Bear Grylls

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Edward Michael "Bear" Grylls
Born 7 June 1974 (1974-06-07) (age 34)
Bembridge, Isle of Wight, UK[citation needed]
Residence Barge moored by Battersea Bridge on the River Thames,[1] and an island on Llŷn Peninsula, North Wales[2]
Occupation professional adventurer,
motivational speaker,
television presenter
Spouse(s) Shara Cannings Knight[3]
Children Jesse, Marmaduke[4] and Huckleberry[5]

Bear Grylls (born 7 June 1974), real name Edward Michael 'Bear' Grylls, is a British adventurer, television presenter and writer currently best known for his television series Born Survivor (Man vs. Wild in the U.S.).


[edit] Personal life

Grylls was raised in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight.[6] He is the son of the late Conservative party politician Sir Michael Grylls and Sally Grylls, (nee) Sarah Ford.[7] His maternal grandparents were Patricia Ford,[8] an Ulster Unionist Party MP and professional cricketer Neville Ford. He has one sibling, an elder sister, Lara Fawcett.

Grylls was educated at [Eaton House], [Ludgrove School]], Eton College, and Birkbeck, University of London,[9] where he graduated with a degree, obtained part-time, in Hispanic studies in 2002. He learned to climb and sail from his father at an early age. He also earned a black belt in karate as a teenager: Becoming a second dan black belt in Shotokan karate (Though, he now practices Yoga and Ninjutsu). He speaks English, Spanish, and French.[10] Grylls is Christian, describing his faith as the 'backbone' in his life.[10]

Grylls married Shara Grylls (née Cannings Knight) in 2000.[3][8] They have three sons: Jesse, Marmaduke[11], and Huckleberry (born January 15, 2009 via natural childbirth on his houseboat).[5]

In December 2008, Grylls suffered a broken shoulder while kite skiing across a stretch of ice during an independent expedition to climb a remote unclimbed peak in Antarctica. Traveling at speeds up to 50 km/h, a ski caught on the ice, launching him in the air and breaking his shoulder when he came down.[12]

[edit] Military reserve service

After leaving school, Grylls considered joining the Indian Army[13] and spent a few months hiking in the Himalayan mountains of Sikkim and West Bengal,assam. From 1994 to 1997, after passing United Kingdom Special Forces Selection, he served in the part-time[14] United Kingdom Special Forces Reserve, with 21 Regiment Special Air Service, 21 SAS(R), as a trooper, survival instructor and Patrol Medic.[15] He served in North Africa twice.[16] In 1996 suffered a freefall parachuting accident in Kenya. His canopy ripped at 1600 feet (500 m), partially opening, causing him to fall and land on his parachute pack on his back, which partially crushed three vertebrae.[17] Grylls later said, "I should have cut the main parachute and gone to the reserve but thought there was time to resolve the problem".[18] Grylls came "within a wisker" according to his surgeon of being paralyzed for life and at first, it was questionable whether he would ever walk again. Grylls spent the next 18 months in and out of military rehabilitation at Headley Court[18] before being discharged and directing his efforts into trying to get well enough to fulfil his childhood dream of climbing Mount Everest.

Grylls was awarded the honorary rank of Lieutenant Commander in the UK's Royal Naval Reserve for services to charity and human endeavour.[19]

[edit] Everest

On May 26, 1998, Grylls achieved his childhood dream (a dream ever since his father gave him a picture of Everest when he was eight) and a Guinness World Record (since surpassed by Jake Meyer and at age 19 by Rob Gauntlett), as the youngest Briton, at 23, to summit Mount Everest, just eighteen months after breaking his back. However, James Allen, an Australian/British climber who ascended Everest in 1995 with an Australian team, but who has dual citizenship, beat him to the summit at age 22.[20] Grylls' expedition involved nearly three months on Everest's southeast face: From his first reconnaissance climb on which he fell in a crevasse and was knocked unconscious, regaining consciousness to find himself swinging on the end of a rope, to the weeks of acclimatisation climbs involving climbing up and down the South Face, negotiating the Khumbu icefall (a frozen river), the Western Cwm glacier, and a 5000 foot wall of ice called the Lhotse face, to the grueling ascent with the ex-SAS soldier Neil Laughton, involving climbing for hours in the night, that took him past extreme weather, fatigue, dehydration, last-minute illness, sleep deprivation and almost running out of oxygen inside the death zone where air is three times thinner than at sea level.

