The Boldest Adventures of the Last Decade

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From the first woman to climb the 14 highest peaks without supplemental oxygen to the first solar-powered flight around the world, the last decade pushed the boundaries of adventure in every way. As it comes to a close, we look back on the boldest adventures and accomplishments. Here are our picks in chronological order.

Ed Stafford and Gadiel “Cho” Sanchez Rivera run on Crispim beach in Brazil Renato Chalu/AP / Shutterstock

2010: First Person to Walk the Length of the Amazon River

On August 9, 2010, Brit Ed Stafford became the first person to walk the length of the mighty Amazon. It took 860 days. He completed the journey with guide Peruvian Gadiel “Cho” Sánchez Rivera. Over more than 4,000 miles, they survived anacondas and piranhas, cocaine smugglers, and hostile tribes.

2011: First Ascent of Meru via the Shark’s Fin

On October 2, 2011, alpinists Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Oztruk made the first ascent of India’s Mount Meru central via the Shark’s Fin in a 12-day push. The route was a mind-bending mix of vertical rock climbing, ice climbing, and mountaineering. This was the team’s second attempt (Anker’s third) since a 2008 attempt turned around 150 meters from the summit after a storm depleted their food rations.

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner ascending K2
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner ascending K2 D Gottler/EPA / Shutterstock

2011: First Woman to Climb Every 14 8,000-meter Peak Without Supplemental Oxygen

When she summited K2 on August 23, 2011, her sixth attempt at the peak, Austrian alpinist Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner became the first woman to climb all the 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen. She also did it without porters, an unheard-of accomplishment in a world where hiring extra help to carry your gear to base camp is considered unavoidable. It took her 14 years to climb all 14 peaks.

2012: First Solo Submarine Dive to Deepest Place in Ocean

Filmmaker and explorer James Cameron made history when he descended to the deepest known place in the ocean, an undersea valley known as Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench. The 6.8-mile-deep dive happened on March 25, 2012, about 300 miles southwest of Guam. Cameron collected scientific data and specimens. Challenger Deep was first reached in 1960 by Don Walsh, who advised Cameron during his expedition.