Bear Grylls became The Youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest at only twenty-three years of age, a feat made even more remarkable as just two years earlier he had a near fatal parachuting accident in Africa, almost severing his spinal cord. He broke two vertebrae and chipping a third, narrowly missing being paralysed for life. He spent a year convalescing, constantly facing the fact that he might never be fit enough to achieve his childhood dream of climbing Everest.
Despite moments of great pain and despair, Bear worked hard to regain his mobility and with great persistence he and his team planned their Everest expedition. With dogged determination they raised the necessary sponsorship and began training for the gruelling task ahead. Bear entered The Guinness Book of Records on May 26th, 1998 at 07.22am, joining only thirty British climbers to have successfully completed the expedition and return alive.
The actual ascent of Everest took ninety days enduring extreme weather, two months of limited sleep and almost running out of oxygen deep inside the 'death zone' (above 26,000 feet). On the way down from his first reconnaissance climb, Bear cheated death while navigating the perilous Khumbu Icefall, the ice cracked and he fell into a 19,000 foot deep crevasse, was knocked unconscious and came to swinging on the end of a rope. Had it not been for the tenacity of his team mates he would not be alive today.
Before the Everest expedition, Bear spent three years as a Specialist Combat Survival Instructor and Patrol Medic with the SAS. In September 1997, he became the Youngest Briton to climb Mount Ama Dablam in the Himalayas (22,500 feet), a peak described by Sir Edmond Hillary as 'unclimbable'.
In 2002 he led the first team to Jet Ski around Britain, using a pioneering new fuel made from rubbish and that was followed by abseiling the tallest building in Chelsea Harbour, going down the Thames by boat to the city airport where he completed 22 flat spins in a plane in the fastest time possible in aid of The Haven Trust, a breast cancer charity.
A keen motorcyclist, Bear is a guest presenter on Meridian's Ridgeriders series, talking about the countryside and places of interest on a ride through Hampshire. As a survival expert he is totally at home in any outdoor situation and when in London he lives on houseboat with his wife. He also owns an island off the Welsh coast. He has a passion for sailing and all extreme sports.
His book, 'Facing Up', published by Macmillan soared into the best seller list and to date has sold over 20,000 copies. In August 2003, Bear led the first crew to cross the Atlantic via the Arctic Circle in an open rigid inflatable boat, in aid of The Prince's Trust. This expedition is the subject of his latest book, 'Facing The Frozen Ocean' which was published by Macmillan in 2004.
He has a natural talent for communication and public speaking which has taken him around the world. One of the youngest motivational speakers on the international circuit, he has also come to the attention of many TV and Radio programmes and has a survival series on Channel 4 starting in Spring 2005.
"Bear was one of the best speakers we've had in five years"
PRICE WATERHOUSE COOPER
"Our thanks for your professional and inspirational contribution to our lunch, the combination of your particular style and breathtaking video was entirely appropriate and hit all the right notes".
THE INSTITUTE OF DIRECTORS
"All our senior Chief Executives had great things to say about Bear, he was a fantastic speaker".
UBS WARBURG SENIOR TEAM DINNER