“Passion can always trump fear.”
That’s the message behind the year’s 22 greatest feats of adventure — a list of you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me moments in running, rowing, cycling, caving, kayaking, mountaineering, skiing, rock climbing, paragliding and skydiving.
Included on the list of Men’s Journal‘s “22 Greatest Record-Breaking Feats of 2014” you’ll find two Eagle Scouts. And why not? They’ve conquered Scouting’s toughest challenge, so conquering the world’s highest mountains or deepest caves must feel natural to these guys.
Let’s meet Matt Moniz and Bill Steele.
Matt Moniz, 16-year-old climbing superstar
Eagle Scout Matt Moniz became the youngest person to summit the fifth-tallest mountain in the world. Here’s what Men’s Journal said:
“The Feat: On May 25, Matt Moniz, a 16-year-old Eagle Scout, became the youngest person to summit 27,766-foot Makalu, the fifth tallest mountain in the world. And he did it one week after summiting 26,905-foot Cho Oyu, the sixth tallest. The back-to-back peak bag was actually Plan B — Moniz and his father Mike, also an accomplished mountaineer, were originally in the Himalayas to summit Everest, along with Cho Oyu, and Lhoste, an expedition they dubbed ‘The Triple 8,’ referring to the three eight-thousand-meter peaks. But the deadly April 18 avalanche on Everest forced them to choose another mountain.”
Matt’s accomplishments belong on the list even if he was 26 or 36, but to do it all at just 16? Insanely awesome.
This goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: This won’t be the last we hear from Matt Moniz.
Bill Steele, caver extraordinaire
Distinguished Eagle Scout Bill Steele, who recently retired as director of the National Eagle Scout Association, also made the Men’s Journal list.
What was the world-renowned caver recognized for this time? As outlined in the writeup, he “led a groundbreaking expedition to Oaxaca, Mexico, to explore Sistema Huautla,” a cave system first discovered in 1965 and considered the deepest in the Western Hemisphere.
Along the way, his team “discovered six new species of cave-adapted animals.”
Steele is committed to spending every April in Huautla for the next nine years, an arrangement that brings new meaning to the word “retired.”
All that, and he’s a heck of a nice guy. Three cheers for Bill Steele.
The full list
See the 20 other extreme adventurers, including the first man to bike to the South Pole, the first person to paddle across the Atlantic Ocean at its widest point and the longest distance biked in one hour (31.75 miles), here.
Photos of Matt courtesy of Mike Moniz and used with permission. Photos of Bill courtesy of Bill.