Taking Risks to Reach the Top

Conrad Anker has explored the world’s highest and coldest points, climbing and exploring from Antarctica to the summit of Everest.

In 1999, he was also a member of the Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition, on which he found the body of George Mallory, legendary climber who never returned from his 1924 attempt to be the first human to summit Everest.

Heading to the top of Everest takes more than a strong body and supplies. Your head can be your biggest asset, or your most dangerous obstacle. (Photo courtesy Conrad Anker)


While Anker has had many successful expeditions, he’s also had close calls and faced difficult questions of whether to proceed or turn back, based on countless factors, which brings up the question of risk. While there is always risk involved in such adventures, sometimes the biggest danger is your own decision making in times of stress.

Join Conrad and legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin as they discuss risk and adventure on a LIVE National Geographic Google+ Hangout Monday, May 2oth at 2 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. UTC).

Send in your questions for the explorers and they may be asked on air. You may even be invited to join the Hangout and ask your questions live. Submit your questions by:

  • Posting a question on Google+ or Twitter with #LetsExplore or
  • Commenting directly on this blog post below.



Learn More

Risk-takers Photo Gallery 
Quiz: Are You a Risk-taker?


Available From National Geographic Books

Buzz Aldrin: “Mission to Mars: My Vision of Space Exploration”
Conrad Anker: “The Call of Everest”


Human Journey


Meet the Author
Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of nationalgeographic.com for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.