EVEREST- THE BEGINNING
Aged eight, Bear’s father had taught his young son, Bear, to climb and to dream. Trained on the white sea cliffs on the small island he grew up on in southern England, the young Bear’s bedroom was covered in posters of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak. One day he vowed to climb the mountain – a dream Bear and his father nurtured together.
Yet finally at 7.22am on May 26th 1998, after three grueling months climbing on the peak, Bear entered The Guinness Book of Records as one Everest’s youngest ever summiteers and returned alive.
He was only 23 years old. one of Everest’s youngest ever summiteers.
The actual ascent took Bear over ninety days of extreme weather, limited sleep and running out of oxygen deep inside the ‘death zone’ (above 26,000 feet). On the way down from his first reconnaissance climb, Bear was almost killed in a crevasse at 19,000 feet. The ice cracked and the ground disappeared beneath him, he was knocked unconscious and came to swinging on the end of a rope. His team-mate and that rope saved his life.
The expedition was raising funds for the Rainbow Trust and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
Previously, in 1997, Bear had become the Youngest Briton to climb the iconic Mount Ama Dablam in the Himalayas (22,500 feet), a peak once described by Sir Edmund Hillary as ‘unclimbable’.
Bear was beginning to distinguish himself in his field.
Prior to the Everest Expedition, Bear, also a Karate Black Belt, spent had passed the gruelling UK Reserve’s Special Forces Selection process, where he went on to serve for three years with the British Special Air Service (21 SAS). He specialised as a combat survival instructor, and was also trained in evasive driving, parachuting, demolitions, trauma medic, unarmed combat and jungle warfare.
What makes his story even more remarkable is that during this time he suffered a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa where he broke his back in three places. After months and months of rehabilitation, focusing always on his childhood dream of Everest, he slowly became strong enough to attempt the ultimate ascent of the world’s highest peak.
BOOKS AND MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKING
Bear has a natural talent for communication and his speaking and TV shows has brought him worldwide acclaim. As a motivational speaker, he has addressed corporations all around the world on his experiences on Everest and how these can help us in our life and business environments. He is among the most in-demand speakers in the world. Bear’s first book, ‘Facing Up’, went into the top-10 best seller list, and was launched in the USA titled, ‘The Kid who climbed Everest’. Worldwide this book has touched people through its enduring honesty, courage and humility.
He has gone on to write 11 books, including four teenager fiction survival books titled Mission Survival, and adult books ranging from Scouting (Living Wild) to Born Survivor, Facing the Frozen Ocean and Great Outdoor Adventures. He has also authored a book written very personally for his three children on how to live a fulfilling life, titled With Love Papa.
His latest book, his remarkable autobiography, Mud Sweat & Tears, stayed for nine weeks at No 1 in the Sunday Times Bestseller List in the UK. A feat that few books have ever achieved. It launches in the USA in May 2012.
Bear first TV break came when he was approached to star in a ‘Sure For Men’ deodorant TV commercial. This featured the story of Bear’s Everest climb. The advert was awarded campaign of the year.
In 2003 Bear successfully completed another ground breaking expedition, leading a team across the freezing North Atlantic Arctic Ocean in a small open rigid inflatable boat. Suffering weeks of frozen spray and icebergs, the expedition was filmed for a documentary, and was raising funds for the Prince’s Trust charity. The book on this remarkable journey,’Facing the Frozen Ocean’, and was short-listed as Sports Book of the Year.
Bear was awarded an Honorary commission in the Royal Navy for this record-breaking feat.Bear was also used by the UK Ministry of Defense to head the Army’s anti-drugs TV campaign, and featured in the first ever major advertising campaign for the world renowned shop: Harrods.
His first major TV Series was for Channel Four, called ‘Escape to the Legion’, where he went through simulated basic training with Legionnaires in North Africa, to show what it is really like as a recruit in the French Foreign Legion. This TV series was a major hit worldwide and opened the door for the success of Man Vs Wild and Born Survivor.
Within months of the Foreign Legion Documentary airing, Bear was commissioned to present 12 x 1-hour programmes for a novel TV format called ’Man Vs Wild’ on Discovery Channel worldwide, commissioned as well for Channel Four in the UK, titled: ‘Born Survivor: Bear Grylls’. These programmes featured Bear being parachuted in to some of the most inhospitable deserts, jungles and mountains on earth and showing what you need to do to survive. No-one had any idea whether the format would work…
Man Vs Wild went on to become the No. 1 cable show in all of America, reaching a global audience of over 1.2 Billion viewers, in over 200 countries, making it one of the most recognized and watched programs on the largest TV network on earth.
To date the team have filmed over 75 x 1hr episodes, and six seasons around the world. Bear’s outdoor survival book Born Survivor, written for Channel 4 in the UK, stayed for 10 weeks in the Sunday Times Bestseller List.
In 2007, Bear lead an incredible attempt to return to Everest and become the first man to fly a powered paraglider to a height above the world’s highest peak. Sponsored by GKN, and along with his best buddy Gilo Cardozo, Bear achieved their aim and pulled off the impossible, soaring into the record books. The expedition was documented for Discovery Channel, titled: Bear’s Mission Everest and the team raised over $2.4million in the process for Global Angels and children’s charities worldwide.
He has lead teams to circumnavigate the UK on jetskis, raising funds for the Lifeboats, he has broken world records in high-altitude ballooning, skydiving and much more, including a world first for taking a rigid inflatable boat through the infamous, ice-strewn North West Passage.
2008 also saw Bear lead a small team to climb one of the most remote un-climbed peaks in the world in Antarctica. The expedition was using wind powered kite skiing, bio-ethanol powered jetskis, electric powered paragliders and good old footwork!
BRINGING SCOUTING AND ADVENTURE TO THE WORLD
Bear and Discovery Channel have released a Man Vs Wild X Box, playstation and Wii, he owns an outdoor adventure clothing company partnered with Craghoppers, as well as a line of survival kits, knives, multi-tools and other outdoor equipment with Gerber. Bear’s Ultimate Knife has become the biggest selling knife in the world.
He has fronted international advertising campaigns for the likes of Nissan, Dos Equis, Sure deodorant, Degree, Solo and Trail Mix.
On 17 May 2009, Bear was elected as the youngest ever Chief Scout to the Scout Association, becoming the figurehead to 28 million Scouts around the world. For Bear, this is his proudest post, standing up for young people from so many different cultures and countries, helping them realise their dreams, explore the world, help in crisis countries, and benefit from being part of a worldwide family. For Bear it is all about encouraging life values, outdoor skills and a sense of pride, belonging and camaraderie through adventure.
But this is just the beginning of his many extraordinary missions… Known and admired by millions – Bear Grylls is a worldwide icon for the great outdoors and the ultimate in adventure.