1. The Hawaii Kite Crossing
Originating in 1992 with the “Molokai Ocean Challenge”, which was a 15-mile ocean crossing between Maui and Molokai on a variety of water crafts, the first Hawaii Kite Crossing took place in the summer of 2007. The new route consists of two ocean crossings over several days: 54 miles from Maui to Molokai and 33 miles from Molokai to Oahu. With less than 40 people who have done this crossing, this makes Hawaii Kite Crossing one of the most unique kite adventures in the world.
Even if you’ve trained physically for this event, prepared yourself with a satellite phone, GPS, flares and a life preserver, organized support boats, you have to get favorable wind conditions. The first part of the journey consists of 12 miles of open channel kiting. The second part of the trip is shorter, but more challenging. You will encounter currents, big swells and potentially a Navy Aircraft, which will force you to significantly change your route on the fly.
2. Skiing the Highest Mountain in North America
You might have conquered Tuckerman’s Ravine in Mount Washington, but we’re sure you have not skied “the baddest unskied line in North America” (well at least not yet).
20,320 foot Denali in Alaska poses a very unique set of challenges. Kevin Mahoney, who has made an attempt, wrote that the mountain face “had it all — big rock buttresses, snaking ice lines, and 50- to 60-degree snow slopes that near continuously connect for 8,000 feet. Essentially it was one-stop shopping for crazed winter addicts seeking adventure.”
3. Surfing the Amazon River
“I can surf a river?” you might ask. The answer is YES. You can either surf a standing wave in certain spots in a river or surf a tidal bore. A tidal bore is a tidal phenomenon, where the leading edge of an incoming tide produces a wave (or multiple waves) that travel up a river against the direction of the current. Amazon’s tidal bore, named pororoca, occurs in February and March. The wave can get as high as 13 feet and can sustain for 8 miles.
Some of the dangers are piranhas and debris that gets picked up from the shore as the wave passes though. The longest time spent on a wave is a record breaking 43 minutes by Brazilian surfer Picururata Salazar, set on the Amazon. There are organized trips that take surfers out for this once in a lifetime experience.
4. Stand Up Paddling Manhattan
Here is more of an urban adventure, perfectly appropriate for someone with a desk job in New York City. SEA Paddle NYC is a race around NYC on SUPs that takes place during the summer. It’s a pretty unique opportunity to view the city in a whole different perspective via a 26.5 mile course around Manhattan.
The event also benefits environmental projects as well as Autism charities. If you’re short on cash, skip the entry fee and take a crack at it the ‘ole fashioned way. SOLO.
5. The Siberian Ice Run
If you have always wanted to ride a Russian motorcycle, this event is for you. Ride 2,500 km through Siberia over frozen rivers to the only town in the world sitting on the Arctic Circle. In 2012, the few and the brave went on a test run of the course, riding Urals (a motorcycle with a sidecar) over a 2-week period.
The organizers have opened up the event in 2013 to those who can withstand -40C and would like to go on this adventure. The event website warns about the region’s lawless nature, bears and wolves that one might encounter in these remote parts of Russia.
6. Free Solo Climbing Half Dome
If you think you have what it takes to walk in footsteps of Alex Honnold, then you should consider this climb (but don’t hold us liable if you hurt yourself). In September 2008, Alex became the first person to free solo the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome. It is a 2,000 foot gain with a 5.12 climbing rating, and Alex did it by himself with no ropes, pitons or a parachute..all in 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Of course, climbing skills are important, but being in the right place mentally, that’s the real juicer. As you can see in the photo below, Alex has a moment where he doubts himself and freezes on the ledge about 1,800 feet up from the ground. Of course he pulls himself together and finishes the free climb.
7. Mountain Biking on “The Road of Death”
This 43-mile North Yungas Road going from La Paz to Coroico in Bolivia got its nickname because it is narrow, has steep dropoffs and…kills 200-300 travelers every year. Some of the other factors that make it dangerous is lack of guard rails, weather elements and muddy surface.
The danger of the road actually made it a tourist destination in 1990’s. It has its appeal to downhill mountain bikers since it has 40 miles of continuous downhill riding, while gradually (hopefully!) going down about 11,000 vertical feet. It even brought in TV shows including Top Gear and History Channel show IRT: Deadliest Roads.