To prepare for climbing at such high altitudes in the Himalayas, in 1997, Grylls became the youngest Briton to climb Ama Dablam, a peak described by Sir Edmund Hillary as "unclimbable".

[edit] Other expeditions

[edit] Circumnavigation of the UK

In 2000, Grylls, lead the first team to circumnavigate the UK on a personal watercraft or jet ski, taking about 30 days, to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

He also rowed naked for 22 miles in a homemade bathtub along the Thames to raise funds for a friend who lost his legs in a climbing accident.[21]

[edit] Crossing the North Atlantic

Three years later, he led a team of five, including his childhood friend and Mount Everest climbing partner Mick Crosthwaite, on the first unassisted crossing of the north Atlantic Arctic Ocean, in an open rigid inflatable boat. Battling force 8 gale winds, hypothermia, icebergs and storms in an eleven-meter-long boat through some of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world including the Labrador Sea, the Denmark Strait, and the stretch made famous by The Perfect Storm, Bear and his team were just barely able to finish the journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia to John o' Groats, Scotland. He was awarded an Honorary commission in the Royal Navy as a Lieutenant-Commander for this feat.

[edit] Paramotoring over Angel Falls

In 2005, Grylls led the first team ever to attempt to paramotor over the remote jungle plateau of the Angel Falls in Venezuela, the world's highest waterfall. The team was attempting to reach the highest, most remote tepuis.

[edit] Dinner party at altitude

In 2005, alongside the balloonist and mountaineer David Hempleman-Adams and Lieutenant Commander Alan Veal, leader of the Royal Navy Freefall Parachute Display Team, Bear Grylls created a world record for the highest open-air formal dinner party, which they did under a hot-air balloon at 25,000 feet, dressed in full mess dress and oxygen masks. To train for the event, Bear made over 200 parachute jumps. This was in aid of the The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and The Prince's Trust.

[edit] Paramotoring over the Himalayas

In 2007, Grylls claimed to have broken a new world record by flying a Parajet paramotor over the Himalayas, higher than Mount Everest. [22] Grylls took off from 14,500 feet, 8 miles south of the mountain. Grylls reported looking down on the summit during his ascent and coping with temperatures of −60 °C . He endured dangerously low oxygen levels and eventually reached 29,500 feet, almost 10,000 feet higher than the previous record of 20,019 feet. The feat was filmed for Discovery Channel worldwide as well as Channel 4 in the UK. [23]

While Grylls initially planned to cross over Everest itself, the permit was only to fly to the south of Everest, and he did not traverse Everest out of risk of violating Chinese airspace.[24]

[edit] Longest indoor freefall

Bear Grylls, along with the double amputee Al Hodgson and the Scotsman Freddy MacDonald, set a Guinness world record in 2008 for the longest continuous indoor freefall[1]. The previous record was 1 hr 36 mins by a US team. Grylls, Hodgson, and MacDonald, using a vertical wind tunnel in Milton Keynes, broke the record by a few seconds. The attempt was in support of the charity Global Angels.

[edit] Media

Grylls entered television work with an appearance in an advertisement for Sure deodorant, featuring his ascent of Mount Everest, compared with what really made him sweat (giving a motivational talk to an audience). Grylls has been a guest on television programs, including Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Attack of the Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Harry Hill's TV Burp.

Grylls recorded two advertisements for Post's Trail Mix Crunch Cereal, which aired in the US from January 2009.

Warner Bros. asked Bear Grylls to appear in its remake of the film Clash of the Titans.

