That feeling when you’re so cold you’d give anything to be warm – I’ve had it before, literally huddled around a candle flame on an ice sheet.
A man’s pride can be his downfall, and he needs to learn when to turn to others for support and guidance.
As a young boy, scouting gave me a confidence and camaraderie that is hard to find in modern life.
I am not fearless. I get scared plenty. But I have also learned how to channel that emotion to sharpen me.
Survival can be summed up in three words – never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.
To me, adventure has always been to me the connections and bounds you create with people when you’re there. And you can have that anywhere.
One killer exercise that’s really great is pull-ups with your legs out level. That’s my favourite. It’s such functional core strength, and that’s why I can climb up trees and down vines.
Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.
I try and eat really healthy when I’m home, but I certainly don’t eat worms and snakes.
My favorite moments? Where it’s all going swimmingly, the sun’s out and I’ve got a fire going and a nice snake on the barbecue.
Faith is personal if it’s to be real.
I joined the Army at 19 as a soldier and spent about four and a half years with them. Then I broke my back in a freefall parachuting accident and spent a year in rehabilitation back in the U.K.
Survival requires us to leave our prejudices at home. It’s about doing whatever it takes – and ultimately those with the biggest heart will win.
To get ready to climb Everest, I did a lot of hill running with a daypack on and a lot of underwater swimming. I would swim a couple of lengths underwater and then a couple above. It gets your body going with limited oxygen.
You only get one chance at life and you have to grab it boldly.
The rules of survival never change, whether you’re in a desert or in an arena.
The hardest thing about my job isn’t the snake bites or the crocodiles, it’s being away from my children. I have a really religious satellite phone call every day back to the boys, wherever we are, whatever time zone, to say goodnight.
You’re not human if you don’t feel fear. But I’ve learnt to treat fear as an emotion that sharpens me. It’s there to give me that edge for what I have to do.
My faith is an important part of my life and over the years I’ve learnt that it takes a proud man to say he doesn’t need anything. It has been a quiet strength and a backbone through a lot of difficult times.
Our fate is determined by how far we are prepared to push ourselves to stay alive – the decisions we make to survive. We must do whatever it takes to endure and make it through alive.
I loved climbing because of the freedom, and having time and space. I remember coming off Everest for the last time, thinking of Dad and wishing that he could have seen what I saw. He would have loved it.
I exercise about 40 minutes a day, and I’ll run one day and do circuit training the next day. I live in an area where there are brilliant hills and mountains, so I get a good hill run with my dog. At home, I’ll do the circuit training with old weights, along with pull-ups in the trees and that sort of stuff.
I always wanted to be Robin Hood or John the Baptist when I was growing up.
Look, sometimes, no matter how hard you try, sometimes you need a bit of luck.
Adventure should be 80 percent ‘I think this is manageable,’ but it’s good to have that last 20 percent where you’re right outside your comfort zone. Still safe, but outside your comfort zone.
My work is all about adventure and teamwork in some of the most inhospitable jungles, mountains and deserts on the planet. If you aren’t able to look after yourself and each other, then people die.
All my life the only thing I’ve been good at has been climbing and throwing myself off big things.
But the wild is unpredictable, stuff does happen, and it’s always when you’re least expecting it.
Americans are cool; if you show just a chink of vulnerability, they respond so much. They’ll pat you on the arm and say, ‘Hey kid, you’re all right.’ Brits will respond but they are much more cynical.
Some of the greatest survivors have been women. Look at the courage so many women have shown after surviving earthquakes in the rubble for days on end.
As for my diet, I try to eat lean, clean and healthy – nothing too surprising. And I avoid too much meat or dairy because they slow you down.
Survival is not about being fearless. It’s about making a decision, getting on and doing it, because I want to see my kids again, or whatever the reason might be.
I find skydiving really hard. I broke my back while skydiving when I was in the military, and for 18 months all my nightmares were about falling.
Nobody wants to end up super rich and famous – but divorced. I’m always clear on that and try to stay on the right side of the line.
The rewards of the wild and the rewards of the survivor go to those who can dig deep, and, ultimately, to the guy who can stay alive.
Well, wolves will pretty rarely hunt. You’re vulnerable if you’re on your own or injured. But for lone wolves, get up high, show them that you’re not injured, face ’em off, be authoritarian with it, and look ’em in the eye.
Nobody else is stupid enough to get themselves into the straits that I get into.
I have held healthy respects of bears along with assorted crocodiles, snakes and lots of other animals. You know, bears are dangerous, you have to be super careful.
I never wanted to do TV. I just did what I was trained to do through the Special Forces, and I’ve been doing that from a very young age.
I’ve never really had a TV career. I’ve been a soldier and a climber.
