Blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer received the inaugural 5Point Honors award Sunday in a special tribute ceremony after the screening of a documentary about his kayaking adventure in the Grand Canyon, “The Weight of Water.”
It’s based on a trip in September 2014 that Weihenmayer and blinded Navy veteran, Lonnie Bedwell, made as they kayaked the entire 277 miles of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River.
“We are thrilled to honor Erik’s legacy and commitment to adventure with the first ever 5Point Honors award. His mission to overcome challenges and also support others through his nonprofit work embodies everything that 5Point is about, and it is such an honor to have Erik join us at this year’s festival feature film screening,” said Regna Jones, executive director of 5Point Film, in a published statement.
The author of the best-selling memoir which was made into a feature film, “Touch the Top of the World,” Weihenmayer also wrote “The Adversity Advantage.” His latest book is “No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon.”
Weihenmayer was a guest speaker at the first 5Point Film Festival in 2009 and his film helped close the 12th annual event, which ran April 25-28 in Carbondale. “The Weight of Water,” which won the Banff Film Festival’s grand prize in 2018, was produced by Michael Brown.
In 2001, Weihenmayer became the only blind person in history to climb Mount Everest. Then in 2008, he completed his journey to climb all of the Seven Summits. Among his other accomplishments, Weihenmayer founded an organization called No Barriers, which helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit, break through barriers, and contribute to the world.
In a statement, John Hauser, executive director of Challenge Aspen, said: “Erik has built a world class, adventuring life for himself despite having to overcome his visual impairment. He is continuing to find great challenges to climb and unique ways to give back to others with disabilities. It is fun to have been a very small part of these adventures and to call Erik a friend.” Based in Snowmass Village, Challenge Aspen touts its mission as “Creating possibilities for people with disabilities since 1985.”
The 5Point Film Festival this year offered 50 short films, two feature film programs, conversations with panelists and special guests and a range of community festivities during its four-day run.