[edit] Escape to the Legion

Grylls filmed a four-part TV show in 2005, called Escape to the Legion, which followed Grylls and eleven other UK 'recruits' as they took part in a shortened recreation of the French Foreign Legion's basic desert training in the Sahara. The show was broadcast in the UK on Channel 4,[25] and in the USA on the Military Channel.[26] travel channel, 2006-2007. In 2008, it was repeated in the UK on the History Channel.[27]

[edit] Man vs. Wild

Grylls hosts a series titled Born Survivor: Bear Grylls for the British Channel 4 - broadcast in the U.S. on Discovery Channel as Man vs. Wild, and as Ultimate Survival on the Discovery Channel in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Locations around the globe that Bear visits during Man vs. Wild. Red – Season 1, Blue – 2, Green – 3.[citation needed]

The series features Grylls dropped into inhospitable places, showing viewers how to survive. The second series premiered in the US on 15 June 2007, the third in Nov 2007, and the fourth in May 2008. Grylls is currently filming the fifth series.

The show has featured stunts including Grylls climbing cliffs, parachuting from helicopters, balloons, and planes, paragliding, ice climbing, wading rapids, eating snakes and crocodiles, wrapping his urine-soaked t-shirt around his head to help stave off the desert heat, wrestling alligators, sleeping inside camel carcasses, and free climbing waterfalls. Grylls also regales the viewer with tales of adventurers stranded or killed in the wilderness.

The show reaches a global audience in excess of 1.2 billion viewers, making it one of the highest rated programmes on Discovery worldwide.

[edit] Criticism

Man vs. Wild / Born Survivor has been criticized by outdoor enthusiasts for fabricating some of the situations Bear finds himself in. They contend that Bear misleads his viewers and gives the impression that he is alone in the wild, when this has never been the case. Critics allege that Bear rarely puts himself in excessive harm's way, and that he is occasionally assisted by members of the production crew if needed.

In 2006 it was revealed that Born Survivor misled viewers into believing that Grylls was stranded in the wild alone when he was not and Channel 4 temporarily suspended the show for a few weeks. Discovery and Channel 4 then aired reedited episodes, removing elements that were too planned, with a fresh voice-over and a preceding announcement pointing out that some situations are 'presented to Bear to show the viewer how to survive'. Discovery and Channel 4 have continued to broadcast the program.

Grylls was shown trying to ride "wild" horses that were clearly well brushed and appeared to have horseshoes. In another episode Bear claims to be crossing an unstable lava bridge, when in reality the area is part of a national park and is within some distance of a road. Similarly, it was revealed that Grylls stayed at a crew base-camp in the Costa Rican jungle, while giving viewers the impression that he was alone. There have been several other incidents, including the impression Grylls built a raft "in a matter of hours with no tools". According to the adviser, the raft was actually in part built by a show stunt consultant. This episode implied it was filmed on a small South Pacific island, which Channel 4 admitted was actually a peninsula in Hawaii, the scene of Hollywood movie shoots. These incidents were confirmed by Channel 4, who argued that it was not a documentary, but a "how-to" guide to survival, implying that staged scenes were acceptable in that context.[28]

[edit] Other work

Outside of TV, Grylls sometimes works as a motivational speaker.[29]

Grylls is a bestselling author. Grylls' first book, titled Facing Up, went into the UK top 10 best-seller list, and was launched in the USA entitled The Kid Who Climbed Everest. Its subject is his expedition, at 23 years old, to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. Grylls' second book Facing the Frozen Ocean was shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award 2004. His next book was written to accompany the series Born Survivor: Bear Grylls. (Released in America in April 2008 to the Man vs. Wild Discovery television show) It featuring survival skills learned from some of the world's most hostile places. This book reached the Sunday Times Top 10 best-seller list.

He has a series of children's adventure survival books titled: 'Mission Survival: Gold of the Gods', and 'Mission Survival: Way of the Wolf'. His latest book is an extreme guide to outdoor pursuits, titled Bear Grylls Outdoor Adventures.

