Meet the 2012 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year

On Monday of this week, National Geographic announced their list of the 2012 Adventurers of the Year, bestowing the honor on eleven men and women who have pushed the envelope in their particular fields over the past 12 months. This year’s group includes mountaineers, a professional surfer, a long distance hiker, a mountain biker, and more.

Several of the names on the list will certainly be familiar to Gadling readers. For instance, we told you about Jennifer Pharr Davis when she set her new speed record on the Appalachian Trail a few months back and we took note of climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner when she summited K2 in August, ending her quest to become the first woman to climb the highest peaks in the world without the use of supplemental oxygen. We even told you about Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa and Sano Babu Sunuwar, the two men who paraglided off the summit of Everest last spring. Others earning Adventurer of the Year status include mountaineer Cory Richards, who became the first person to climb Gasherbrum II in the winter and snowboarder Travis Rice, who rode some of the toughest mountains in the world, in style no less. To view the entire list of winners and read more about their exploits, click here.

With the announcement of these recipients, Nat Geo has also opened an online poll that allows you and I to weigh in on who we think deserves the most recognition for their accomplishments this past year. Readers are encouraged to vote everyday until the poll closes on January 18, 2012. Then, in February, they’ll announce the winner of the 2012 People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year Award as well. Click here to cast your vote for your favorite adventurer.

Finally, to catch these men and women in action, check out the online photo gallery that National Geographic has put together to highlight their selections. Not only are they fantastic photos, they also capture the winners in their natural habitats, namely mountains, oceans, forests, and so on.

Congratulations to all the winners.

[Photo courtesy of Cory Richards]