Meet the 10 Most Inspiring Adventurers of the Year

For 12 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 all 10, then vote every day for the People’s Choice through December 16, 2016. The winner will be announced in January 2017.


Meet the Adventurers

Discover their incredible stories, then vote every day for the People’s Choice!

Park Protectors Pete McBride and Kevin Fedarko

Kevin Fedarko and Pete McBride slog through 700 miles of dangerous, dry terrain to raise awareness about development projects that…


Rock Climber Ashima Shiraishi

Over the past year, Ashima Shiraishi climbed the hardest rated boulder problems ever achieved by a woman—and she’s just started pushing the…


Trail Runner Mira Rai

High-elevation racing phenom Mira Rai is on a mission to help the women of Nepal through sports.


Cave Diver Krzysztof Starnawski

After 20 years of risky exploration and technical trial and error, Polish diver Krzysztof Starnawski finds the world’s deepest submerged cave. Get…


Celestial Circumnavigators Hōkūle‘a Team

Conjuring the spirits of ancient seafaring Polynesians, the crew of the Hōkūle‘a voyaging canoe is sailing around the planet with only…


Ocean Advocate Shannon Switzer Swanson

She spent her youth surfing and sailing. Now Shannon Switzer Swanson is diving into marine biology to investigate the aquarium fish trade.

Kayaker Semit Lee

Over 234 days, Semit Lee paddled 3,411 miles through rapids and remote gorges to document the social and environmental conditions along…

Paraglider Antoine Girard

Battling through storms and lightning strikes, Antoine Girard glides to 8,157 meters—higher than anyone has ever flown.

Wilderness Defender Kristine McDivitt Tompkins

Amid personal tragedy, Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia, is creating a legacy of new national parks in Chile and…

Mountaineer Colin Haley

Colin Haley’s lightning-fast climbs in Patagonia and Alaska this year cemented his place among the greatest alpine climbers of all time.

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