Spirit of Adventure 2016
This year, Australia's adventurers impressed us so much we awarded three Spirit of Adventure medallions: to Brian Freeman, Alyssa Azar and Lachlan Smart.
Brian Freeman summiting Mt Everest. (Photo courtesy Brian Freeman)
In 2014, former soldier Brian Freeman founded Walking Wounded, which assists returned Aussie soldiers by supporting their mental health. Part of his job involves leading confidence-building expeditions. In 2016 Brian summitted Mt Everest with a list of soldiers killed in Afghanistan, losing a finger to frostbite. He was also the first to run from Australia’s northernmost to southernmost points, and has recently led teams on the Kokoda Trail and up Mt Kilimanjaro.
Alyssa rests on the Lhotse face. (Photo courtesy Alyssa Azar)
In May 2016 19-year-old Alyssa became the youngest Australian to summit Mt Everest, beating a previous record held by a 21-year-old. It was the teenager’s third attempt, after natural disasters thwarted two previous climbs – the first was in 2014, when an avalanche struck the Khumbu Icefall, killing 16 Sherpas, and the second in April 2015, when Nepal was struck by a devastating earthquake that killed more than 8500 people.
Lachlan Smart poses with his single-enginge aircraft. (Photo credit: Barry Alsop)
Queenslander Lachlan Smart became the youngest person to fly a single-engine aircraft solo around the world when he landed on the Sunshine Coast on 27 August. The 18-year-old travelled 45,000km, stopping in 24 locations and 15 countries. He was inspired by former Society Adventurer of the Year Ryan Campbell, who held this record in 2013. Lachlan is almost a year younger than previous Guinness World Record holder Matt Guthmiller.