Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards – Special mention.

We have covered hundreds of expeditions in 2009. It’s difficult to choose the best, as they all contributed in their own way, sharing their story – their very soul in fact – with us and the world.

And yet, there are those who continue to linger in our minds long after their final debrief. We have chosen 8 expeditions who have contributed in an extraordinary way to the Spirit of Adventure in 2009.

By their performance, these expeditions have proved themselves outstanding in all or most of the following:

– Courage
– Determination
– Persistence
– Self reliance
– Ingenuity
– Pioneering
– Idealism
– Comradeship
– Compassion
– Respect towards competition
– Honesty

Out of the hundreds of expeditions, the countdown of the most exceptional begins tomorrow, but starts already today with a special mention to an additional 4:

Special mention: Good guys leaving too early – Tomaz, Piotr, Serguey, Martin, Oscar, Roby, Mark…

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare,” said Mark Twain. You might be surprised to find this quote in a place covering hard adventure. Yet real explorers know that true heroes own the full spectrum of guts.

A special mention to the many this year that left us with a legacy to do things our way, and the right way.

* see :

–   Tragedy in the Himalaya, 2009 climbing season.

Special mention: GIII rescue

Bad tales grab most headlines but Himalaya also offers the most incredible rescues. Often un-noticed so far away from the climbers’ homelands, here’s just one example:

Attempting a new line on GIII’s NW flank in Pakistan, American Don Bowie, Bruce Normand, Billy and Guy were in C4 at 7300m going for the summit at midnight.

Things didn’t go to plan. Bruce became sick that night and his state worsened through the following day, while a storm unfolded outside. By the second night the situation became critical as the climber drifted in and out of consciousness, with an O2 sat measurement a staggeringly low 37%.

Early morning Bruce vomited while Don failed to establish a GPS signal. An amazing emergency descent followed in howling winds and zero visibility. Roped together the four climbers tackled unknown terrain through icefalls, black crevasses, fresh snow and avalanche debris for hours on end, eventually bringing their mate down to safety.

Details and more images here.

Related story: GIII-GVI: ExWeb special on “the other Gasherbrums”.

Special mention: Nives Meroi, fame vs. love

The position of the first woman in the world to summit all 14, 8000ers (Messner was the first male) will not necessarily go to the one who “deserves” it most.

A few years ago Nives Meroi and her husband Romano Benet were the only to summit K2 without oxygen, Sherpas or fixed rope on the upper sections. That year only two other climbers reached the summit, heavily supported.

This spring, Romano became seriously ill high up on Kangchenjunga and his wife gave up her top rank on the female 14x8000ers list to save his life. In her interview with ExplorersWeb, Nives said the chain of events helped her realize what is really important in life.

“I have summited all my 8000ers together with [Romano] and can’t think of reaching a summit without sharing it with him,” she said. “[The events] opened my eyes, and put my feet back on the ground. I remembered why I climb, how I climb, what is really important in life, and what is without sense.”

Related story: ExWeb Interview with Nives Meroi: “Romano comes first, whatever happens”.

* Previous story :

–  ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Farewell to friends.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Polar adventures.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Significant climbs.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: The Oceans.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Mount Everest.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Controversies.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review: Technology and Space.

–   ExplorersWeb Year 2009 in Review Final: Statistics and Politics.

–   Tragedy in the Himalaya, 2009 climbing season.

Exweb Week-In-Review is sponsored by HumanEdgeTech the world’s premier supplier of expedition technology. Our team helps you find ultra light expedition tech that works globally.

e-mail or call +1 212 966 1928

* Read these stories – and more! – at ExplorersWeb.com

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