon Museum Exhibit

If you happen to be in the Portland Oregon area, check out the new Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It features the BrainPort device that I have been testing to let me "see" using a sophisticated camera and tongue display. Here are some photos of the display.

Are you coming to Telluride?!

The No Barriers Summit is just weeks away and I'm getting excited! The line up of speakers, scientists, and entertainers is incredible. This is an event for the whole family, with lots of adventurous activities in beautiful Telluride, Colorado. As a bonus, you'll save $25 per person if you register before August 1st. You really need to be here August 8th through the 11th! Here are some of the highlights:

Peruvian Dream Trail

National Geographic interviewed me for an article on the World's Best Hikes. I recommended Peru's Ancascocha Trail, which is an alternative to the more crowded Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu. Sometimes called the Super Inca Trail, this is a real workout but a great way to visit the world famous ruins.

What's Your Everest - Asheville edition

A gentle reminder for everyone in the North Carolina area that the next What's Your Everest? climb will feature an ascent of the highest peak on the East Coast, Mount Mitchell. Although I won't be able to attend this No Barriers event personally, lot's of my friends will be there, including some of the soldiers who have taken part in our Soldiers to Summits programs. If you want to be inspired, I hope you'll join this climb and screening of High Ground!

What's Your Everest? videos

On June 1st, nearly 60 people reached the 14,065-foot summit of Mount Bierstadt here in Colorado. What makes this exceptional is that many of the climbers faced incredible adversity to even get to the base of the mountain. Among the many stories, we had: a blind person who had never climbed a mountain before, a woman who had received a heart transplant, a man who survived two heart attacks (the last just three months ago), a stroke survivor, and several wounded warriors. No Barriers put together a great little video about our  climb that is well worth watching.

No Barriers Essay Contest, 1st place!

Last but certainly not least in our No Barriers Mindset essay contest is the winning entry from Michelle Smith. I think Michelle Smith really captured the spirit of my message and has implemented the mindset in her own life. For her winning entry, Michelle will receive the Grand Prize, an awesome tent from my longtime sponsor, Mountain Hardwear.

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