Dugger, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Climbing the world’s tallest mountain is steep goal, climbing it when your blind, is an even rockier challenge.
“I’m a little nervous, but I’m truly trying to stay as emotionally neutral as I can,” said Lonnie Bedwell.
Bedwell is quite familiar with controlling his nerves. This adventurer has kayaked the raging rapids of the Colorado River, surfed and sailed, and even climbed the highest peak in the U.S. Mount Denali. While this man, who lost his sight in a hunting accident in 1997 likes to push his limits, climbing Mt. Everest was never really on his radar.
“I truly didn’t have a desire to do it to begin with,” laughed Bedwell.
But then, he received two phone calls. One call from another climber and the other from the Blind Veterans Association, which asked him to be a voice and encourage other disabled veterans.
“We’re hoping to truly let people believe in themselves and each other and what’s really possible out there and expand the limits of what people consider disabled,” Bedwell added.
So Bedwell, who served in the Navy for 9 years and then the Army National Guard prepared. For 9 months, he worked several hours, six days a week. He ran, used a stair climber that he got from the VA, rode an indoor bike, and has a climbing machine.
“And then I spend lots of time doing burpees and squats, squats, squats,” Bedwell laughed again.
And now, he’s conquering his biggest challenge yet and reminding others with and without disabilities, they can do the same.
“You can still do so much more than you think you can,” said Bedwell. “And life is still worth living and go out and do it.”
Bedwell is with a group of climbers. He has a sighted guide. Bedwell says the climb can take up to 50 days. It began on April 6, 2023.
You can watch Bedwell as he continues his climb on the following sites.