Take It to the Top

No whining allowed

The frozen zone: Argentina's Perito Moreno Glacier     Photo: courtesy, Argentina Tourism

CONTINENTAL ICE CAP TRAVERSE [ARGENTINA]
Patagonia's 8,400-square-mile slab of ice wasn't even explored until the 1960s, when British explorer Eric Shipton crossed it first. Starting in El Calafate, on the shore of Lago Argentino, this arduous 16-day backpacking/ski-mountaineering trip cuts through Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, where you'll cross rivers and crevasses, ascend 4,830 feet to Marconi Pass, do time on ropes, crampons, and skis, and set up glacial camps along the spine of the Fitz Roy Range. The payoff? A wilderness fix on the gnarliest mass of ice and granite this side of the South Pole. OUTFITTER: Southwind Adventures, 800-377-9463, www.southwindadventures.com. WHEN TO GO: November-March. PRICE: $3,395. DIFFICULTY: strenuous. SURFING EPIC WAVES [THE MALDIVES]
Board where few have surfed before: off the Indian Ocean's remote Huvadhoo Atoll, site of several world-class breaks. Huvadhoo is a two-day voyage on a dhoni, a 60-foot, five-cabin, live-aboard wooden yacht, from the capital, Male; along the way, cast off the deck for tuna, marlin, and bonito. Once at the Huvadhoo, be ready for eight-foot-plus waves, especially near the atoll's largest island, Fiyori, where there's a fast (and dangerous) right break. OUTFITTER: Voyages Maldives, 011-960-32-3617, www.voyagesmaldives.com. WHEN TO GO: April-September. PRICE: $85 per day (typically a 7-, 10-, or 14-day tour). DIFFICULTY: strenuous.

RAFTING THE BRAHMAPUTRA RIVER [INDIA]
With 112 miles of Class III-V+ Himalayan runoff, the Brahmaputra, the lower portion of the legendary Tsangpo in Tibet, is one of the planet's ultimate whitewater challenges. And a relatively new one at that—the first commercial rafting expedition was launched late last year. You'll spend nine days blasting down emerald-green hydraulics (the Class V Breakfast Rapid is famous for flipping rafts), camping on sandy beaches, and passing through Namdapha National Park, home to one of Asia's most varied tropical forests. OUTFITTER: Mercury Himalayan Explorations, 011-91-112-334-0033, www.himalayanadventure.com. WHEN TO GO: November-February. PRICE: $3,300, including internal airfare. DIFFICULTY: strenuous.

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