Grylls has his own outdoor survival clothing range produced by clothing manufacturer Craghoppers.

[edit] Charities

All of Grylls' expeditions and stunts have raised money for charitable organizations. Grylls is an ambassador[citation needed] for The Prince's Trust, an organisation which provides training, financial, and practical support to young people in Britain. He is also vice president for The JoLt Trust, a small charity that takes disabled, disadvantaged, abused or neglected young people on challenging month-long expeditions.

Global Angels, a UK charity which seeks to aid children around the world, were the beneficiaries of his 2007 attempt to take a powered paraglider higher than Mount Everest. Grylls's attempt to hold the highest ever dinner party at 25,000 feet was in aid of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, and launched the 50th anniversary of the Awards. His attempt to circumnavigate Britain on jet skis raised money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Grylls' Everest climb was in aid of SSAFA Forces Help, a British-based charitable organisation set up to help former, and serving members of the British Armed Forces, and their families and dependents. His 2003 Arctic expedition detailed in the book Facing the Frozen Ocean was in aid of The Prince's Trust. His 2005 attempt to paramotor over the Angel Falls was in aid of the charity Hope and Homes for Children.[30]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Who dares wins". The Echo. 2004-04-17. Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  2. ^ ""This is where we hide from the world"". Home & Gardens magazine. Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  3. ^ a b "Out of the Wild: Bear Grylls survives the urban jungle". Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  4. ^ "Bear Grylls : Man vs. Wild". Discovery Channel. Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  5. ^ a b Bear Grylls Welcomes Son Huckleberry Celebrity Baby Blog, January 15, 2009
  6. ^ "MY LIFE IN TRAVEL: Bear Grylls". The Independent. Retrieved on April 17 2004. 
  7. ^ "Sir Michael Grylls". Telegraph. Retrieved on November 22 2001. 
  8. ^ a b "Person Page 24749". Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  9. ^ "History of Birkbeck: 1900s". Birkbeck. Retrieved on December 3 2007. 
  10. ^ a b "Ask Bear Your Questions". 
  11. ^ "Bear Gryll's Bio". 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Grylls, The Kid Who Climbed Everest, 11
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Bear Grylls – Mountaineer & Motivational Speaker". City Speakers International. Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  16. ^ "Bear Brylls Biography". Retrieved on 01 January 2009. 
  17. ^ "Escape to the Legion". Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  18. ^ a b Petty, Moira (2007-04-24). "Adventurer Bear Grylls' battle with back pain and high cholesterol". Mail Online. Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  19. ^ "News and Events: Royal Navy – Honorary Officers of the RNR". The Royal Navy. 2006. Retrieved on May 19 2007. 
  20. ^ Summit Magazine #40, Winter 2005, page 12
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Latest News". Bear Grylls. Retrieved on September 2 2007. 
  23. ^ "Flying Into A Dream". Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved on May 27 2007. 
  24. ^ "Explorer hits heights with Himalayan record". Telegraph Media Group. 2007-05-16. Retrieved on 2007-11-11. 
  25. ^ "Escape to the Legion". Channel 4. Retrieved on May 19 2007. 
  26. ^ "Military Channel: TV Listings: Escape to the Legion". The Military Channel. 2007. Retrieved on May 19 2007. 
  27. ^ "ESCAPE TO THE LEGION: Escape To The Legion – Part 4". The 2008-03-24. Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  28. ^ "How Bear Grylls the Born Survivor roughed it – in hotels". Mail Online. 2007-07-23. Retrieved on 2008-07-14. 
  29. ^
  30. ^ Murray Norton (October 20 2005). "Fancy An Adventure". Retrieved on May 19 2007. 

[edit] External links

NAME Grylls, Bear
SHORT DESCRIPTION English mountaineer, adventurer, author, television presenter and motivational speaker.
DATE OF BIRTH June 7, 1974
PLACE OF BIRTH Bembridge, Isle of Wight, England
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