5Point honors renowned blind adventurer to close film fest
Outdoor film festival 5Point honored blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer in Carbondale on Sunday with the festival’s inaugural 5Point Honors award for dedication to the organization’s ideals.
Weihenmayer received the award after a screening of the feature length film “The Weight of Water” — documenting Weihenmayer’s feat of kayaking the entire Grand Canyon — on the fourth and final day of the festival.
“This (award) is for dedication to living to all of our five points, and teaching others to live extraordinary lives,” event host Paddy O’Connell said Sunday. The eponymous five principles of the organization are respect, commitment, humility, purpose and balance.
During a discussion after the screening, Weihenmayer said he overcame the final, toughest rapids in part because of the strength of the people around him.
“When you’re such a great team, that team gives you strength, and it makes you want to be better and go beyond yourself,” said Weihenmayer, whose extensive mountain climbing resume includes being the first blind person to summit Mount Everest.
“The Weight of Water” also won the best of festival award.
“We are thrilled to honor Erik’s legacy and commitment to adventure with the first ever 5Point Honors award,” said Regina Jones, executive director of 5Point Film. “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.”
“Erik has built a world-class adventuring life for himself despite having to overcome his visual impairment,” said John Hauser, executive director of Challenge Aspen and personal friend of Weihenmayer, who attended the special tribute.
“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,” Hauser said.
Directed by Michael Brown, “The Weight of Water” follows Weihenmayer, his kayaking guide and crew, and a second blind kayaker, Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell, as they traversed the treacherous rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 2014.
The film also won the Banff Film Festival Grand prize in 2018, as well as other awards.
Weihenmayer recounted the trip in his book “No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon.”
He also has written the best-selling memoir “Touch the Top of the World” which also is a feature film, and “The Adversity Advantage,” about turning “everyday struggles into everyday greatness.”
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