Each day we will feature one of the 2010 Adventures of the Year here on our blog. Get to know them all in our photo gallery, then vote for your favorite for the People's Choice award—every day. You can even vote for a new favorite each day, if you can't pick just one. Photograph courtesy of Matt Moniz
Matt Moniz climbed to the highest point in all 50 United States in just 43 days.
His first expedition was to Everest Base Camp. His dad’s friend dropped out at the last minute, so Matt Moniz took his spot. Even though the kid from Colorado hadn’t done any mountaineering before, he bagged what he describes as “a little 18,000-footer” on a day hike. “After that,” Moniz says, “I was hooked. I’d just had the best time of my life.” He was nine. The next year Moniz climbed Kilimanjaro and Russia’s Elbrus, then, after turning 10, he summitted 22,841-foot Aconcagua.
From June to August this year, at the ripe old age of 12, Moniz and his climbing partner (and father), Mike, reached the highest point in all 50 United States—from 20,320-foot Denali to Florida’s 345-foot Britton Hill—in just 43 days. In the Midwest and South, they traveled by twin engine Cessna and an old Mercedes Sprinter. On Washington’s Rainer, they got caught in a storm before the final push to the summit. But the hardest section, what they called “the loop of pain” was Utah’s King’s Peak, Wyoming’s Gannett, and Montana’s Granite—all of which required at least a 32-mile loop in and back. By the end, the Moniz men had hit all 50 hills and mountains with the fastest time on record. Matt, of course, is the youngest ever to pull off this feat—and he’s become an eloquent advocate for kids getting outdoors. The only thing more impressive, maybe, is his sixth grade paper about what he did on his summer vacation. —By Ryan Bradley
- Nat Geo Expeditions