Screenshot from an AZ Family newscast of video of students walking a trail in the Grand Canyon with text that reads "Visually impaired Teens Hike Grand Canyon"

From AZ Family 3TV CBS5, August 2021


Ethan Roberts and a dozen other visually impaired teens hiked the Grand Canyon and went down some of Colorado River’s most dangerous rapids. In total, the group went 137 miles.

“We do some hikes, and being visually impaired, it’s difficult to see where you’re going on the trail. So, I’d have a guide. I just hold on to somebody’s arm or somebody’s backpack, and they direct me where to go,” said Ethan Roberts. Jared Kittelson from the Foundation for Blind Children was Ethan’s guide.

“By the end of this trip, Ethan was scaling these mountains, using hands and feet, with no guide at all, right, like it’s just me telling them like ‘hey I’m over here,’ and he would find his own path. I mean to see that progress and that type of competence emerge through a trip like this was, was pretty cool to watch unfold,” said Kittelson.

Kittelson is so proud to see what Ethan and the other teens can accomplish when they put their minds to it. They started training for this trip back in 2020.

“It was such a powerful experience to watch these; these 13 kids stay committed for 18 months through a pandemic,” he said.

Ethan is studying music production at Mesa Community College, and with this experience, he knows he can tackle what’s next.

“I feel like now that I’ve done this trip. I can do other things and conquer other things because that the trip was super hard,” he said.

Watch the full report here