DUGGER, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – A Dugger man lost his sight 25 years ago in a hunting accident. Despite being blind, he continues to set big goals for himself. He recently completed a feat many of us would never attempt. He climbed the highest peak in North America, Mount Denali.
“It was a challenge. It was a definite challenge, probably the hardest physical challenge that I’ve had since losing my eyesight,” Lonnie Bedwell said as he laughed.
Bedwell trained for months by running a seven mile course near his home. He also received instruction and help from his “Sightless Summits” team.
“They were an incredible team, incredibly strong, incredibly driven,” added Bedwell. “And they got me to the top.”
But almost every step to more than 20,000 feet above sea level was dangerous. According to the National Parks Service, three people had already died in 2022 before Bedwell began his ascent.
Bedwell described how they sometimes had to navigate ridges only a foot wide. At one point, Bedwell fell into a crevasse. Thanks to his team and his own tenacity, he was able to pull himself out.
So what motivates a man to scale to the top of a mountain when, once he gets there, he can’t enjoy the view?
“The motivation for me to get to the top was to get there, just to prove what’s possible,” Bedwell said.
He hopes his efforts to prove what’s possible encourages others to believe in themselves and to know it’s ok to receive help along the way.
“Where can your vision take you? Where can our vision take us?” Bedwell asked as he began to get emotional. “You know, a blind man, cannot do what we did, but together we did it.”
Bedwell’s next goal is to climb the tallest peak in the world, Mount Everest.