Help Nat. Geo. pick the Adventurer of the Year!

National Geographic Adventure’s annual “Best of Adventure” issue has become an end of the year tradition, highlighting some of the most daring, inspiring, and down right audacious adventures from the previous 12 months. In a magazine that celebrates bold initiatives, this issue, more than any other, salutes those on the cutting edge of exploration.

This year, the magazine is taking a little different approach in their selection process, allowing all of us to have a say in who ultimately wins. The list of nominees has been narrowed down to ten very worthy candidates, each with their own personal profiles that includes photos and videos that explain why they have made the short list. We’re asked to rate each of the adventurers on a scale of one to ten, using our own personal criteria as to how worthy they are of being named Adventurer of the Year.

The list of finalists is a diverse group and includes such nominees as BASE jumper Dean Potter, who leapt off the Eiger earlier this year, sailing safely to the ground in a wing suit, and adventure travelers Stephen Bouey and Steven Shoppman, who racked up 77,000 miles circling the globe, passing through 69 countries in the process. Other potential winners include scientist Katey Walter who is studying global warming in Siberia, and Marc Hoffmeister, who led a team of injured vets to the summit of Denali.

Adventure also took the opportunity to induct Geoff Tabin into its Hall of Fame. Tabin is a doctor and mountaineer who organized the largest eye surgery camp in the history of Africa, and as a result, more than 800 people had their sight restored. The camp was set-up in a remote region of Ethiopia, where malnutrition and poor health care of taken their toll on the people there. Tabin has established similar medical camps in a variety of locations in the Himalaya as well.

And if that wasn’t enough, the magazine also made their selection for must have gear, a list of great new tents, sleeping bags, mountain bikes, and more. All of this drool worthy equipment is perfect for outdoor adventures in your own back yard or the far corners of the globe.

So head on over to the Adventurer of the Year website and weigh in with your own thoughts on who should take home the top honors for 2009.