Explorer Rick Ridgeway Gets National Geographic Hall of Fame Award

National Geographic Adventure magazine has chosen British schoolmates Rob Gauntlett, 21, and James Hooper, 21, as 2008 Adventurers of the Year in recognition of their epic 394-day, 26,000-mile madcap dash from the north geomagnetic pole to the south geomagnetic pole using only human and natural power. Skiing, dog-sledding, cycling and sailing their way from northern Greenland to the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean in one continuous run, the pair completed the first-of-its-kind pole-to-pole journey in an effort to raise climate change awareness and to inspire the human spirit. National Geographic Adventure also is honoring mountaineer and conservation champion Rick Ridgeway with a Best of Adventure Hall of Fame award.

Ridgeway, a writer, filmmaker and one of the best known American explorers, is being recognized for a life lived adventurously and for spearheading the Freedom to Roam project, a bold initiative backed by Patagonia that aims to protect big wildlife by preserving hundreds of miles of undisturbed, interconnected migratory corridors across North America.

The achievements of Gauntlett, Hooper, Ridgeway and 12 other adventurers are highlighted in the December 2008/January 2009 issue of National Geographic Adventure (on newsstands Nov. 25), which features the most outstanding accomplishments for 2008 in the world of adventure, exploration, conservation and humanitarian work.

Andrew Skurka, named 2007 Adventurer of the Year for his seven-month, 6,875-mile hike through the American West, will present the 2008 award to Gauntlett and Hooper on Thursday, Nov. 20, at a gala event at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. The evening will be emceed by National Geographic’s Boyd Matson, host of the public television series “Wild Chronicles” and “National Geographic Weekend” radio program.

National Geographic Adventure organized a group of leaders in the world of adventure to serve on its advisory board for the nomination of this year’s top adventurers. Others recognized for their exceptional accomplishments are Gretchen Bleiler, François Bon, Ashley Clements, Maroy Correa Estenós, Deia Schlosberg, Pemba Gyalje Sherpa, Benjamin Skinner, Kelly Slater, George Steinmetz, Sam Stime, Emma Stokes and Gregg Treinish.

“National Geographic Adventure is the ultimate guide to an active lifestyle. The heritage and credibility that we deliver inspires our readers to explore the world around them by immersing themselves in activities that will provide experiences for a life well lived. At the Adventurer of the Year event we recognize and honor those individuals who have made terrific achievements in 2008, as well as the gear, apparel and equipment that are at the leading edge of the outdoor world,” said National Geographic Adventure Associate Publisher Peter Fisher.

Awards for Best of Adventure gear also will be recognized at the ceremony. National Geographic Adventure’s approach to its gear picks differs from other magazines in that it is guided by a Retail Advisory Board composed of 34 of the country’s leading outdoor retailers, who help nominate award winners. The board’s contribution is twofold: to weigh in on products that in its expert opinion are innovative, and to report on what products consumers are particularly excited about in the marketplace.

The 29 gear winners are Adidas Supernova Riot GTX trail running shoe; Apple iPod Nano; Asus U6 V bamboo series laptop; Black Diamond Enforcer gloves; Canon PowerShot G10 camera; Columbia Rapidfire Windshell jacket; Crank Brothers Cobalt mountain bike wheelset; Garmin Oregon 400t handheld GPS; Gerber Kick Axe hatchet; Gregory Miwok daypack; Hi-Tec V-Lite Hornet HPi hiking boot; Kor One water bottle; Marmot Mica jacket; MSR Carbon Reflex 2 tent; New Balance 904 running shoe; Nokia Mini Speakers MD-8; Osprey Exos 58 backpack; Perception Tribute 14.0 SL kayak; Polar FT80 training computer; REI Halo 25 sleeping bag; Salt Optics Nicolas sunglasses; Scott Genius Limited mountain bike; Snow Peak LiteMax stove; Sony T700 camera; Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 cell phone; Sutro Vision Czech sunglasses; Suunto X10 wrist-top computer; Tag Heuer Grand Carrera Calibre 17 RS 2 Chronograph Ti2 watch; The North Face Mercurial jacket.

Presented by National Geographic Adventure magazine and South African Tourism, the Adventurer of the Year celebration will include video clips from the winners’ adventures, as well as music, food and entertainment. Raffle prizes include a trip for two to South Africa, courtesy of South African Airways and Intrepid Travel, and many items from the best gear of the year. Additional sponsors of the event are Crown Imports, GU, Headsweats, KHS Bicycles, Nature Valley, Oakley, Petzl, Redwood Creek, Salomon, Silver Joe’s Coffee, Smartwool and Yaktrax.

National Geographic Adventure, winner of four National Magazine Awards, is the fastest-growing magazine in the outdoor category and the ultimate guide to the adventure lifestyle. Published 10 times a year, with a rate base of 600,000, National Geographic Adventure has 2.4 million readers. It is available by sub scri ption (800-NGS-LINE) and on newsstands in the United States ($4.99) and Canada ($6.99). Its editorial mission supports National Geographic’s corporate global mission to inspire people to care about the planet.

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