On Episode 162 of the Enormocast, I sit down with visually impaired climber, Justin Salas. Hailing from the unlikely climbing locale of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Justin started losing his sight to an unidentified syndrome while a teenager. The first thing to be abandoned was his passion for BMX, then depression set in. Luckily, a friend got him on his bike again, and Justin began hucking tricks and riding around town with his buddy as a “seeing eye person” on a bike. Not long after, Justin was introduced to climbing and never looked back, pun intended. Since that intro, he’s climbed V11 and won his category at the World Championships in Innsbruck. What Justin lost in eyesight, he’s makes up for in vision of what a visually impaired athlete can accomplish.
On Episode 27 of the Enormocast, I sit down with blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer. Erik found climbing just in time to save him from a miserable existence in the dark safe place where taking chances and adventure are out of the question. Instead, Erik learned to push against his boundaries and seek fearful situations to help him grow. Giving in to his blindness instead of fighting it was the ironic catalyst to a life of adventure that has taken Erik to the top of Denali, Everest, and countless other ice, rock, and snow climbs. Not satisfied with just climbing, Erik also learned to kayak and descended the entire Grand Canyon. Erik has learned to let go of the forces he can’t control and achieve a certain flow in the river of life. And did I mention that he can’t see a damn thing? And climbs 5.11 and kayaks class 5? WTF?