15 Adventure Photos That Will Rock Your World

See some incredible images from the world’s best adventure photography contest, happening right now!
By Alison Mann

For your viewing pleasure, we’ve put together a selection of some of our favorite images from Red Bull Illume, the international action and adventure sports photography contest. There’s ice climbing, cave diving, kayaking and more, all captured by some of the world’s best photographers.

Think you can compete? The submissions deadline is coming soon — March 31 — so get your photos ready! Once you have your images assembled, simply register on the Red Bull Illume site and submit your entry. Until then, size up some of the competition below.

An ice cave explorer in Patagonia
Blue ice makes nice light © Juan Cruz Rabaglia/Red Bull Illume

1. Patagonian ice climbing

This atmospheric image was taken by Juan Cruz Rabaglia in the incredible Glacier Perito Moreno in Patagonia, Argentina. Leonardo Cuny Proverbio climbs in one of the caverns which open up in the glacier after years of water pouring through. These caves can only be explored when the lakes are dry!

A cave diver explores with artificial lighting
Diving the deep © Liz Rogers/Red Bull Illume

2. Cave diving

This shot was taken in Weebubbie Cave in Nullarbor, Australia. The cave was inky dark during the photoshoot and was only illuminated when photographer Liz Rogers took the photo with the camera in bulb mode and the flash fired manually. She had to use her memory to frame the shots in the dark.

A diver meets a dolphin
Hello, Flipper © George Karbus/Red Bull Illume

3. Underwater interaction

This photo — showing freediver Kate Hamsikova with a wild bottlenose dolphin and an amazing moment between human and animal — is from George Karbus and was taken in Lahinch, Ireland. Free diving in Ireland presents some problems, namely cold temperatures and bad visibility. But when the moments are good, they’re awesome.

Paragliders explore the Himalayan mountain range
High above the Himalaya © Krystle Wright/Red Bull Illume

4. Above the clouds

Photographer Krystle Wright was part of a five-week expedition with three paragliders — Tom de Dorlodot, Horacio Llorens and Hernan Pitocco — as they tried to break the world altitude record. They also wanted to explore Pakistan. The day this photo was taken they flew for hours over the heart of the Karakoram Range during which Wright’s hands became so cold she lost all feeling — warming them back up again was intense!

Kayakers hump their canoes up a unique riverbed
Rock walk © Matt Baker/Red Bull Illume

5. Gotta get up to get down

This image shows Rush Sturges as he hikes up to do another lap down Tenaya Falls in California. Taken by Matt Baker.

An ice climber ascends a frozen waterfall
A cold, cold climb © Ray Demski/Red Bull Illime

6. Swiss ice climbing

This shot by Ray Demski shows Alex Luger climbing the final pitch of Brückenfall WI5 in the Avers Valley in Switzerland.

A kayaker goes over a waterfall
Straight drop © Tim Kemple/Red Bull Illume

7. The rush of the waterfall

This image shows kayaker Tyler Bradt on a line above Tomata 1 in Tlapacoyan, Mexico. It was taken by Tim Kemple.

Kayakers portage to the next river
The want for water © Jakub Sedivy/Red Bull Illume

8. Portage in Nepal

Jakub Sedivy hiked a nine-day trek to the Langu Khola river drainage in Nepal, during which he captured this image. After reaching the river at an altitude of 15,255 feet, Sedivy and his group paddled another 342 miles — or 19 days of white water. The group achieved the first complete descent of the Langu Khola.

A boulderer tries a new route in the Southwest USA
Bouldering makes you bolder © R. Tyler Gross/Red Bull Illume

9. Joshua Tree selfie

R. Tyler Gross is pictured climbing in Joshua Tree on a boulder called the Secret Samurai. He took the image of himself after successfully climbing the v6 route the day before. It took two hours of running up and down the hill to get it perfect.

A kayak goes over a waterfall during winter
Cold kayak © Mike Leeds/Red Bull Illume

10. Sea and ice

This shot by Mike Leeds shows kayaker Erik Boomer, known as the Honey Badger. He is shown paddling whitewater at the Sahalie Falls on McKenzie River in Oregon. He had just finished a 104-day, 1,485-mile circumnavigation of Ellesmere Island on ski and kayak and this was his first day back in a whitewater kayak.

A kayaker goes over a waterfall
See you later! © Mike Leeds/Red Bull Illume

11. Spirit Falls sender

This image shows kayaker Evan Garcia on Spirit Falls on Little White Salmon River in Washington. To get the shot, photographer Mike Leeds hiked down the canyon and perched himself on a rock at the lip of the falls. It was pretty slippery and one wrong move would’ve been disastrous. Thankfully all went well and he scored this awesome photo.

A diver under ice
Exploring the real green room © George Karbus/Red Bull Illume

12. Under ice

Another incredible image from George Karbus, this time of Kate Hamsikova free diving under almost four feet of ice. It was taken during a sunny day inside the Arctic Circle in Russia.

Mammut climber Anna Stöhr climbing in a car dump in Switzerland
Climbing out of the norm © Rainer Eder/Red Bull Illume

13. Climbing cars

Rainer Eder captured this unsual image while shooting Mammut's pro climbers. He wanted to take them out of their usual setting — this photo shows Anna Stöhr climbing in a car salvage yard. The location brought with it some difficulties, as the cars had sharp parts not suitable for handholds. After a lot of effort they got this shot.

Mich Kemeter freesolos the Taft Point highline, with El Capitan in the background
Can you spy El Capitan? © Alexandre Buisse/Red Bull Illume

14. Yosemite highline

Can you see El Capitan in the background? This image from Alexandre Buisse shows Mich Kemeter freesoloing the Taft Point highline in Yosemite.

Paragliding a 17mile long sandune in Mozambique
Paragliding a 17-mile-long dune © Jody MacDonald/Red Bull Illume

15. Paragliding over sand dunes

This shot was taken by Jody MacDonald during her time spent on The Best Odyssey, a five-year world kiteboarding expedition. During the trip she sailed up to this huge sand dune in Mozambique. It turned out they were the first people to paraglide the 17-mile-long dune!

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