National Geographics Top Adventurers of 2013

It’s getting to the end of the year when everybody is coming out with lists of the best whatever and so on; so if you spend time to vote for anything this year make it the Top Adventurer. The polling goes through National Geographic but here is the list and a quick synopsis of what they’ve done.

1. Felix Baumgartner- Clearly the most well known of the top ten but just to recap- Baumgartner jumped from a small helium balloon 128,100 feet, or about 23.5 miles. He became the first human to break the sound barrier without mechanical help-ever.   Delivering one of the best quotes of 2012 he said- “I wish the whole world could see what I see,” said Baumgartner. “Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are.” Full interview here

2. Renan Ozturk- Artist, film-maker, and mountain climber- Renan Ozturk has been documenting trips for quite some time. Recently he and two others were the first to ever climb Mount Meru aka the Shark Fin- in the Himalayas. Meru is viewed as a religious symbol of the center of the universe and had never been successfully climbed along the steep ascent. In 2008 Ozturk attempted the climb and documented it only to be forced to turn back 150 meters from the top. He returned in 2011 and finished the climb, scaling the sheer cliff and going down in the history books.

3. Steve Fisher- A native of South Africa, Fisher became the first ever to navigate through the legendary Inga rapids in the Congo- the most difficult rapids in the world. Second only to the Amazon river as far as volume is concerned, the Inga is also in the war torn country of the Democratic Republic of Congo. A group of seven adventurers had attempted the rapids in 1985 but disappeared- either because of the river or perhaps being caught in the crossfire.

4. David Lama-  The mountain of Cerro Torre in Italy has quite a history- saturated with controversy stemming back to Cesare Maestri who put in many bolts on the mountain and launched the issue of ethical climbing behavior. No one has ever been able to climb the peak without the help of Maestri’s bolts until David Lama. At the spry age of 22 Lama free climbed the mountain.

5. Mike Libecki- This guy has a whole slew of firsts and adventures that he accomplished this year- here they are in rapid fire succession.

  • First ascent of Borneo’s West Kalimantan
  • Snowboard in Afghanistan’s (that’s right Afghanistan) Koh-e Baba Mountains and then kite skied over some mountain lakes.
  • Stand-up paddleboarded in Franz Josef Land, right by the North Pole- paddling in between islands and climbing mountains solo that had never before been climbed.
  • Made a new climb on a granite mountain on Greenland’s coast.
  • He is currently heading to Antartica to climb more stuff that has never been climbed before

This guy loves the adventure and the unknown,  his favorite saying is:

“Death and/or old age is coming…..we must live sweet.
The time is now. Why ration passion?
Dream big…..and climb those dreams.
After all, it is not only life, but the quality of this life.”

6. Lizzy Hawker- Trail runners, I give you your Michael Jordan, Mohammad Ali, and or Jackie Robinson of running. Hawker recently ran the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc; it’s a French race if you couldn’t tell. It’s a 103- mile race that puts runners traveling through the mountains of France, Italy, and Switzerland.  Oh ya, and she won it- five years in a row- which as you probably have guessed by now is unprecedented. Last year she set the world record for women’s distance run in a 24 hour period with 153.5 miles.

7. Josh Dueck– This story is more about just being the first to do something, it’s about not letting a disability slow you down. Dueck became a parapalegic after a skiing accident- refusing to let that stand in his way Dueck became a pioneer in a new sport. This year he became the first person to do a back flip in a sit-ski.

8. Shannon Galpin- Mountain biker and humanitarian Galpin has been bringing attention to woman’s rights in the war-torn country of Afghanistan. Teamed up with a group of photographers, she is a voice for change using art and photographs. She is also the founder of Mountain2Mountain, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding woman’s rights and oppurtunities for education. Galpin has taken advantage of bike riding and rode 140 miles in the Panjshir Valley to raise money.

9. Jeremy Jones- For years Jones has been an inspiration to snowboarders and skiiers alike for his innovation and seeming fearless desire to push his sport farther. He has now become the face of backcountry snowboarding, making several films and founding his own company dedicated to the sport. Jones took these risks in 2009 and now they are starting to pay off, the sport is growing thanks to the help of two films he put out Deeper, and Further. Always pushing the envelope, Jones is the face of backcountry snowboarding.

10. Ramon Navarro- Chilean surfer Navarro rode what he and many others are calling the perfect wave, this past summer in Fiji. His ride is being deemed the best tube ride ever, and even though I could describe it to you- the video below is way better.


I personally don’t know who I’m gonna vote for, with so many history making accomplishments it’s hard to say but if you want to vote click here, oh and you can vote everyday. The competition is run through national geographic and if you want more info about the nominees or honorable mentions you can go here.

St. George and Outdoor Winter Climbing

For all you enthusiasts and beginners alike looking for some last good outdoor climbing before the winter really gets dirty may I suggest St. George. While we were there we met some Canadians who had made the trip to enjoy the warm weather. The geographic location of the city is what makes St. George such an ideal spot for climbing or just vacationing in general. It sits in southwest Utah, just a short drive from Las Vegas in case you want a temporary break from the outdoors.  It enjoys the red rock formations and warm weather, characteristic of that area of the country.

Oh and one more thing, everything is so close together! We stayed there for just one night and were able to go to three different spots while never having to drive for more than twenty minutes. A lot of these spots are pretty accessible and do get a lot of traffic but that’s why you go in the late fall/winter!

For those of you that have not yet experienced the goodness that is St. George, here are some cool spots you can go for your first time.

1. Pioneer Park Slot Canyon- Now for those of you who have been to St. George, I know what you’re thinking, Pioneer Park is more of a family friendly park then a good climbing spot, but hear me out. In the park there is a slot canyon on the northeast side that widens near the base and that is where you can climb. There are about three or four routes that are all fairly challenging. However, the great thing about these routes is that you can climb around to the top if you aren’t comfortable top roping.

Bottom view of corner climb shown from above in previous photo. Bolts visible.

2. Chuckwalla Wall- This has got to be one of the most popular climbing sites in St. George. There are a lot of routes and a wide range of difficulty- therefore it gets a lot of traffic and most of the holds are pretty chalked. If this is on your list of places to climb, now is the time to go. It was just us and one other group climbing while we were there, and it was about 60 or 70 degrees the entire time.

3. Black Rocks-  This was our third and final stop but it was legite nonetheless and definitely worth a visit. Black Rocks is a nice break from most of the climbing in St. George because it’s not sandstone. It also has the widest variety of difficulty of any of the sites we visited. I’m pretty sure the rock is basalt and the area has a shady side and a sunny side, routes range from a 5.7-5.13’s. It readily satisfies many different levels of expertise.