This Sherpa Woman Is Our Adventurer of the Year

Adventure is sometimes criticized as being selfish—the pursuits of privileged people with time to burn. At National Geographic, our definition of adventure is a broad one, spanning exploration and conservation, the pushing of the boundaries of human potential, cultural boundary breaking, community building, and humanitarianism. Our 2016 Adventurer of the Year honorees reflect this diversity, from…

Take Better Photos in the Mountains – Part 1

Like many “pros” out there, I’m a self-taught photographer—after all photography itself is not that complicated. Over the years I’ve become a lot more efficient at capturing the outdoors, but my style has never changed. Everyone has their own style, and that’s not something that should be force fed. But underneath every personal taste there are…

A Year in the Wilderness: Followed by Wolves – Week 16, Post 9

There are wolves all around us; scientists estimate there are close to 500 wolf packs in Northern Minnesota. We encounter their tracks almost every day and their ghostly howls often pierce the frigid night air, but we rarely see them. Normally wolves run away when they sense the presence of humans and are gone before we…

Climbers Set Blistering Speed Record On Patagonia’s Torre Traverse

In an astonishing record time of 20 hours and 40 minutes, climbers Colin Haley and Alex Honnold on Monday completed the second ascent of the Torre Traverse—a north-to-south traverse of Patagonia’s Cerro Standhardt, Punta Herron, Torre Egger, and Cerro Torre. Their camp-to-camp time was 32 hours. Haley, 31, is beginning to see big dividends after…

Why a Thousand-Mile Hike Through the Mideast Ended After 160 Miles

Walking. Just putting one foot in front of the other. It seems like a simple task. And Dave Cornthwaite, veteran of eleven expeditions of a thousand miles or more, figured a walking adventure through Israel, Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt would be like his other thousand-mile adventures: hard at times but otherwise a fun way to…

33-Year-Old Grand Canyon Speed Record Broken Twice in Three Days

In a motel room outside of Lee’s Ferry, Arizona, Ben Orkin’s alarm went off at 12:30 a.m. At 2 a.m. he was planning to launch his second attempt in as many years to become the first person to beat a 33-year-old record for fastest non-motorized descent of the Grand Canyon. His first attempt, in January…

Hiking Peaks on an Island Paradise

Cobalt, cerulean, azure, ultramarine . . . When viewed from above, the Indian Ocean is so much more than just blue. I was standing near the top of Le Morne Mountain, a basaltic monolith on the west coast of Mauritius. From my perch, I could see a smattering of small islands, a fleet of local…

Miles from Nowhere in Patagonia

After hours of steep bushwhacking through spiny Calafate bushes in Chilean Patagonia, I cursed as another thorn impaled my leg. I was tired and hungry, my heavy wet feet squishing in boots that were soggy from crossing multiple bogs. My guide, Fernando, was 30 feet ahead—too far for me to follow his footsteps, which were…

South Pole Explorer Dies in Record Attempt

The British ex-army officer was evacuated 30 miles short of his goal. Henry Worsley, a 55-year-old British ex-army officer and veteran polar explorer, has died in his attempt to become the first person in history to cross the Antarctic continent solo, unsupported, and unaided. Worsley was attempting to complete the route proposed by Ernest Shackleton…

When Where You’ve Been Isn’t on a Map

Introducing Way Finding, a new column about our sense of wild places “Where did you come from?” The woman was small, no older than 30, I’d guess, in a big floppy hat and holding a tall walking stick, making her appear, for a moment, wizardly. She’d passed my companions without saying a word, and when…