Most people are content to view Nature’s more extreme spectacles, such as burning fields of lava or pinnacles of frozen rock, from a distance. Others feel compelled to savour them first-hand, to take up the challenges they present. What draws these people to perform feats of such astounding daring that one false step can result in death? Perhaps it is the thrill of combining strength and stamina with mental agility, or the desire to be overwhelmed by Nature’s granduer or, in the words of a Swiss mountain lover, to play a game ‘in the words of a swiss mountain lover, to play a game in which the player tastes most keenly the joy of being alive.
Here are the 10 most influential adventurers in the world who have inspired many:
Catherine Destivelle – Life in her hands
French rock climber Catherine Destivelle dangles from the edge of a flat-topped cone of rock above a yawning gorge in Canyonlands, Utah.
Chris Bonington – Mountain Dawn
Mountaineer Chris Bonington photographed dawn breaking on Mount Cook, New Zealand, which he scaled with fellow ‘Everest’ in 1976.
Roman Dial – Ice Man
An Alaskan rock climber, Roman Dial, seeks out frozen waterfalls as a test of skill and nerves.
Katia Kraft – Fire Walker
German scientist Katia Kraft, who with her husband spent 20 years studying volcanoes, walks in protective clothing by a lava flow on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa.
Bachendri Pal – The First One
By continually conquering mountains in her career, Bachendri Pal ascertained that all women can achieve triumph in any field they choose to follow. She is the first Indian woman to reach the peak of Mount Everest in 1984.
Judy Laden – Alpine flight
Powered only by air currents, Judy Laden, hang-glider drifts high above the clouds over the Swiss Alps, body held prone to minimise drag.
Arati Saha – Swimming prodigy
Arati Saha is an inspiration to young men and women, evoking a new interest in swimming and encouraging them to join swimming and bring pride to the country. The first woman (Indian) to swim across the English Channel.
Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja – Serial Record Breaker
This 37-year-old conquered the world’s 14 loftiest mountains in seven months in 2019 – which clearly gives him pretty high notoriety in the world of mountaineering.
Andrzej Bargiel – snow leopard
In 2018 he became the foremost to ski down from the 8,600m high summit of K2 without withdrawing his skis.
Will Gadd – Mountain hero
He completed the first one-day climb to the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mt Robson, doing it alone, and he continues to scour new rock, alpine and ice routes across the world.