In 1978, a historic expedition put the first women—and first Americans, period—on the summit of Annapurna, the world’s tenth-highest peak. Despite their triumph, the deaths of two climbers stirred controversy. In an oral history weaving together the perspectives of key team members, Sherpa high-altitude staff, admirers, and critics, Katie Ives discovers that debate still lingers—as does the expedition’s power to inspire.

They climbed the biggest walls, descended the longest rivers, and sailed the highest seas. And they went farther and faster under their own power than anyone else in 2010. Chosen for their ambition, their attitude, and their audacious lines, these are Outside's inaugural adventurers of the year.