Top 10 Adventures Too Extreme For Bear Grylls
Bear Grylls of Man vs. Wild fame has lived an intense life. He was a member of the British SAS, has adventured all over the world, and has walked away from things that would kill an average person. There aren’t many things Grylls won’t do, but everyone has a limit — even him.
These ten adventures are those Grylls hasn’t done, and they may even be too extreme for him… or he hasn’t gotten to them yet. Either way, these adventures are some of the most extreme you can go on if you think you’re anywhere near Grylls’ level of intense adventuring.
10 Volcano Boarding Down Cerro Negro
If you’re not familiar with “volcano surfing,” and think it has something to do with surfing a lava flow, you’re not too far off. Granted, the lava you’ll be surfing on the Cerro Negro just outside Leon, Nicaragua, has cooled considerably since it first erupted from the mountain.
That said, Cerro Negro is an active volcano, as it’s relatively new, having formed a little more than 160 years ago. The cone of the volcano is comprised of small grains of volcanic rock, and somebody figured out that it wasn’t only possible to surf down, it’s also a hell of a lot of fun!
This is one of those adventures that’s not prohibitively dangerous, though it isn’t without risk. To partake of the volcano’s thrills, you need to strap a wooden board to your back and hike 728 meters (2,388 feet) up the black, rocky mountain. It takes about 45 minutes, but once you reach the top, you get to surf down.
Depending on your level of skill (or insanity), you can either sit or stand atop the board as you head down. You have to wear a one-piece suit for crash protection, and you’ll be happy you have it if you fall. Volcanic rock is incredibly sharp, and falling could mean shredding your skin.
9 The Running Of The Bulls
This particular adventure is one that most people have heard of before, as it’s quite well-known worldwide. Every year, the city of Pamplona, Spain, features the highly publicized running of the Bulls as part of the San Fermín festival, which is held annually from 6-14 July. A run is conducted first on the 7th and then continues each day of the festival at 8:00 am.
The running of the bulls has been publicly broadcast for more than 30 years, and that has resulted in all manner of tourists and locals coming to the city to participate in the event. To do so, you have to be at least 18-years-old, run in the direction of the bulls, not antagonize the animals, and not be under the influence of alcohol.
Participants don’t so much run with the bulls as they run from them, and it’s fairly dangerous. There are six bulls used in each run and two oxen groups, which amounts to several tons of freaked-out animals running like crazy at speeds reaching 24 kph (15 mph).
There are often injuries, and rarely, people are killed, though only 15 deaths have been recorded since record-keeping began in 1910. Participants are more likely to be injured by bumping into one another, or if a pileup occurs, which can result in high numbers of trampling injuries.
8 Wing Walking
Bear Grylls has shown the world that despite his fear of heights, he’s more than willing to jump out of just about anything that flies. Still, he hasn’t done one of the most dangerous extreme sports available to a willing few. Wing walking is pretty much what it sounds like, and it’s not only dangerous, it’s difficult.
To wing walk, you’ll need a couple of things. First, you’ll need some training, and secondly, you’ll need a plane suitable for the endeavor. A jet isn’t going to work due to their speeds, so you’ll want to find a good old fashioned prop plane, and “old fashioned” is key.
Wing walkers typically use biplanes for their aerial acrobatics, which is what performers first used a century ago for daredevil shows. Wing walking is often more than merely strapping one’s feet to the wings of a plane. Many performers have demonstrated an ability to hang on during various aerial maneuvers.
Some have even crossed from one plane to another, though it’s not without risk. In 2018, Canadian rapper Jon “Jon James” McMurray died during a wing walk, which he was doing for a music video. Typically, wing walking is left to professionals. Still, an average person can give it a shot — they’ll just need to attend training at places like the Mason Wing Walking Academy in Sequim, Washington.
7 Shark-Diving Around Guadalupe Island Without A Cage
If you’ve seen Jaws, you probably have a fear of sharks, and while it’s rational to give these large fish space, the truth of Great White sharks is that they don’t like eating people. Unfortunately, they like to test bite things they don’t recognize, which could be incredibly dangerous for a diver.
Despite this, people cage-dive among sharks all the time, and because they have the protection of the cage, it’s far less dangerous than it looks. That’s fine for most people, but believe it or not, some divers prefer to chuck the cage and dive right in, though it’s incredibly rare.
It used to be more common, but Mexico rarely grants permits for people to swim its waters without a cage. Still, specialized shark diving permits are granted, so if you can meet the nation’s stringent requirements, you can share the water with a Great White shark, sans the cage.
Because there are far more interesting things for the sharks to eat than a diver, the risk is far less than most people think. Still, it is a risk, and shouldn’t be attempted without knowing what you’re getting yourself into, and at the end of the day, it’s always best to use a cage.
6 Kayak Across The English Channel
The English Channel is between 240 km (150 mi) and 34 km (21 mi) wide, and like any stretch of dangerous water, it’s one people have been crossing in various ways for centuries. The waters are often frigid, and the Channel is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, which makes kayaking across dangerous.
It’s not the same as kayaking a dangerous river filled with rapids because it’s on open water. It’s best to charter support craft and guides to ensure you get to where you’re going safely. (LINK AAA) Making a crossing can take around six hours, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
Still, it’s possible to go on this particular adventure without being an expert kayaker. Training on the small craft for only a few months may be enough to ensure you get from the United Kingdom to the European mainland in one piece.
