Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther Than the Eye Can See

Erik Weihenmayer, Author Dutton Books $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-525-94578-9
In this moving and adventure-packed memoir, Weihenmayer begins with his gradual loss of sight as a very young child. By the time he became fully blind in high school, he had already developed the traits that would carry him to the summits of some of the world's highest mountains as well as onto the frequently hazardous slopes of daily life: charm, resilience, a sense of humor, a love of danger and a concern for others. His eloquent memoir exhibits all these traits. Weihenmayer--a thrill seeker who skydives, climbs mountains and skis--devotes the first half of the book to his adolescence, punctuated by his loss of sight, his mother's sudden death and his diligent efforts not only to pick up girls, but first to figure out which ones were attractive. With its many tales of pranks, adventures and the talents of his guide dog, this half alone is worth the price of admission. He goes on to chronicle his young adulthood, including his teaching career and his passion for climbing, seeded during a month-long skills camp for blind adolescents and blossoming on his harrowing ascent of Mount McKinley. He describes fearsome ascents of Kilimanjaro--with his fianc e, so they can be married near the crater summit--El Capitan and Aconcagua's Polish Glacier. Weihenmayer tells his extraordinary story with humor, honesty and vivid detail, and his fortitude and enthusiasm are deeply inspiring. With the insightful intimacy of Tom Sullivan's classic If You Could See What I Hear and the intensity of the best adventure narratives, Weihenmayer's story will appeal to a broad audience. (Feb. 14)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2001
Release date: 02/01/2001
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