For 11 years, National Geographic has combed the globe to find the Adventurers of the Year, each selected for his or her extraordinary achievement in exploration, adventure sports, conservation, or humanitarianism. Get to know this year’s honorees, then vote for the 2016 People’s Choice. (Nat Geo Adventure)
Meet the Mountaineer!
- Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita, the first female mountaineering instructor in Nepal, led massive relief efforts following the devastating earthquake in April.
Meet the Boundary Breakers!
- This year, the Afghan Women’s Cycling Team competed internationally for the first time.
- Use our resources to map Afghanistan (lots of mountains for those cyclers!) and learn more about other ways women are making changes in the country.
Meet the Climbers!
- Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson captured the world’s attention as they completed the first free climb of Yosemite’s Dawn Wall, considered the world’s longest, hardest, blankest rock climb.
Meet the Exploratory Kayakers!
- Ben Stookesberry, Benny Marr, Chris Korbulic, and Pedro Oliva made a source-to-sea first descent of the treacherous Beriman River, tucked away in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.
Meet the Long-Distance Kayaker!
- Freya Hoffmeister completed a perilous passage: a four-year, 16,700-mile-long circumnavigation of South America.
Meet the Ski Mountaineers!
- Chris Davenport, Christy Mahon, and Ted Mahon have climbed all of Colorado’s 53 “fourteeners” (peaks that reach at least 14,000 feet)—and skied down them.
Meet the Solar Pilots!
- When the Solar Impulse 2 landed in Hawaii this year, pilot André Borschberg had been at the controls for 118 hours. Borschberg and fellow pilot Bertrand Piccard hope to use the momentum to turn the world’s attention to clean energy.
Meet the Trail Runner!
- Legendary ultramarathoner Scott Jurek set a new speed record on the Appalachian Trail: 46 days, 8 hours, and 7 minutes.
Meet the Wildlife Heroes!
- Ecologist Arthur Middleton and photographer Joe Riis combined science and stunning imagery to shine a light on why Yellowstone’s wildlife needs freedom to move.
Meet the Wilderness Protector!
- Biologist Steve Boyes led a team 1,578 miles to save the wildest place in Africa and the pulse of the planet.
Which adventurers intrigue you the most? Vote for them here!
Nat Geo: Adventurers of the Year 2016
Nat Geo: Go on a Family Adventure game
Nat Geo: 1-Page Maps