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speaker

Michael
Groom

Facing the mountain.

Profile


Michael 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.

Current work

Michael 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 Sheer Will is an incredible read; his personal presentation, accompanied with impossibly beautiful visuals, is to see the earth the way it was meant to be seen, in its purest and rawest form.

Previous experience

In 1987, descending from the summit of Kangchenjunga, his first of the world's five tallest peaks, 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, never feeling 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.

He 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 at age 40.

Expertise
Feedback
Your story was a rallying call for us to rekindle our spirit and get out there and do what we need or want to do. Feedback from the team was overwhelming and positive. BP Australia Ltd

Michael's down to earth style and delivery had the entire audience enthralled throughout his presentation. His story of high adventure, high drama and endurance is inspirational to us all.

Business Incentives & Conferences

Michael's talk was received with an overwhelming response - you could have heard a pin drop in the room! Many approached Michael during a small break after his speech which was terrific. Michael also made time for all - a truly great Australian.

WestPac Investment and Insurance

An overwhelming amount of people commented on Michael and his incredible story. A true inspiration, an incredibly brave man and a pleasure to meet. Michael was humble in his portrayal of his victory over such devastating set-backs making him even more inspirational. It was a wonderful start to a very successful weekend.

Walton Constructions

’I previously heard Michael speak at the Awards Dinner for the Management Excellence Awards conducted by the Australian Institute of Management on the Sunshine Coast last year. His presentation on that occasion was so outstanding and inspirational that when I was tasked to consider potential keynote speakers for Hayes Knight National Conference I immediately thought of Michael. This is not a decision I regret, as once again he drew the audience into the world of extreme mountaineering, leaving them in awe of his achievements, persistence and drive. He tells his amazing tale in such a down to earth and humble way that those listening are left to wonder at the seemingly insurmountable challenges he has overcome. He is clearly a man who has found true contentment through achieving the long-term goals he had set himself, and is now comfortable to step back from the edge to enjoy the simpler pleasures of life. I would have no hesitation in using Michael’s services again and would commend him to anyone who wants a speaker to inspire and motivate their audience, by taking them on a journey most of us will only dream about.

Hayes Knight Chartered Accountants

I have used Michael Groom previously so I knew exactly what to expect. As in the previous case he was fantastic! He is a wonderful speaker who humbly tells his powerful story touching everyone in the room. He was the highlight of the conference. In our internal evaluation process 78% rated him excellent 16% rated him very good. This result far out shone all other aspects of the conference. I am now in the unenviable position of having to come up with an equally powerful speaker for our next conference. How do you top Michael Groom?

Carlson Hotels Asia Pacific

Michael was an exceptional speaker and presenter - and his presentation was excellent - all clients were in 'awe' last night and said what an inspiring man.

BDS Accountants

’We have had many complementary letters about the quality of your speech at the Horwath Motor Dealer Dinner. Many people were not only moved by your address but felt even though they are facing tough times in the motor industry they had to help themselves as you so ably demonstrated. You are certainly a great roll model for all Australians and I hope as many as possible are able to experience your address over the next few years.

Horwath & Horwath Chartered Accountants

Fantastic presentation. Great use of photography with one hell of a story to tell.

Australian Academy of Sport, Canberra

Michael was fantastic. He stayed back to talk to the guests and was an absolute delight to deal with.

Parkroyal Brisbane

Michael's talk was received with an overwhelming response - you could have heard a pin drop in the room! Many approached Michael during a small break after his speech, which was terrific. Michael also made time for all - a truly great Australian.

Wespac Investment & Insurance

Michael's down to earth style and delivery had the entire audience enthralled throughout his presentation. His story of high adventure, high drama and endurance is inspirational to us all.

Business Incentives and Conferences

Michael is truly inspiring.

Australian Macadamia Society

Michael was inspiring and extremely motivating. An incredible story that would stimulate ALL. An amazing way to kick start our conference.

Foodlands Supermarkets

Without any disagreement, delegates were inspired by Michael's message and totally captivated throughout his presentation.

Sports Coach 2000 Conference

Michael's down to earth style and delivery had the entire audience enthralled throughout his presentation. His story of high adventure, high drama and endurance is inspirational to us all.

Business Incentives and Conferences

We were deeply moved by your courage and determination to achieve your goals. At the same time we were amused and awed by the joys, challenges and at times sadness that surrounded your climbs. For me there were parallels with the difficulties faced by our patients when first diagnosed with cancer, or told the disease has recurred.

QLD Radium Institute

It truly was a great evening and your presence was most certainly the highlight. The feedback has been outstanding and I would be most grateful if you could speak again at one of our Lumley functions.

Lumley General Insurance

’As was the case last time your session blew us away. It certainly showed us what was possible with desire, a plan of action, calculated risk and the support of a team. Inspirational. Many thanks for being so obliging at the end of your session.

Westpac
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