Travel • Adventurer crams six expeditions into 365 days.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Mike Libecki might finally be done unpacking and catching up on his laundry. In fact, he might ask the audience to fold it while talking about his busy 2012 expedition season during a free presentation 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Alta Community Center in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
The nearly 40-year-old adventurer from Cottonwood Heights took advantage of the Chinese Year of the Dragon by cramming six expeditions into 365 days.
Among his adventures: ripping down the mountains of Afghanistan on skis and a snowboard; climbing the jungle towers in Indonesia; first ascents in Russia; visits from polar bears in Greenland; and plucking leeches from his body in the Philippines.
Libecki wrapped up 2012 with a 52-day excursion to Queen Maud Land in Antarctica and arrived home just in time for Christmas. Even though this was his fourth trip to Antarctica, Libecki said there was still plenty of new ground to cover, and the chance still exists to experience an adventure like explorers of years past.
"With modern exploration and technology people think there is nothing left to explore," Libecki said. "In this day and age you can get rescued from practically anywhere, but that is not really an option in Antarctica. We spent half the time trying to survive 100 mph winds. There was nobody to call for help."
The trip to Antarctica was sponsored by National Geographic; it will be part of an upcoming package.
With close to 50 major expeditions under his belt, Libecki also found a new way to remember his last trip of 2012.
"It was the first time I've ever had frostbite," he said. "It was on my cheeks and my big toes. It wasn't anything too deep, but I'm sure I'll end up losing my toenails."
With six expeditions in one year, it is really no surprise that Libecki has been nominated as one of 10 candidates by National Geographic as Adventurer of the Year. An announcement will be made in the coming months.
For Libecki, who once worked at Alta Ski Resort, the "Year of the Dragon" presentation marks his 16th year with the Alta Community Center.
"It is a close community, and it has been great to share my tales with so many people through the years. I couldn't do it without the support of so many people," Libecki said. "During each trip, I'm on the summit with 50 or 100 people who have supported me mentally, spiritually, factually and monetarily. Without the support of people like my daughter and her mother and family and friends none of this happens."
Libecki's plans for 2013 already include Yemen, Russia and Indonesia.
If you go
When • 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where • Alta Community Center, Little Cottonwood Canyon
Cost • Free