Can you say fucking bad ass?
In 1996, he suffered a freefall parachuting accident in Zambia. His canopy ripped at 4,900 metres (16,000 ft), partially opening, causing him to fall and land on his parachute pack on his back, which partially crushed three vertebrae. Grylls later said: "I should have cut the main parachute and gone to the reserve but thought there was time to resolve the problem". According to his surgeon, Grylls came "within a whisker" of being paralysed for life and at first it was questionable whether he would ever walk again. Grylls spent the next 12 months in and out of military rehabilitation at Headley Court before being discharged from his medical treatment and directing his efforts into trying to get well enough to fulfil his childhood dream of climbing Mount Everest.
On 16 May 1998, Grylls achieved his childhood dream climbed to the summit of Mount Everest, 18 months after breaking three vertebrae in a parachuting accident. At 23, he was at the time among the youngest people to have achieved this feat. There is some controversy around whether he was, as claimed, the youngest Briton to have done so, as he was preceded by James Allen—an Australian climber with dual British citizenship who reached the summit in 1995 at age 22. The record was since been surpassed by Jake Meyer and then Rob Gauntlett who summitted at age 19.
Circumnavigation of the UK
In 2000 Grylls led the team to circumnavigate British Isles on Jet Skis, taking about 30 days, to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). He also rowed naked in a homemade bathtub along the Thames to raise funds for a friend who lost his legs in a climbing accident.
Crossing the North Atlantic
Three years later, he led a team of five, including his childhood friend, SAS colleague, and Mount Everest climbing partner Mick Crosthwaite, on an unassisted crossing of the north Atlantic Ocean, in an open rigid inflatable boat. Grylls and his team travelled in an eleven-metre-long boat and encountered force 8 gale windwith waves breaking over the boat while passing through icebergs in their journey from Halifax, Nova Scotia to John o' Groats, Scotland.
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 uninterrupted waterfall. The team was attempting to reach the highest, most remote tepuis.
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, Grylls created a world record for the highest open-air formal dinner party, which they did under a hot-air balloon at 7,600 metres (25,000 ft), dressed in full mess dress and oxygen masks. To train for the event, he made over 200 parachute jumps. This event was in aid of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and The Prince's Trust.
Paramotoring over the Himalayas
In 2007, Grylls embarked on a record-setting Parajet paramotor in Himalayas near Mount Everest. He took off from 4,400 metres (14,500 ft), 8 miles south of the mountain. Grylls reported looking down on the summit during his ascent and coping with temperatures of −60 °C (−76 °F). He endured dangerously low oxygen levels and eventually reached 9,000 metres (29,500 ft), almost 3,000 metres (10,000 ft) higher than the previous record of 6,102 metres (20,019 ft). The feat was filmed for Discovery Channel worldwide as well as Channel 4 in the UK. 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.
The expedition provoked some controversy. Grylls initially reported on his blog to have broken a new world record by flying over Mount Everest, when in fact – though reaching a height greater than Everest – he did not actually fly over the top of the mountain but was in fact some miles away from it. Some explorers have cast doubts on the veracity of other aspects of the flight, such as its purportedly record-setting height, which would have put him into the "death zone" where the amount of oxygen in the air is insufficient to sustain human life.
Journey Antarctica 2008
In 2008, Grylls lead a team of four to climb one of the most remote unclimbed peaks in the world in Antarctica. This was raising funds for Global Angels kids charity and awareness for the potential of alternative energies. During this mission the team also aimed to explore the coast of Antarctica by inflatable boat and jetski, part powered by bioethanol, and then to travel across some of the vast ice desert by wind-powered kite-ski and electric powered paramotor. However, the expedition was cut short after Grylls suffered a broken shoulder while kite skiing across a stretch of ice. Travelling at speeds up to 50 km/h (30 mph), a ski caught on the ice, launching him in the air and breaking his shoulder when he came down. He had to be medically evacuated.
Northwest Passage expedition
In August 2010, Grylls lead a team of five to take an ice-breaking rigid-inflatable boat (RIB) through 2,500 miles (4,000 km) of the ice strewn Northwest Passage. The expedition intended to raise awareness of the effects of global warming and to raise money for children's charity Global Angels.