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Maxut Zhumayev (left) of Kazakhstan, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, originally from Austria, and Vassiliy Pivtsov of Kazakhstan just after reaching the top of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, on Aug. 23, 2011. Each of the three alpinists has summited all of Earth’s 14 major peaks without using supplementary oxygen. Kaltenbrunner was named National Geographic Explorer of the Year for her achievement in a ceremony in Washington, DC on June 14, 2012.
Photo by © Dariusz Załuski / National Geographic
After their successful nine-hour dive in January 1960 to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench, Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard emerge from the bathyscaphe Trieste. Walsh and Piccard were the first to reach the trench’s lowest point, Challenger Deep, some 35,800 feet below the ocean surface. Piccard, who died in 2008, was posthumously awarded the Hubbard Medal, the National Geographic highest honor, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on June 14, 2012.
Photo by © Thomas J. Abercrombie / National Geographic
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Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner named Explorer of the Year by National Geographic

15.06.2012 by Planetmountain

Yesterday the National Geographic Society awarded the title Explorer of the Year to Austrian alpinist Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner. The late Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard was awarded the Hubbard Medal.

Great satisfaction and joy last night in Washington for Austrian alpinist Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner who received the second Explorer of the Year Award, assigned by one of the world's most prestigious scientific and educational organisations, the National Geographic Society.

Kaltenbrunner received the award for becoming the first woman in the world to have climbed all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks without using supplementary oxygen. Her "tour" to reach the summit of the fourteen highest mountains in the world began in 1998 with the ascent of Broad Peak at a mere 23 years of age, while her crowned her dream on 23 August 2011 with the ascent of K2. this final step is absolutely worth underlining and remembering, seeing that Gerlinde reached the top of the world's second highest mountain via the rarely repeated 1982 Japanese route up the North Ridge. The "path" Kaltenbrunner chose to take was a difficult one therefore which renders her K2 (the hardest 8000er in its own right) even more beautiful and precious. And it is exactly this what National Geographic recognised: the spirit and style of her exploration. Yes, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner certainly deserved this award!

During last night's "Evening of Exploration" celebration the Hubbard Medal - the Society’s highest honour - was awarded posthumously to Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard for his dive to the lowest point on the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. carried out in 1960 with Donald Walsh, the dive reached a depth of 10,900m, a record which was equalled only in 2012 by the film director and explorer James Cameron. Piccard passed away aged 86 in 2008 and the honour was presented by Walsh - recipient of the medal in 2010 - and Cameron to members of Piccard's family.

- Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner summits K2!

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