Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Rob Gauntlett, a young British explorer with a long list of feats to his name and many more on the drawing board. He was a guest of honor at the National Geographic Society‘s Best of Adventure Awards, on hand with his expedition partner James Hooper.
Amid the all the attention, Gauntlett was refreshingly self-effacing for someone of his considerable achievements. In 2006, at 19, he’d become the youngest Briton to scale Mt. Everest, and last year, with Hooper, completed a 26,000 mile geomatic-pole-to-geomagnetic-pole expedition that was chronicled in the December/January edition of National Geographic Adventure. During that trip, the longtime friends came close to dying more than once. But they weathered the ordeals with grit and a goodnatured commitment.
Last week Gauntlett—only 21—was killed while ice-climbing a couloir on the east face of 13,937 Tacul peak, in the Mont Blanc range, French Alps. It was, to say the least, an untimely accident that took the life of an extraordinary young person. Here’s more on the story from the NGA Web site’s blog, the NY Times, and The Independent. My condolences to his family and friends.