President Obama set out to Alaska earlier this week, and he's got some extreme sightseeing planned for his bout in the Last Frontier. He's set to hike through a shrinking glacier with adventurer and TV personality Bear Grylls to discuss the importance of conservation and bring attention to global climate change. The voyage will air on Grylls' popular NBC show "Running Wild with Bear Grylls" later this year.
Bear Grylls has come to fame for his insane (and sometimes disgusting) nature stunts, but those are only a part of what makes the survivalist awesome. Here are nine reasons that he totally exemplifies fearlessness — it's safe to say the President is in good hands.
1. “Bear” is actually a childhood nickname from his sister.
Irish-born Edward Michael Grylls was nicknamed “Bear” by his older sister at the ripe age of one week. The name held true, and he spent most of his childhood outdoors. “As a child, the tedium of the weeks at school was relieved by the thought of days ahead at home: climbing on the chalk cliffs of the Isle of Wright with my father,” he writes in his book.
2. He’s an ex-military man.
Grylls got his start as a soldier in the United Kingdom Special Forces Reserve, where he served as a trooper for three years.
3. He’s climbed the highest mountain in the world.
At 23 years old, Grylls became the youngest Brit to summit Everest in a grueling ascent that lasted over 90 days. Oh, and he did it less than two years after breaking his back in three places during a parachuting accident.
4. He circled the UK on a jet ski to raise money for charity.
The unconventional expedition lasted 30 days and benefited the Royal National Lifeboat Institution — a British search and rescue service.
5. He crossed the North Atlantic Ocean in an inflatable boat.
In 2003, Grylls led a team of five on the first unassisted crossing of the north Atlantic Arctic Ocean. They traversed 3,000 treacherous frozen miles in a tiny inflatable boat. “I remember fighting with all my being to keep the small boat level and upright — if we capsized in this, we would have a survival time of a matter of hours at most in the freezing sea, even in full dry suits. Situations like this focus the mind and remind us about where our real anchor is in our lives,” he told the Telegraph.
6. He’s proof that age is just a number.
In a recent interview with Men’s Fitness, 40-year-old Grylls confessed that he’s in the best shape of his life, thanks to a strict strength training routine and gluten-free diet.
7. He's one of the most widely recognized explorers in the world.
"Man Vs Wild," his hit show on the Discovery Channel, filmed Grylls as he traversed remote locations to get back to civilization without food or survival supplies. It spanned seven seasons, became the most popular cable program in the US in 2010, and reached an estimated audience of 1.2 billion.
8. He’s using his fame to bring attention to conservation efforts.
Most recently, he donated thousands to a project that will protect threatened native wildlife in New Zealand.
9. .... And yeah, he does stuff like this.
Nothing says nutritious dinner like a good ol’ snake barbecue.