Twenty of the world’s top adventurers share the dazzling new frontiers they’ve discovered, as well as their all-time classic trips to add to your list. Plus: Don’t miss the must-have gear they take on every trip. —Kate Siber
Photograph by Keith Ladzinski
Explorer and Climber
Ask Libecki where he’d recommend the average Joe should go for a great adventure, and he won’t hesitate: eastern Greenland. It may not be a household vacation destination, but it ought to be, says the world-class climber and explorer.
“In my opinion, anyone and everyone should go to eastern Greenland,” Libecki says. “I’ve been there seven times, and there’s a reason I’ve been there seven times.”
Of course, it’s not particularly easy to get to. First, visitors fly to Reykjavik, Iceland, then hop a flight to Kulusuk, Greenland, then jump on a helicopter to Tasiilaq, a 2,000-person town on the southeastern coast of the country. But even the town itself, a smattering of Skittle-colored homes flanked by a dark sea and pearl-tipped mountains, is worth the schlep, says Libecki.
“It’s just a feeling of purity and freshness,” he says. “It really defines for me the magic power and beauty of the natural world.” Though Libecki has visited Tasiilaq to climb gigantic first ascents in the surrounding mountains, there are nearby adventures for every level of traveler. Climb icebergs, trek on glaciers, sea kayak up fjords, ski virgin slopes, learn to drive a dogsled, or watch whales. “It’s all off the hook,” Libecki says.
Find tour operators and other travel information at eastgreenland.com.
Explorer and Climber
Mike Libecki lives to push the boundaries of 21st-century exploration, ticking off over 45 major expeditions in his storied career. Just in 2012, he completed a first ascent of a tower in Borneo, first ski descents in Afghanistan, and solo climbs of virgin peaks in the Arctic. Arguably the most exciting came late in the year: With three other all-star climbers, he notched new ascents in one of the world’s great frontiers: Antarctica’s Queen Maud Land. By sheer volume—and audacity—he is one of the world’s top contemporary explorers.
Mike Libecki's Gear Pick
“The one thing I’ve taken on every trip I’ve ever been on, which is 47 expeditions now, is my necklace. My necklace is a pendant on a piece of climbing cord that I’ve never taken off once in 20 years—not one time. It’s a pendant from my mom. She said, 'If you wear this, you’ll never die in the mountains.' It gives me something to believe in when it gets pretty scary out there.” One other thing Libecki always takes is a very different thing that could potentially save lives: the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket. “It’s the lightest jacket you can get,” he says. “You can stick it in your pocket and it’s a little insulated lifesaver. It creates so much warmth.”