Canadian pro climber Will Gadd battles his way over a wall of glacial ice in a strange desert oasis 19,000 feet above sea level, 328 feet from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. “We had to camp out at 19,000 feet for three days to acclimatize ourselves for the climb,” says photographer Christian Pondella. “Then Will became the first man to scale the ice.” It was an ascent Gadd had to prioritize: Climate researchers predict that the glacier, thought to be around 70,000 years old, could melt away within a couple of decades.
San Francisco, California
Kai Lenny was surfing at 4 and by 9 had added windsurfing, kitesurfing and stand-up paddleboarding to his repertoire. At 22, the man from Maui is the reigning SUP world champion and was runner-up in the kitesurfing world championships last year. Now he’s heading to New Zealand to prove himself the world’s best all-around watersportsman at the Ultimate Waterman contest. If anyone’s prepared, it’s him: “The ocean is my life,” he says. “I do everything in the water that there is to do in the water.”
Cape Town, South Africa
It’s taken almost 15 years, countless concussions and numerous broken bones to make South Africa’s Anthony Raynard a seasoned motocross pro. The 2012 MX2 champion has a motto to thank for keeping him in the saddle: “Quitters never win, winners never quit.” Here, as part of project Red Bull My Track, the 24-year-old is passing on his hard-earned wisdom to young riders in the form of a practical lesson: how to power through sandy turns.
He participated in his first surfing competition at seven; at 18 he won his ninth championship. Today, Kolohe Andino is 20 and surfs some of the biggest waves in the world. In September 2014 he notably proved that ordering a pizza on Visa’s new checkout app can be done straight from inside the monstrous tubes at Teahupo’o.