The 25 Most Adventurous Men of the Past 25 Years

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Siddartha Gurung
Mark Johnson / Discovery Communications 12/25

Siddartha Gurung

When things go south for the biggest egos in climbing, it's often unknowns like Gurung, chief pilot for Nepal's Simrik Airlines, who come to the rescue. Gurung learned to fly in the Nepalese army, honed his rescue skills with Air Zermatt in the Swiss Alps, and has since logged more than 7,000 hours pushing helicopters to their limit in the most dangerous conditions on Earth. When his friend and fellow pilot Sabin Basnyat died in a 2010 crash on Ama Dablam while trying to save two climbers at 21,000 feet, Gurung flew up after Basnyat, collected the body of his friend and one climber, then rescued the survivor. Gurung has since saved trekkers in the infamous Annapurna blizzard of 2014 and ferried injured Sherpas off Everest after the catastrophic 2014 avalanche that took 16 lives. "We've just scratched the surface of heli-operations in Nepal," he says. "People don't even understand yet what we can do."

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