WASHINGTON (Feb. 28, 2012)—Everest guide Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa and extreme kayaker Sano Babu Sunuwar were named the People’s Choice Adventurers of the Year for 2012 for their climb to Everest’s summit, record-setting paragliding descent and long-distance kayak from Nepal to the Bay of Bengal in India. The two Nepali adventurers were selected from a group of 12 individuals whose extraordinary achievements in exploration, conservation and adventure sports distinguished them in the past year. The final selection was determined through online voting on the National Geographic Adventure website National Geographic Adventure.
The winning duo was chosen for its epic three-month adventure called “The Ultimate Descent,” which included an ascent of Everest (a first for kayaker Babu, but the fourth for mountain guide Lakpa), an 8,865-meter (29,084-foot) free-flight paraglide descent from the summit (which set a world record for free flight) and an 850-km (approximately 528-mile) kayak trip from Nepal to India on the Ganges River to the Bay of Bengal. Along the way, Babu, 28, and Lakpa, 39, faced obstacles ranging from extreme temperatures and oxygen deprivation at the summit to massive whirlpools on the Kosi River’s class V rapids to being held up at knifepoint in India.
“We weren’t after a record, we just wanted to do all these things, climbing, paragliding, kayaking, in one continuous trip,” said Lakpa. When asked about his favorite part of the trip, Babu said, “Taking off from the highest point in the world.”
“We believe that Lakpa and Babu exemplify the spirit of the award in their commitment to adventure in the truest sense of the word,” said Mary Anne Potts, editor of National Geographic Adventure. “Our fans — more than 72,000 across the adventure community — voted overwhelmingly for these two incredible athletes, and we’re thrilled to call them the People’s Choice Adventurers of the Year.”
For a gallery of pictures and a video of the winners, go tohttp://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/adventurers-of-the-year/2012/peoples-choice-lakpa-tsheri-sherpa-sano-babu-sunuwar/.
National Geographic has named Adventurers of the Year for the past seven years. In 2011-2012, the exclusive partnership with Glenfiddich Single Malt brought another layer of excitement to the award.
“We are delighted to partner with National Geographic on this exciting program,” said Lindsay Prociw, senior brand manager for Glenfiddich. “Both Glenfiddich and National Geographic are pioneers within their industries, and, as we gear up to celebrate our respective 125th anniversaries, we are honored to be able to celebrate and reward those who are keeping the spirit of a pioneer alive. We salute Lakpa and Babu on this award as well as on their pioneering achievement, and are proud to be honoring them for it.”
The feats of each of this year’s nominees embody pioneering innovation — from reinventing distance hiking and circumnavigating frigid Ellesmere Island to skiing the Andes on human power and launching a backyard micro adventure movement. The other nominees were:
- Jennifer Pharr Davis — American hiker
- Alastair Humphreys — British adventurer
- Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner — Austrian mountaineer
- Danny MacAskill — Scottish cyclist
- Carissa Moore — American surfer
- Travis Rice — American snowboarder
- Cory Richards — American mountaineer-photographer
- Jon Turk and Erik Boomer — American kayakers
- Nick Waggoner — American skier-filmmaker
About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society’s mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. National Geographic reflects the world through its magazines, books, television programs, website and other digital products, films, music and radio, DVDs, maps, exhibitions, live events, school publishing programs and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geography literacy. Nationalgeographic.com, the award-winning website of the National Geographic Society, attracts 19 million unique visitors a month.Adventure.nationalgeographic.com is its adventure and extreme sports online hub.
Glenfiddich, the world’s most awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky, is generally recognized as being one of the true pioneers in the field of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. The Glenfiddich distillery, located in Dufftown, in Scotland’s Speyside region, was built in 1886 by William Grant, with the help of his seven sons and two daughters. To this day, Glenfiddich remains an independent, family-owned company run by the fifth generation of William Grant’s family. This independence allows the distillery creative freedom to continue to innovate and set the standard against which the rest of the category is measured. Generally recognized as having pioneered the single malt category in 1963, when it introduced the first range of non-blended malts, Glenfiddich to this day retains the pioneering tradition established by William Grant, making it the proud recipient of nearly 200 international awards since 1998 and making it the number one selling Single Malt Whisky in the world.
The Glenfiddich range includes the core 12 (40% ABV; RRP $45.99), 15 (40% ABV; RRP $54.99), 18 (40% ABV; RRP $84.99) and 21 Year Old (40% ABV; RRP $154.99) expressions, as well as a series of rare and precious expressions, including the renowned Glenfiddich 50 Year Old, a bottle of which sold in 2009 for a staggering $38,000. For more information, visit www.glenfiddich.com.
William Grant & Sons, Ltd. is an independent family-owned distiller headquartered in the United Kingdom and founded by William Grant in 1887. Today, the luxury spirits company is run by the fifth generation of his family and distils some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the world’s most awarded single malt Glenfiddich®, The Balvenie® range of handcrafted single malts and the world’s fourth-largest blended Scotch Grant’s® as well as other iconic spirits brands such as Hendrick’s® Gin, Sailor Jerry® Rum, Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey and the award-winning Milagro® Tequila.
Katie Han (for Glenfiddich)
Maloney & Fox