2008 Adventurers of the Year James Hooper (left) and Rob Gauntlett
Photograph by Martin Hartley
It is with heavy hearts that we pass along the worst kind of news: The BBC reported Saturday that Rob Gauntlett, who shared the 2008 Adventurers of the Year award with James Hooper, was in a fatal accident while climbing the dangerous east face of the 13,937-foot Tacul peak in the Mont Blanc mountain range in the French Alps.
Rob and James won the Adventurer of the Year award for completing a 26,000-mile journey from geomagnetic pole to geomagnetic pole (read the feature article or watch a video about their remarkable feat). Rob was the youngest Briton to summit Everest at the age of 19.
"We were extremely saddened to learn of Rob's death," said Editor in Chief John Rasmus. "Many of us at ADVENTURE got to know him over the course of a few days for our Adventurer of the Year event [at the National Geographic headquarters] in November, and he was a great guy—full of life and confidence and good humor. He would have had an amazing life ahead, I'm sure, but the one consolation I can extract is that he was really enjoying the present, and how he was living his life, and he appreciated every aspect of it. I'm sure he'll be missed by many—especially his parents and great friend James—for a long time."
- Nat Geo Expeditions