Groom grew up in the wild Australian mountains, in a family of mountain
climbers. During his very first abseil, at the tender age of 10,
his dad talked him over the edge of a 100 metre cliff. Somehow,
he got to the bottom, but had experienced a life threatening fear
that he would carry with him for the rest of his life. The fear
that Michael will tell you has saved him many times, when others
have died. In the Himalayas, fear and respect are comfortable bedfellows.
The big mountains demand your respect, and respect your fear.
In 1987, descending from the summit of Kangchenjunga, his first
big five mountain, he suffered crippling frostbite and later had
the front of both feet amputated. He was advised to get a desk job,
and that his climbing days were definitely over. He succumbed to
the incessant pain and sought refuge in painkillers. He became addicted.
For two years Michael withdrew from the world and became yet another
'victim' of the wrath of the big mountains.
Sitting alone in his little workers cottage, completely lost and
numbed by pain killers and daytime TV, he never felt further from
his dream - to climb Mt Everest. But Michael is not a quitter, and
after enough time feeling sorry for himself and believing others
about his condition, he decided that he would fulfil that dream.
Slowly, ever so slowly, he trained himself to walk again. Then to
run. A year later he was cycling and ready to start climbing again.
First, small rock cliffs in his hometown of Brisbane, Australia,
then back to where he belonged, in the big Himalayan mountains.
climbed Cho Oyu in 1990. In autumn 1991, an avalanche swept him
900 metres down the Lhotse face of Everest and once again, miraculously,
he survived. In 1993, Michael returned to the Himalayas in peak
fitness and climbed Everest, then in 1994, K2. In 1995, the unknown
Brisbane plumber climbed Lhotse, becoming the fourth person in the
world to climb the world's four highest mountains. More men had
walked on the moon!
In 1996 Michael was one of the few famous big mountain climbers
to survive yet another Mt Everest 'disaster'. Of the six climbers
from his team who reached the summit, only he and American Jon Krakauer,
author of 'Into Thin Air', survived. On the descent, in cruel and
violent conditions, he stumbled across another American, Beck Weathers,
who was now totally blind. Placing his own life in extreme danger,
Michael tethered Beck to his harness and guided and lowered him
down some of the most dangerous sections of the mountain. The storm
killed half the team. Beck survived, but with crippling injuries
to his hands and face. Michael returned home, shattered and disillusioned.
It would be three years before the big mountains lured him back,
and he at last summited the last of the big five, Makalu, in 1999.
He was 40 years old.
History - Michael Groom - The Official Website
still lives in Brisbane, with his wife Judi and son Harry. He is
one of Australia’s most sought after keynote speakers. He
has spoken to soldiers going off to war, athletes struggling to
come back from serious injury, professional people keen to get a
little closer to the truth of 'no pain, no gain', and ordinary folk
who just love to sit and listen to one of Australia’s most
amazing human endeavour stories. Michael Groom’s autobiography
Will' is a can't-put-down read, his personal presentation, accompanied
with impossibly beautiful visuals, is to see the earth in its purest
and rawest form - the way the earth was meant to be.