Blind Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell, with the support of his friend Michael Neal and others, recently scaled Mount Everest, making him the fourth blind person to achieve this feat. Bedwell undertook the endeavor primarily "for his community of blinded veterans," saying, “I did it for them, and I have no reason to do something like that again."
But Neal insists that Bedwell's remarkable feat extends beyond his community, inspiring even those without direct ties to blindness or military service. The pair co-founded Sightless Summits, an initiative that challenges blind veterans to conquer the highest peaks on each continent. Everest, a challenging climb for even the most talented sighted climbers, marks the pair’s second summit that they’ve conquered.
Neal describes the effort as particularly demanding for Bedwell, explaining, “Everything on a mountain is harder. Everything is more challenging and more difficult for him." Despite setbacks, including having their oxygen stolen by another team, Bedwell remained undeterred, completing the climb and setting his sights on another peak in December. The pair are already starting on raising funds for the upcoming adventure.