The Weight of Water is a story of a blind man balancing fear in the chaos of kayaking whitewater rapids . . . not to mention drowning, and the powerful desire to be free from a prison of darkness. He embarks, alone in his own boat, into the home of the most iconic whitewater in the world, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
Erik has already overcome some stunning challenges for both sighted and blind people, including climbing Mount Everest. Whitewater kayaking is different, the water moves unpredictably, the rocks that make up that canyon walls are absolutely unforgiving, the roar cuts him off from his guide’s voice and threatens his kayak, his friends are also in equal jeopardy and fighting for their own survival.
He soon discovers that all of the preparation and practice are not going to be enough. As the Grand Canyon’s crowning rapid, Lava Falls draws closer, Erik’s fear grows till it nearly paralyzes him. When disaster inevitably strikes, Erik is then faced with a powerful choice and a rare chance to change the outcome. This choice defines the journey.
Erik Weihenmayer is one of the most celebrated and accomplished athletes in the world. In 2001, he became the first blind person in history to climb Mount Everest and all of the Seven Summits - the tallest peak on each of the seven continents. Erik continually seeks out new adventures, focusing on empowering people traditionally swept to the sidelines of life. He founded No Barriers, which helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit, break through barriers, and contribute to the world. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of their Everest ascent, Erik and his team founded a new No Barriers program, No Barriers Warriors, which uses teamwork and the mountains as a transformative force to help veterans reclaim their lives after devastating injuries. Erik is the author of the best-selling memoir and feature film, Touch the Top of the World. Erik’s newest book, No Barriers, is a dive into the heart and mind at the core of the turbulent human experience. It is an exploration of the light that burns in all of us, the obstacles that threaten to extinguish that light, and the treacherous ascent towards growth and rebirth. Erik is a graduate of Boston College and earned a Masters in Education from Lesley University. He lives with his wife and two children in Golden, Colorado.
A former Navy Petty Officer, Lonnie Bedwell was critically injured during 1997 in a hunting accident that instantly took his sight. Nevertheless, he raised three daughters as a single father, teaching them all to hunt and fish — and, against all odds, to drive. Once the girls graduated from high school, Lonnie continued to challenge himself, ultimately becoming a renowned extreme sports athlete. When the threshold for running the Grand Canyon was placed at 1,000 kayak rolls, he took his donated kayak to the pond on his farm and rolled it 1,500 times. The rest is history. Lonnie has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro summited several of North America’s highest mountains, rock climbs, and is an avid downhill skier when he has time away from roofing work in his hometown of Duggar, IN.
In his career, Michael Brown has excelled as both an adventure athlete and as a filmmaker. He has been to the summit of Mount Everest five times, each time with cameras rolling. His work as a director and cinematographer spans all seven continents and more than fifty expeditions. Michael's work has won many festival & industry awards including three national Emmy's and the Giant Screen Cinema (IMAX) Cinematography Award. He is also a recipient of the International Alliance For Mountain Film's "Grand Prize," and the Explorers Festival's "Camera Extreme" Michael's lens has captured ice caves for NOVA, tornadoes for Discovery, science at the South Pole for National Geographic, avalanches for the BBC and mountain climbing for four giant screen IMAX movies. Michael frequently ventures to the world's harshest, most dangerous environments and always comes back with incredible footage and compelling stories. Outside Magazine describes the cerebral filmmaker as a "swashbuckling librarian," and Men's Journal calls him "a master of gut-dropping action." Michael lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife Julia, and their three children.
Chris Bacon burst onto the film-scoring scene with his full-throttled score for Duncan Jonesʼs hit thriller Source Code. Having cut his teeth as a protégé—orchestrating, co-composing, and writing additional music—of James Newton Howard (on films like Gnomeo and Juliet and King Kong), Bacon made his solo debut with the score for Angels Fall and hasnʼt looked back. He gave animated accompaniments to Space Chimps and Alpha and Omega. Chris grew up in Utah playing piano and saxophone and studied composition in college. He moved to Los Angeles to attend USCʼs film scoring program, which resulted in his apprenticeship with Howard.
Composer partner with Chris Bacon: Gad Emile Zeitune is an American music composer who is working with the composers James Newton Howard and Chris Bacon. He is known for the work on the films includes Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Alpha and Omega, Gnomeo & Juliet and Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike.
Although they only live 10 miles from each other, Rob Raker first met Erik in an unlikely location, Antarctica. A documentary filmmaker, Rob was on an expedition to document an ascent of the tallest peak on the continent, the Vinson Massif, while Erik was climbing the peak as part of his goal to climb the Seven Summits. But it wasn’t until Rob was on assignment to film Erik on some of his exploits that they became good friends. Since then, they have rock climbed, ice climbed, skied, ice skated, paddle-boarded, bicycled, kayaked and traveled to over a dozen countries together.
Born and raised in Flagstaff, AZ, Harlan Taney has made a life of adventuring around the globe. He has kayaked exotic rivers from China to Norway, South America to New Zealand. For the last 18 years, Harlan has spent his summers as a Grand Canyon river guide amassing somewhere in the ballpark of 160 trips down the “Big Ditch.” He has joined Erik for adventures from Mexico and Peru to the Salmon River in Idaho and will serve as Erik’s primary guide in the Canyon. In 2012, Harlan attempted a solo speed run of the Grand Canyon, to paddle the 277-mile stretch in 36 hours. Harlan is the owner and operator of 4 Corner Film Logistics, managing productions for National Geographic, Discovery, NBC and the BBC to name a few. He lives in Flagstaff with is two young daughters.