Adventurer and explorer Bear Grylls has put himself in some of the harshest conditions on Earth. By choice. The list of remote outposts is long and varying. All have their unique challenges.
Perhaps, none more so than Siberia. In the winter. Grylls went into detail in his book, Never Give Up, the harshness of the environment and its “balmy minus-13” average temperatures.
“If you were to ask me the toughest place I’ve had to survive…” he wrote, “well, that was a world away from the Sahara, in one of the coldest, grimmest locations on Earth. Siberia.
“If you had to pick one place on our planet that is brutally unforgiving in its harsh, cold, desolate conditions, then Siberia in December would definitely be in your top three. Probably top two.”
Grylls’ expedition into the forest was one of the most difficult of his Man vs. Wild experience. The obvious insanity of being in SIBERIA aside, it is just as astounding to understand how hard it is to ever get to these locations. A regular theme of Grylls’ survival is the sheer effort it takes to go somewhere, just to make conditions more difficult.
As he tells it, with regularity, the journey can be just as harsh as the destination. Multiple flights, in planes of decreasing size and increasing issues, send Grylls and his team out into nothingness. Usually a group of 10 make the trip. Camera operators, sound engineers, a guide or two for the crew’s safety, a medic, logistics coordinator, producer, and local ‘fixer’ are all part of the team with Grylls.
They all suffer together.
“I know it’s cold,” Grylls recalled. “I’ve got snot frozen to my nose and it hurts to breath.”
His cameraman on the shoot, Simon Reay, had an answer that could only be uttered from a survivalist.
“Minus forty-three,” he said. “That’s epic.”
The water in Siberia made it worse. If you can imagine. During the shoot, it would simply become ice in a matter of seconds. Grylls, for his part of the shoot, had to endure.
“I am now naked in minus-31 degrees,” he detailed. “(I am) trying to smash through the thin ice at the edges in bare feet, in an effort to reach the main flow – the black, fast-flowing middle section – and eventually across to the far bank.”
If it all sounds like ‘too much’ … you are not alone. Grylls has been part of some of the most insane experiences on television. Looking back on the crazy adventures in Siberia — digging a snow cave, using an animal carcass to sled down a snow face, and drinking yak blood — there should, in theory, be more of a reaction.
For Grylls, it was simple success.
“We didn’t die,” he wrote. “We all delivered on our jobs.”
Bear’s new book Mind Fuel: Simple Ways to Build Mental Resilience Each Day is available now, you can order it at this link.
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