While it’s possible to make the crossing with minimal training, it would be wise to train for as much as a year before taking the trip. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could attempt this without a support craft nearby, but it’s not recommended.
5 Ice Climbing Wolverine At Helmcken Falls
Bear Grylls is no stranger to dangerous climbs, and throughout his long adventurous career, he’s tackled some of the world’s most difficult mountains. There’s one climb he has yet to attempt, and it’s one that’s considered the most dangerous ice climb on the planet: Helmcken Falls.
Helmcken Falls is a gorgeous waterfall that sits along the Murtle River within Wells Gray Provincial Park in British Colombia, Canada. The falls measure 141 meters (463 feet), making them the fourth-highest in Canada. It’s a beautiful sight during the summer months, but once it gets cold, the whole thing freezes into a jagged and perilous series of sharp icicles.
It is possible to climb the falls, though it shouldn’t be attempted by anyone who isn’t an expert climber. When the falls freeze, they create an ice cone extending as high as 50 meters, so climbing them requires going up the cave the falls extend over, and it’s incredibly steep.
The most dangerous climb is called Wolverine, and it’s been rated a WI 11, which is the highest rating on the WI numeric scale. Wolverine is the only known climb to feature this rating, which involves steep climbing through aerated spray ice. The designation was given by Klemen Premrl and Tim Emmett after becoming the first to accomplish the feat in February 2012.
4 Free Solo Climbing El Capitan
When a person goes rock climbing, they have a ton of gear, and depending on their level of expertise, that gear could mean the difference between life and death. For those climbers far more experienced than most, another option called “free solo climbing” is something they can do, but it’s not for novices.
Free-solo climbing means climbing all on your own without any rope, harnesses, or protective equipment. Essentially, it’s about the closest a person can get to becoming Spider-Man in real life, and there are an intrepid few who do it regularly.
The most dangerous rock to climb in this manner is arguably El Capitan, found in Yosemite National Park. The granite cliff is nearly 3,000 feet high, and it’s almost entirely vertical. If that sounds impossible, it’s actually been done before… by one person.
In 2017, Alex Honnold managed the climb without any ropes or safety gear. He began climbing at 5:32 am and made it to the top just under four hours later. While it’s certainly possible to attempt such a climb yourself, it isn’t recommended unless you’re at Honnold’s level.
3 Cave Diving The Blue Hole
Diving is a relatively safe activity, so long as you have the proper training. When it comes to cave diving — that’s an entirely different activity, and it’s one of the most dangerous things a person can do. While diving any cave is potentially deadly, the most hazardous underwater cave is “The Blue Hole,” which is found north of Dahab, Egypt, in the Red Sea.
There are many so-called “Blue Holes” around the world, but only one people call The Blue Hole. It is a submarine sinkhole that is 100 meters (328 feet) deep with a shallow opening to the sea, known as the saddle. It has a 26 meter (85 feet) tunnel called “the Arch,” and the area has an abundance of coral and fish.
The Blue Hole attracts freedivers and cave divers from all over, but it’s widely known to be the deadliest dive spot anywhere on Earth. Estimates of fatalities have reached as high as 200+ divers.
People have found the bodies of divers in the Blue Hole’s depths, and there are memorial stones scattered about, marking their passing. The Blue Hole is navigable, and plenty of people survive diving it every year. Still, experienced divers have succumbed to its depths, so enter with caution.11
2 BASE Jumping Mount Everest
This adventure requires an excessive amount of training to do, seeing as it starts with climbing Mount Everest. Grylls famously climbed to the summit at the age of 23, but he didn’t take a flying leap off while wearing a wingsuit.
The feat seems impossible, but it’s actually been done once before. Valery Rozov was a famous Russian BASE jumper, and his biggest claim to fame (of many) was a successful BASE jump from the Changtse (northern peak of Mount Everest) using a specially-designed Red Bull wingsuit.
Rozov managed to jump from a height of 7,220 meters (23,690 feet), which was a record at the time. He glided down to the Rongbuk glacier more than 1,000 meters below, reaching speeds up to 125 mph on the trip.
It is possible to do what Rozov did. Still, it requires several things: you’ll need to use a similar wingsuit, you’ll need to train and hike the summit of Mt. Everest, and depending on where you do it, you may need permission from the Chinese government so you don’t violate their airspace.
1 Solo Cross Antarctica
One of the most dangerous expeditions a person could ever undertake is a crossing of Antarctica. The frozen continent has long been a goal of many an explorer, and it wasn’t until 1911 that an expedition made it to the South Pole. That’s something Grylls has done but crossing the continent… that’s something altogether much more dangerous.
Crossing the continent with a team has been done to death — literally, on many occasions — but doing it solo wasn’t accomplished until 2018. Colin O’Brady and Louis Rudd started on the same day, but took slightly different routes, and managed to cross the continent unsupported and unassisted while dragging a 300 lb. sled behind them.
To do this, they had to make it across without resupplies or supply drops, and they had to make the trek entirely on their own. Their expeditions began at the end of the Ronne Ice Shelf on November 3rd. Both men passed through the South Pole Research Station to complete their trek on 26 and 28 December.
Antarctica is open and ready for anyone willing to make the journey, so it’s possible to attempt a crossing. Doing so requires quite a bit of training, supplies, money, and conditioning, but it is possible.