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Jake Norton ’96

Spirit of Adventure Award

The 2021 Spirit of Adventure Award recipient is Jake Norton ’96, a world-famous climber, mountaineering guide, photographer, photojournalist, filmmaker, philanthropist, environmentalist, and motivational speaker. At CC, he designed his major in South Asian history and philosophy and graduated with honors.

Norton began climbing at age 12 and has climbed the world’s most challenging mountains, including Everest, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Rainier. He was on the expedition that discovered George Mallory’s remains on Everest in 1999. In 2014, he was appointed ambassador to the U.N. Mountain Partnership, where he works to ensure mountains, mountain people, cultures, and ecosystems are recognized in international development goals.

In 2011, he started Challenge 21 in partnership with Water for People to raise funds to combat developmental crises in water and sanitation. His 2013 film “The Water Tower” focuses on Mount Kenya and climate change; “Holy (un)Holy River” (2016) documents the criticality of the Ganges watershed. He has been involved in fundraising, reconstruction, and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of Nepal’s earthquake since 2015, and he works with dZi Foundation and Nepal Rising to help with Nepal’s COVID-19 wave. His inspirational talks have stimulated interest in mountain issues around the world. Norton has owned MountainWorld Productions since 1999.

Report an issue - Last updated: 07/29/2021