(energetic instrumental music)
- [Narrator] With seven billion people on Earth,
it's a wonder that there are still corners of this planet
that remain untouched,
but one man has made it his life's work to see them,
no matter what danger the journey may bring.
Mike Libecki has never been one
to shy away from a challenge.
The former National Geographic Explorer of the Year
has completed major expeditions on all seven continents.
He's a modern day explorer who puts his life on the line
to challenge the idea
of what humans are capable of enduring.
His goal: to seek out
the Earth's last truly untouched places.
(energetic instrumental music)
- I grew up in California about 30 miles
from Yosemite National Park,
the center of the universe for climbing.
My friend's older brother's friend happened
to take us out rock climbing one day.
Totally random, I didn't even know what rock climbing was,
and it changed my life that day.
As soon as I came home from my first day of climbing
I was buying a climbing rope, climbing shoes, harness.
Climb, climb, climb, that's all I could think about,
and that basically evolved into living in Yosemite,
climbing El Capitan and Half Dome,
and to think, oh my gosh, I could take this climbing
all over the world.
(playful instrumental music)
- [Narrator] Libecki's passion for adventure has taken him
around the planet to nearly 100 countries,
but he's not content with following traditional routes.
His specialty is bagging first ascents.
- [Mike] First ascent is basically climbing a route
or going to the top of a mountain no one's climbed before,
so truly going to parts of the planet
that no human has been to before.
It really takes every single thing that you have.
I mean, these aren't just first ascents.
These are the most remote, most demanding first ascents
and climbs on the planet.
There is no rescue possibility.
We're 100% self reliant.
And I'm not seeking danger or death,
I'm seeking the ultimate challenge and the ultimate mystery
of what's out there.
- [Narrator] From the blistering heat of Afghanistan.
- Sure got hot quick.
- [Narrator] To the extreme cold of Canada.
- [Mike] The weather is getting worse
and it is cold up here.
- [Narrator] The climber turned explorer's trips
have taken him through every climate.
(dramatic instrumental music)
- [Mike] I have thousands of maps downstairs
and it's just constant planning and constant research.
There's an incredible amount of physical demand
of carrying 100 pound loads for 80 miles,
climbing these big walls,
enduring all the weather and the environments.
Looks like a storm is upon us.
We're a little bit delirious, cold, dehydrated.
One of the things I have to do is train.
I have to be physically fit to have this lifestyle
and one of my favorite ways is to train with my dogs.
I have a mother and daughter dog, Scree and Glacier,
and they're my favorite training partners,
and we get out in the mountains,
literally every single day that I'm home.
You really have to work hard or you will suffer out there.
Being an explorer has a lot of responsibilities.
It's not just going out and climbing, exploring,
it's getting people excited to care more about the planet
and being able to share these stories
about the remote places or these remote cultures.
- [Narrator] With 23 more trips in the works,
Libecki is likely to reach his goal
of 100 expeditions before long.
- I'm self-diagnosed with OECD
and that's obsessive expedition climbing disorder.
It's my fuel of life.
I've often thought about when will I stop going
on these expeditions and it's basically
when will the passion stop.
I hope it never does because this is a passion,
this is what I love.
This is what drives me.
You gotta live a sweet life.
Right on, brother.
First ascent, first time on the summit.
(gentle instrumental music)