NASS Insider


May 31, 2022


NASS 2022 Presidential Guest Speaker:
Erik Weihenmayer, Co-Founder, No Barriers and Touch the Top


Erik-Weihenmayer
The NASS 2022 Annual Meeting in Chicago will feature Erik Weihenmayer as this year’s guest speaker on Thursday, October 13, from 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Erik is the Co-Founder of No Barriers and Touch the Top, who has become a celebrated and accomplished athlete despite losing his vision at age 13. Redefining what it means to be blind, he has transformed the image of blindness and opened up the minds of people around the world.

On May 25, 2001, Erik became the first blind climber in history to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. In 2008, he reached the summit of Carstensz Pyramid in Papua, New Guinea completing his quest for the Seven Summits–the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.
In September 2014, he shifted his focus from climbing. Erik kayaked the entire 277 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, an adventure that he says was the hardest and scariest thing he has ever done.

Erik refuses to let blindness interfere with his passion for an exhilarating and fulfilling life and actively seeks opportunities to help others adopt a similar mindset. In 2004, he and his Everest teammates led a group of blind Tibetan teenagers to 21,000 feet on the north face of Everest as an educational outreach project.

To advance his initiatives, Erik co-founded the organization and the movement called No Barriers. The mission is to help people with challenges, face barriers head on, embrace a pioneering and innovative spirit, and team up with great people to live life with rich meaning and purpose. The motto is “What’s Within You is Stronger Than What’s in Your Way.” Erik’s No Barriers message is instrumental in the formation of the No Barriers Life elements, the foundation of the transformative work with youth, veterans and people with all types of challenges.

Erik is the author of Touch the Top of the World, The Adversity Advantage and most recently, No Barriers. He is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the prestigious National Courage Award and the ESPN ESPY award and was named as one of Men’s Journal’s “Top 25 Most Adventurous Men.”

The NASS Annual Meeting takes place October 12-15 in Chicago, Learn more about the meeting and register by visiting www.spine.org/am
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