Nat Geo’s 2011 Adventurer of the Year


National Geographic announced on Wednesday that 37-year-old Spanish mountaineer Edurne Pasaban has been named the People's Choice 2011 Adventurer of the Year.

In May 2010 Pasaban finished her quest to climb the world's 14 highest mountains, also known as the 8,000-meter peaks, which earned her a spot as one of National Geographic's ten Adventureres of the Year. Readers then voted on who of the ten best embodied the spirit of adventure.

“If people decided that I am the Adventurer of the Year, I am very happy, you know it,” Pasaban said. “In my life, I never thought I would climb the 8,000-meter peaks. And I never thought I would be the Adventurer of the Year. It's a nice present, and I would like to tell everybody thank you very much.”

Whether Pasaban was the first woman to climb the 8,000-meter peaks has been disputed since last April, when Korean Oh Eun-Sun summited what she claimed to be her fourteenth peak, Annapurna. Pasaban has disputed the claim, calling into question Eun-Sun's 2009 summit of Kangchenjunga.

Regardless, Pasaban plans to return to Everest in April to attempt the summit again, this time without supplemental oxygen. If successful, she will have climbed all 14 of the 8,000-meter peaks without oxygen.

“For me, adventure is a way of life,” says Pasaban. “I cannot image my life without adventure.”

— Michael Webster