Every year the death toll on Mount Everest rises, and for every ten mountaineers who make it to the top, one will die. Yet at 7:22AM on May 26th 1998, Bear Grylls entered The Guinness Book of Records as the youngest, and one of only around thirty, British climbers to have successfully climbed Everest and returned alive. He was only 23 years old.
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 Mount Ama Dablam in the Himalayas (22,500 feet), a peak once described by Sir Edmund Hillary as "unclimbable."
Prior to the Everest Expedition, Bear, also a Karate Black Belt, spent three years with the British Special Air Service (21 SAS). 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.
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. Bear has always been a popular guest on television shows, which have included, among many others, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Jay Leno's The Tonight Show in the USA. His first fiction book, Ghost Flight was published in 2015 by Orion.
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, and 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. His first major TV Series was for Channel Four, called Escape to the Legion, where he went through simulated basic training with Legionaires in North Africa and told the story of what it is like for a recruit to join the French Foreign Legion.
On the back of the success of the Foreign Legion Documentary, Bear was hired for a TV Series called Man Vs Wild on Discovery Channel Worldwide, plus also an 8-part TV Series for Channel Four titled Born Survivor: Bear Grylls. These feature 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!
Man Vs Wild went on to become the #1 cable show in all of America and reaches a global audience of over 1.2 billion viewers, making it one of the most recognised and watched programs on the largest TV network on earth. To date the team have filmed over 45 hour-long episodes.
Bear lives with his wife Shara on a boat on the Thames in london, and also on a small Welsh island. They have three little boys called Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry. They are the pride of Bear's eyes.