Touch the Top of the World - Paperback

A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See

ISBN# 0452282942

From the snow-capped summit of McKinley to the towering peaks of Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro to the ultimate challenge, Mount Everest, this is a story about daring to dream in the face of impossible odds. Erik's autobiography, Touch the Top of the World, was made into a feature film in 2006. It has also been printed in several different languages, and is currently available in Spanish.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, Erik’s memoir is, "Moving and adventure packed, Weihenmayer tells his extraordinary story with humor, honesty, and vivid detail, and his fortitude and enthusiasm are deeply inspiring." 

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  • I just finished listening to Touch the Top of the World. Like many, I was completely captivated by your story. It was very compelling from start to finish. I know your book is mostly targeted towards shattering perceptions of all, not just the blind. You’ve certainly done that. One take away for me is that I’ll think of you as I’m at my lowest moments in an event and know that you endured much more. I’ll draw on that knowledge to persevere as I take on new challenges such as Ironmans and ultra running—it reminds me of how far I have to go.

    Richard Hunter
  • I just finished reading Touch the Top of the World, and I must say that I am awestruck. I feel like I have climbed those mountains with you, and I have been alongside you as you faced all of the challenges of growing up. There were places in your book where I laughed, where I cried, where it seemed like I couldn't read the pages fast enough, and also some places where I rolled my eyes and muttered, "Such a guy." There were a few places where I thought you needed a few well-placed whacks. The main thing that got me, though, was the complete honesty you gave throughout the book, with no holding back of feelings. You have led such an exciting life. I love how you have followed your dreams without letting anyone discourage you.

    Karen Boyd
  • Wow Erik, what a fantastic book. I can picture, in great detail, every part of your journey. Mostly, I found myself laughing hysterically (usually out in public…I am sure people thought I was crazy). Parts of your story touched me too, and I would find myself welling up with tears or becoming frustrated right along with you. I love your message! Keep inspiring others to go for their dreams!

    Tammy MacDonald-Doran
  • I just finished reading the most wonderful book I have ever read. It's personal, it's a journey, and it’s an inspiration. I was absorbed with this book from beginning to end. The book is Touch the Top of the World by Erik Weihenmayer. I think it's the book of the year, a must-read, and an inspiring journey. Regardless of who you are as a person, you'll want to read this.

    L. W.
  • I am reading your book this week. It is better than any top-selling novel! I can't put it down. I am amazed at how well you weave humor, frustration, and determination all into the same story of your life. Thanks again for sharing it.

  • Thank you so much for writing your amazing book, it was un-put-downable. It resonated within me. I have lived a life in the darkness of fear (all totally needless and groundless) but God in his wisdom gave me your book when I needed it. Even though writing this note fills me with fear it is important for me to let you know it came into my life at an important time and has changed me. Please let me encourage you and your family to continue the good work you are doing.

    Lisa Cornish
  • The way in which you were able to describe in vivid detail the events of your life was captivating, but the real gift you have is the way in which you are able to identify specific key principles and articulate them in a way which leaves an indelible, thought provoking imprint upon the lives of those around you.

    Lorin Nicholson
  • I was so impressed with Erik's gift of story telling that I had to write. He is one funny dude. I laughed out loud at his adventures and dialog with his climbing partners. It brought back fond memories of previous climbing trips and the fun times I shared with my climbing buddies. I will probably never climb any of the Seven Summits but was able to enjoy experiencing these climbs through his words. I am an Occupational Therapist and meet people every day in my work that exhibit self-limiting behavior that prevents them from living full, enriched, healthy lives. I am going to recommend Erik's book to encourage others to REACH!

  • I lost all of my vision during combat operations on may 13th, 2008 while in Baghdad, Iraq 9 months ago. When I came back to the United States I knew my life had changed forever. Your book has really expressed the human spirit and shows others who are down and lost in the dark a way to live a great and fulfilling life. I have been trying to climb higher and higher past who I was before.

    Spc Steven C. Baskis
    United States Army
  • My daughter who is a Park Ranger at Glacier National Park gave me your book "Touch the Top of the World" for my recent 60th Birthday! I so loved it and could not stop reading it. I laughed and cried and sometimes at the same time. I would call my daughter and read parts of it to her. I felt your love for the mountains, which I so have as well, and when you described why you climb, I was very moved.

    Linda Whildin
  • I have taught for 24 years now and am constantly on the prowl for literature that touches on common human themes. Your book has impacted my kids. These are jaded, know-it-all high school sophomores who don't like to read. They are eating it up, and when I tell them to only read 2 chapters, many come in and ask if it's ok that they read ahead. Whoot! Second, the conversations and questions generated via your book have these kids examining many aspects of their lives. And, I'd be a liar if I didn't say that I'm right there with them reassessing my thinking too. Thank you for the honesty of this text. I believe that is what ultimately has drawn these 16 year old cynics into your story.

