Twenty of the world's top athletes and explorers share their wildest dream trips—a dazzling list of never attempted feats daunting to even these world-class competitors. For the rest of us, consider their must-do adventures—and start planning. —Kate Siber
Photograph by Patrick Robert, Corbis
It all started with a rumor. From friends who have flown over Greenland and Canada’s Baffin Island to scout for minerals and tourism, Will Gadd heard about the possibility of ice-climbing gold: huge granite fjords spackled with frozen waterfalls. “I think there is likely more ice in the Baffin Island-Greenland sweep than anyone suspects,” says Gadd. “But it's really, really hard to get there.”
Gadd plans to wait for conditions to ripen during the winter of 2011—12 before he heads up on a private expedition to investigate. He expects to find a host of 2,000- to 3,000-foot waterfalls in places so far north that they don’t see the sun for as much as two months out of the year—perfect conditions for intrepid ice climbers. “It’s like Yosemite Valley but a lot more of it,” says Gadd. “And no, I can’t give you the GPS coordinates.”
Canadian ice climber Will Gadd has established some of the hardest mixed rock-and-ice climbing routes in the world, and he has won the ice climbing World Cup, three golds at the X Games, and four golds at the Canadian National Sport-Climbing Championships. He has also kayaked dozens of first descents in North America and won the U.S. and Canadian Paragliding Nationals.