National Geographic Announces 2018 Adventurers of the Year

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While I was away exploring Arctic Europe last week, National Geographic announced its list of the 2018 Adventurers of the Year. As usual, the winners of this prestigious award are names that we’ve shared on this blog in the past, with some obvious choice from last year, mixed in with a few nice surprises too.

Two of the names that would have been easy to predict making the list include climber Alex Honnold, who stunned the world with his free solo of El Capitan last summer, and Kilian Jornet, who managed to summit Everest twice in a span of five days. They’re joined by surfer and humanitarian Emi Koch, ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson O’Neill, mountain biker Rajesh Magar, photographers and scientists Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen, as well as stereotype-breaking ultrarunner Mirna Valerio.

As usual, all of these adventurers have great stories to share and each is deserving of making the cut. This year’s list is a bit smaller than in year’s past, but I think that helps lend an air of exclusivity and prestige to the winners. Unlike in years past however, it does seem that Nat Geo has done away with the “People’s Choice” award.

Normally these awards would be announced in November or December as a recap to the year that had just passed. When the announcement failed to come last fall, there were questions as to whether or not the Adventurers of the Year program had gone away. I had several of you email me to see if I knew anything, but I didn’t have anything to report. In the past, I was honored to have been asked to submit some suggestions for nominees, but that didn’t happen this year either. In the end however, I’m just glad to see these deserving men and women get their moment to shine and to know that we’ll see more adventurers get the nod in the future too.

Find out more about this year’s class of adventurers by clicking here.

Kraig Becker