Blind ShokzSquad Member Summits Mt. Everest
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Blind ShokzSquad Member Summits Mt. Everest

Disability Pride Month, which is observed in July, is all about bringing awareness and taking pride in the range of abilities we have in our communities! We’re proud to have ShokzSquad members representing their disabilities with pride. One member, Zhang Hong, recently became the first Asian blind man to summit Mt. Everest. He shares more about his experience and what role AfterShokz played in his preparations below. 

 1. How long have you been climbing? And what role does climbing play in your life?

Zhang: I have been climbing since 2015. That was when I first heard about Mr. Eric, who is also blind. He was the only blind person who conquered Mt. Everest back then. He inspired me. I was wondering, “Why can’t I be a conqueror just like him?” It has been 6 years now. And within these 6 years, I conquered many snow mountains with high elevations. Ever since I started my climbing journey, my life has changed a lot. We all face many difficulties in our daily life. They could come from our family or career.

When I faced these difficulties, I always recalled those bigger obstacles and risks I encountered in mountain climbing.  I never fail to face and accept those challenges when it comes to mountain climbing. My climbing journey gave me the courage to face challenges in my life. My anxiety and fear faded away. I can see this positive impact that climbing exerts on my life. It gives me a healthier mindset, makes me more goal-oriented and determined.

Chinese:  _回答问题. 我是从15年偶然听说美国盲人艾瑞克。

是全球唯一一位登顶珠峰的盲人,当时我就突发奇想,他可以为什么我不可以去尝试一下?从那个时候开始我就和登山结缘,直到现在有6年时间期间攀登了多座高海拔的雪山。自从我登山以后,我的生活就发生了很大的改变,因为登山可以促进我生活的方方面面,因为我们每天会面临很多各种各样的障碍,家庭的工作的,可是一旦当我面对这样的时候,就会想到我登山所面临的障碍会更大,可能风险会更高,可是我都敢于去面对,敢于去接受挑战。

因此当在生活当中,如果遇到一些挑战和战的时候,我就不像以前那么焦虑,那么恐惧,就能够坦然去面对,所以登山它对我生活带来非常大的积极的影响,让我有更好的心态去面对一切,同时也让我有了目标感,做任何事情,而不是犹犹豫豫,磨磨蹭蹭。一步一步的朝目标迈进。所以生活上工作上有了很大的一些改观。

2.Why Everest? Were there other treks that led you to this ultimate goal?

Zhang: As a blind person, I am always looking for the light in my life. For me, conquering Mt. Everest became the light of my life and enriched my experience. I see such an act as a positive impact on my kids and it inspires and comforts my wife. In the end, I realized my story not only encouraged my family but also other people. It is not just the light in my life, but a lighthouse in other people’s lives as well. It gives people strength and encouragement. 

Chinese: 至于为什么要登珠峰,因为我觉得作为一个盲人来说,就要去让自己人生多一些亮光,因为一直在寻找能够怎样的增加自己的人生的经历,同时可以给到孩子更好的影响,给他一个榜样,给到爱人更大的信心,希望能够影响他们,到后来发现不但可以影响家长,还可以影响到更多的人,给他们更多的一些力量和鼓励。

3. Who inspired and supported you in this goal? 

Zhang: Mr. Eric is my role model. As the first blind person who conquered Mt. Everest, Mr. Eric’s story always inspires me and gives me confidence. At the same time, the support from my kids and my family means a lot to me as well.

Chinese: 第三个问题,谁激励了我?对。自从我登上以后,艾瑞克先生当时我想他同样双目失明为双目失明,他能够登顶珠峰,他这种榜样的作用一直在影响到我,让我有信心去完成这个事情。同样的我的孩子,我的家人,他们在背后的支持,背后的鼓励也给了我很大的支撑。

4.  What tools did you use to make the climb possible? 

Zhang: There are no specific tools that I used to climb Mt. Everest. Mountain climbing for blind people is not so different from mountain climbing for everyone. We all face the same difficulties. It is fair for blind people and people with normal eyesight when it comes to mountain climbing. There is no specific tool that is designed for blind people to make mountain climbing easier.

Chinese: 关于攀登珠峰有没有什么特殊的工具,面对所有雪山,盲人攀登和所有普通人攀登面临一样的条件,没有特殊,因为任何一座雪山它对盲人正常人都是公平的,没有特殊,同样所有登山装备也没有一款是专为盲人设计的,所以我们没有任何特殊的辅助装备来减轻我们攀登的难度。

5. What role did your AfterShokz headphones play in your preparation and climb to the top? 

Zhang: Aftershokz’s headphones did bring ease to me. First of all, I do not have to put it on or take it off. The bone conduction design allows me to place it on my head even if I am not using it. It does not go into my ears, which gives me the freedom of knowing what is going on in the background. Secondly, it makes talking easier. It connects to our walkie-talkie through Bluetooth.

For example, with all the equipment we had on during mountain climbing, it was difficult to take out our walkie-talkies to talk. With AfterShokz’ headphones, we do not have to take out our walkie-talkies. Everything just goes through Bluetooth and can be directly forwarded to our captain. It definitely makes talking more efficient.

Chineses: 关于这款韶音耳机,确实它给我带来很多方便。第一,他不需要我随时摘取,因为他不需要入耳,我用的时候我打开不用的时候,我同样可以夹在后脑,不影响我们耳朵,听取其他的一些声音,一点不影响,所以在攀登过程当中,因为它是蓝牙的可以连接对讲,因为在高海拔我们全副武装,要套对讲很不方便,而这个蓝牙的它配上自动什么讲话的,对讲以后就相对非常方便了。我们不用手去掏对讲机,想说什么话自己说,他通过蓝牙就传到队长,然后就发出去了。这点我觉得它减轻了我们在攀登过程当中这种沟通交流的难度,给了很多的方便。

Follow Zhang’s team on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to learn more about his journey. And stay tuned for a full-length documentary of his trek coming soon.