GOLDEN, Colo. -- For days on end, Ellie Weihenmayer sent e-mail messages to her husband on Mount Everest, reminding him to wear his helmet.
Her attitude changed when it looked like bad weather might stop Erik Weihenmayer's attempt to become the first blind climber on the summit of the world's highest mountain.
"I began pushing for him to (reach the) summit, and less about safety," she said.
He made it May 25, winning the admiration of other climbers and cheers from the National Federation of the Blind, which helped finance his climb of the 29,035-foot peak.
"It's not all good and it's not all bad. It was a big sacrifice," Weihenmayer, 33, said in an interview at his home.
Part of the sacrifice was being away from his 11-month-old daughter, Emma, during the three-month trek.
"I measured my time away by how many teeth Emma grew. It was seven," he said.
Weihenmayer was pleased that he had destroyed some stereotypes about the blind, but said that wasn't the point: "I didn't do it to prove anyone wrong. I did it for the fun of it."
Still, "It sure is nice to do something that completely shatters people's assumptions."
"Erik has proven that blind people are pretty average," said Nancy Burns, president of the National Federation of the Blind.
In some ways, being blind was an aid. "What turns people back a lot of times is that their goggles freeze up. They can't see, but if they take the goggles off they can be blinded by the snow," said Weihenmayer.
Weihenmayer said he could tell he had reached the top "because the sound vibrations are different. It is like an open infinity and is so beautiful for a blind person."
After the climb, the team returned to the Nepalese capital of Katmandu in time to be confronted by rioters demonstrating over the June 1 killings of members of the royal family.
"We almost couldn't get out of there. It was crazy. People were throwing bricks. I had never smelled tear gas."
Despite that and the dangers on the mountain, the Everest climb was easy compared to last year's attempt by a team that included Weihenmayer to climb Ama Dablam, nearly 7,000 feet lower than Everest. One climber had to be evacuated.
"The cool thing was we knew that even though we failed we were a team," said Weihenmayer.
Both climbs were led by Pasquale Scaturro.
"Erik is a great teammate. He is very easy to get along with," Scaturro said. "People have to realize that he is very independent, though. Some want to take care of him too much."
Team members guided Weihenmayer by making noise with a bell or hitting rocks with a ski pole. At the end of the day, they described the camp site and Weihenmayer would set up his tent.
"He is strong as an ox, and is an amazing athlete," said Scaturro. "What he did in my opinion is one of the great athletic feats of the century, and he did it with no frostbite or other injuries."
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