    Kris Kuhn
    Lincoln Lutheran High School - Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Captured me from the very beginning. Extremely inspiring story that can be applied to many "life happens" challenges. Easy to read & easy to imagine the actual situations & events. The author did an excellent job bringing the reader in. Loved how I was on the edge of my seat at one moment, then jumping up & down with excitement another minute, then laughing out loud with tears another. "Keep on keeping on". Great read with a great message.

  • Warning folks, this is a page-turner, a "can't put it down" type of book. The author Erik, is brutally raw and honest, yet strong as hell in body, mind and soul. This is truly an amazing human being. An inspirational being to the nth degree. Funnily enough, he rattles off his brave accomplishments very matter-of-factly. I want to hear more of this man's amazing life despite it all!

    Audrey Lee
  • Erik's story is funny, gut wrenching, and inspirational all in one. It is one of those reads that you just can't seem to put down until you've finished. Everyone from every walk of life should read this book. There's a lesson for all of us.

  • This book is amazing; I can read it again and again and not get tired of it. It shows that even if you have a disability you can do anything you put your mind to. Very inspirational!

  • Weihenmayer's recounting of his gradual loss of vision as a young man was gut wrenching, yet his learning to cope was inspiring. He somehow discovers a love for the mountains and a passion for climbing. Weihenmayer's writing is honest and refreshing. A great book to pass on as a gift to friends!

  • This enduring story captures the essence of its author's vision. I say this with all due respect, Erik Weihenmayer opens the eyes of the reader, and helps them see life through his blindness. As a teacher, it is now on my reading list for students to enjoy and hopefully allow themselves to be inspired.

    One thing in particular I enjoyed about this was the sense of self-deprecating humor the author pokes at himself. There are laugh out loud moments and plenty of smiling as we see one great accomplishment after another as Erik treks some of the most dangerous terrain in the world. There is a true sense of courage in Erik's approach, and I thought it was interesting to see how Erik's parents dealt with his disability. This is not only a story of courage, but a story of family. No matter the reader, there is much to be learned with this young man's life story. So do yourself a favor, get this book and enjoy a mind trip, as well as a heart trip.

    Scott Reighard
  • I saw Erik speak last year and received a copy of this book. It sat on my bookshelf for a long time until I had a chance to read it! I loved hearing his stories when I saw him speak, but the book goes much further and provides a treasure trove of great anecdotes of how he has refused to sit back and be led through life. Erik's tales weave a tapestry of courageous and compassionate acts that are an inspiration to anyone who's ever climbed a mountain or reached for a goal "because it was there". I highly recommend it!

    JT Richardson
  • I just finished reading the most wonderful book I have ever read. It's personal, it's a journey, it's an inspiration. The author seems like one of the more wonderful people in this world. The fact that he did what most of us couldn't is phenomenal; the fact that he enjoyed it is more. I was absorbed with this book from beginning to end.

    Here is a story that could also become your favorite. Erik's life focuses on people understanding their potential rather than making apologies for their limitations. If there is a message in this book (and I believe there is and there's more than just one), it's this:

    Whatever you decide to do in this life, don't quit. Don't ever quit. Even when you are at the lowest point in your life and everything seems to be crumbling around you. That's when you should pull yourself, with all your strength and more, up off the floor, sort to speak, and move on with your life.

    I highly recommend this book. Yes, he climbs mountains but that's not all he does. He taught middle school and was a wrestling coach, he is a world athlete, and is now a motivational speaker. He is a marvelous person, full of fortitude, tenacity, and extraordinary vision. This is a must-read.

    Lee Williams
  • For anyone who has climbed or trekked, this is a fantastic book that will remind you of the pain, strife and ultimate joy of having endured on the mountain. Of course, the mountains are simply the vehicle for the story to entice people to read an inspiring tale of a blind man and how he deals with what life has thrown at him. Humility, humor and inspiration abound! You'll be touched by Erik and wish all your friends were as solid a teammate as he is. I loved it.

    Jason Jones
  • Erik Weihenmayer has gone where no blind man has gone before and very few men and women with 20/20 vision will be able to follow his footsteps.

    This is more than a mountaineering book: it's the life story about a child who had to grow up with a visual handicap that put him more and more in the dark. First unwilling to accept this fact, but later unwilling to accept society's view of blind people.

    Being a good climber he just didn't quit because of his blindness, but found new ways of reaching the top, culminating in climbing the top of the world, Mt Everest and becoming one of the few people who have climbed the "7 summits".

    This is an amazing story about courage, and vision in more meanings of the word. Erik has climbed Denali, Aconcagua, El Capitan and Everest amongst others. But he also moved to a new state whilst being completely blind, trained his dog, fell in love, got married on the top of a continent, led a fellow climber through the dark woods and many other things you might not expect from a blind man.

    Although a close relative of mine has a blinding eye disease as well, this book inspired myself personally to just go out and do it, whatever 'it' is for me. Great inspiration and entertainingly written.

    KH Kikstra