I said ‘no’ to the ‘Born Survivor’ producer three times because I’ve never aspired to be a TV man.
I love Ray Mears. He’s brilliant. He’s so rude about me in the press, it’s outrageous!
I’ve had so many injuries in my life that it’s ridiculous.
When I’m filming, survival requires movement. You need your energy, and you’ve got to eat the bad stuff, and survival food is rarely pretty, but you kind of do it. I get in that zone, and I eat the nasty stuff, but I’m not like that when I’m back home.
I love home cooking, and I’m not a great one for fast food.
You don’t often see Bear Grylls in a suit.
Textbook survival tells you to stay put. Stop. Wait for rescue. Don’t take any risks. But there’d been a whole host of survival shows like that and I didn’t really want to do that.
I think viewers quite like it when I’m suffering or eating or drinking something horrible or really up against it in some quicksand or whatever.
The appeal of the wild for me is its unpredictability. You have to develop an awareness, react fast, be resourceful and come up with a plan and act on it.
Life’s full of lots of dream-stealers always telling you you need to do something more sensible. I think it doesn’t matter what your dream is, just fight the dream-stealers and hold onto it.
Weather can kill you so fast. The first priority of survival is getting protection from the extreme weather.
The extremes of jungles, mountains, and deserts are inherently dangerous places.
The special forces gave me the self-confidence to do some extraordinary things in my life. Climbing Everest then cemented my belief in myself.
I always had a really natural faith as a kid. Where I knew God existed and it felt very free and pretty wild and natural, and it wasn’t religious.
And Jesus, the heart of the Christian faith is the wildest, most radical guy you’d ever come across.
I hang out all the time with kids and young scouts and I never meet kids who don’t want adventure.
I was christened Edward. My sister gave me the name Bear when I was a week old and it has stuck.
Sometimes it’s hard for us to believe, really believe, that God cares and wants good things for us and doesn’t just want us to go off and give everything up and become missionaries in Burundi.
Christianity is not about religion. It’s about faith, about being held, about being forgiven. It’s about finding joy and finding home.
It’s unresolved conflict in my life that I have a lovely family and a risky job.
I’ve fallen down crevasses, been bitten by snakes, been knocked unconscious, had various limbs broken and once, a heavy camera came plunging down which very nearly decapitated me.
My faith isn’t very churchy, it’s a pretty personal, intimate thing and has been a huge source of strength in moments of life and death.
I do see a lot of the hard end of ecology, and my feeling is that we live on a super-exciting planet but a super-fragile one.
In the British Special Air Service, combat fitness is all about running.
I think it’s fun running with dogs. They’re always so fit and fast.
Exercise helps my back. If I don’t exercise, that’s when it starts to hurt. The pain is a good motivator to run and exercise.
I was always brought up to have a cup of tea at halfway up a rock face.
When I’m in ‘Man vs. Wild’ mode, it’s not pleasure. Every sensor is firing and I’m on reserve power all the time and I’m digging deep – and that’s the magic of it as well, and that’s raw and it’s great.
I come from a line of self-motivated, determined folk – not grand, not high society, but no-nonsense, family-minded go-getters.
The SAS Reserve tends to be made up of former paratroopers and commandos who still want a challenge, but it is open to civilians.
The line between life or death is determined by what we are willing to do.
I had many opportunities to get behind products in the past, and I was always careful to evaluate all of them. I will not put my name to shoddy items.
The truth is, I need 10 lifetimes to scratch the surface of the things I’d love to do.
You can’t live someone else’s expectations in life. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Accidents on big mountains happen when people’s ambitions cloud their good judgment. Good climbing is about climbing with heart and with instinct, not ambition and pride.
It breaks my heart that my father never knew my children. He should have been around for another 25 years.
I’ve eaten sheep’s eyes, the still hot meat from a zebra killed by a lion, and maggots which give you 70 calories to the ounce.
I don’t thrive on stress. I love lying on the deck on our houseboat reading a book.
I’m terrified of walking into a room full of people. Sitting down at a dinner table with 15 strangers brings me out in a sweat.
I love making healthy lean foods delicious – that’s an art!
For me, my training is a key part of my work as so often my life has depended on being able to move fast and haul myself up and out of something fast!
I don’t like expeditions where it is a total lottery whether you live or die. You have to keep those sort of good luck cards for rare occasions!
I train five days a week hard – but it is short and sharp – 30 to 40 minutes of functional and pretty dynamic body-strength circuits, then I do a good yoga session on the sixth day, then I rest.
Life has taught me to be very cautious of a man with a dream, especially a man who has teetered on the edge of life. It gives a fire and recklessness inside that is hard to quantify.