Bear Grylls’ Epic Flight Not So Epic?

ExWeb has posted an article calling into question Bear Grylls’ claims of paragliding over Everest a couple of months back. At the time it was reported that the British Adventurer had taken his gad powered paraglider up to 29,500 feet and soared over the summit of Everest. When I first reported on this, I noted that the record hadn’t been verified by an independent source yet.

Well, as of now, it still hasn’t been verified, and other pilots are stepping forward to question Grylls’ claims. The story states that Grylls’ instruments froze up on ascent, so it is impossible to know how far he went up. He does claim to have video of the entire flight, but it’s been handed over to the BBC, who are busy making a documentary of the adventure. For his part, Grylls says he’s happy to turn over his instruments for examination, as they may have still recorded some information, and that everything will be made clear in November when the BBC special airs.

ExWeb points out that this isn’t the first time that Bear has fudged the facts a little. He once claimed to be the first person to row across the Atlantic in an inflatable boat, only to change his statement to be the first person to do so “unassisted”. He also made the claim that he was the youngest Brit to ever summit Everest, only to find out later that another man, James Allen, held that distinction, doing so a year younger in age. To be fair though, Allen was originally listed as an Australian in Summit Reports.

Of course, ExWeb does take a swipe at other adventurers that might, knowingly or not, exaggerate their feats. The article allows them to take a poke at the Altitude Everest Team for their recent claims on the Second Step, and the even manage to take a jab at the Discovery Channel for last year’s Everest: Beyond The Limit while they’re at it.

Update: Check out this excellent article on the subject from Tarquin Cooper.

Kraig Becker

9 thoughts on “Bear Grylls’ Epic Flight Not So Epic?”

  1. I don’t put a lot of stock in Bear’s version of his exploits. He’s a tv personality first and foremost so he is prone to exaggeration.

  2. I would have thought he would have had several instruments with him to help measure his altitude as well. A good mountaineering watch along with his other instruments would have done the trick.

    Still, we’ll have to wait to see what the video has on it and what independent judges have to say upon seeing it.

  3. Bear’s certainly done a lot in his life so far regardless of whether he’s set any records or not.

    Personally, I won’t even be the LAST person to row across the Atlantic in an inflatable boat. I have, however, rowed out to one of the closer moorings offshore from my cottage in Maine. Hell, I’ve even swam the same several yards completely unassisted–and it is the Atlantic after all…

    Still, it seems there is a hype machine behind his recent feat. Understandable due to there being a contract with a major broadcaster.

    I have the utmost respect for him, but I just cannot watch the Discovery Channel show he currently stars in. He’s not alone, however much they play off the idea that he is. There’s a production crew with him.

    I really miss “Survivorman” with Les Stroud. Not only did he create the show, but he filmed it by himself (after the initial drop-off at the episode location) and even wrote and performed the show’s open music. Awesome.


  4. I like Survivorman as well. There was just something eerie about watching Les out there in those remote places, completely alone. It’s not the same with Man vs. Wild, although I’ll admit that I enjoy that show as well.

    Make no mistake, I still respect Bear a lot. He is former British SAS, which means he’s a hardcore badass. He’s also done plenty of amazing things. In fact, I tend to believe that Bear did set this record, it seems that ExWeb is just on a witch hunt lately, and their shots at Altitude Everest in this article just shows their true colors.

  5. Tonight – 27 July 07 David Letterman was not joking when he said that Bear is surely not alone and that he does get assistance. Yes, there is a production crew with him but Letterman said the crew did much more than just film.

  6. He was not in the SAS he was in the TA SAS. Big selection difference! Don’t beleive the urban myths that selection is the same! There’s only one SAS and that’s (22) SAS.

    Any guy wanting to join (22) SAS from (21) or (23) (R) TA has to do full 6 mths selection just like any other squaddie (so does that even remotely say that are equal or even near?) there’s no fast track allowance (they rarely make it) Chris Ryan was a notable exception (ex B Squad.) Even if they pass, they are then sent away for 6 mths for basic Army training skills (unlike other squaddies) with the Para’s before entering F/T with (22). TA SAS selection takes place mainly over selected weekends during a year, so with ample time to rest and recover. Still hard but no way in the league of (22) SAS – 5/6 months continuous hard slog, so little respite regarding general tiredness or injury recovery not to mention quicker completion times required.

  7. Thanks for the update. I thought there was a substantial difference between the two, but have heard things both ways. Good to have further clarification.

  8. You’re right! That really is a great article. I’m going to add a link to it from the original article. Thanks!

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