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 Bill Stevenson, Aurora/Corbis
More than 110 peaks rise to over 24,000 feet in the Himalaya, making it both the loftiest mountain range on Earth and an irresistible stomping grounds for elite adventurers. Gretchen Bleiler is no exception. The accomplished competition and backcountry snowboarder daydreams about a journey to the region for both its adventurous allure and its cultural and spiritual mystique.
She envisions "a trip to the Himalaya where we go on treks and snowboard, build jumps to learn tricks, practice yoga, and also adventure to find hidden monasteries in the middle of nowhere.” As for specifics, Bleiler is still hatching a plan. She could wander anywhere from the flanks of 20,200-foot Thorung Peak to the snowfields, glaciers, and pinnacles surrounding Everest. One thing is certain: Along the way, she’d undoubtedly encounter the captivating suggestions of Himalayan culture: stupas on remote hilltops, chants wafting from high monasteries, and ubiquitous prayer flags that carry missives to the heavens.
Next: See Gretchen Bleiler's Must-Do Trip: Heli-Ski the Selkirks, British Columbia
Snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler has stood on countless podiums, including at the X Games, the World Cup and the Torino Olympics, where she won silver in 2006.