For some extraordinary people, the pursuit of scientific knowledge, and the thirst for adventure are worth putting their lives at risk.
Introduction by Erling Kagge
We are all born explorers. You, me and everybody else. When I look at my three daughters they are wondering what’s hidden behind the next hill. They climbed chairs, stairs and other stuff before they learned how to walk. My challenge as a father is to make sure they do not stop wondering. Because to be an explorer is not something you become, it is something you are when you are born. Nobody starts to climb, or to wonder what’s hidden deep in the oceans; it is a natural state of mind. But if you are not very careful in your daily life you will quit early on. Years of school, parents’ expectations and society’s demands slowly grind your original spirit apart and you eventually start to behave in a civilized way.

It can feel both unpleasant and somewhat risky to explore the world. But perhaps it’s even more risky to do nothing. What you will regret in times to come are the chances you didn’t take, the initiative you didn’t show, what you didn’t do. If you say it’s impossible and I say it’s possible, we’re probably both right.

The Laureates of the Awards for Enterprise make people wonder, and they are a very valuable reminder of the importance of keeping the spirit of exploration alive.

Erling Kagge is a polar explorer and author. He was a Rolex Awards jury member in 2006.

Glacier guardian

Published in 2009

Bernard Francou, 2000 Associate Laureate

Treading on thin ice

Published in 2005

Lonnie Dupre, 2004 Laureate

Treading on thin ice

For Arctic explorer Lonnie Dupre, global warming is not just a theory — it is a visible and immediate threat to the region that he loves passionately.

View Laureates putting their lives at risk for the environment