David Breashears

Accomplished Filmmaker, Explorer, Author

David Breashears Speaking Profile:

David Breashears is an accomplished filmmaker, adventurer, author, mountaineer, and professional speaker. Since 1978, he has combined his skills in climbing and filmmaking to complete more than forty film projects. In May of 1997, Breashears performed the first live audio Webcast from the summit of Mount Everest for the PBS science documentary series NOVA. In 1983, Breashears transmitted the first live television pictures from the summit of Mount Everest, and in 1985 became the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest twice. Breashears is the recipient of four National Emmy Awards for achievement in filmmaking.

A sampling of his film credits include: Producer of Universal Pictures/Working Title Films feature film Everest currently in post production; Producer and Director of NBC Universal’s critically acclaimed feature length documentary Storm Over Everest about the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy (broadcasted on PBS’ FRONTLINE in spring 2008); Producer, Director and Director of Photography for the IMAX film Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa (2001); Co-producer, Co-Director and Director of Photography for Everest: The Death Zone (1997); Director of Photography for Seven Years In Tibet (1996); Co-Producer, Co-Director, Director of Photography, and Expedition Leader for the IMAX film EVEREST (1996); Director of Photography and Field Producer for Mystery of the Inca Mummy (1995), a National Geographic Explorer film shot in Peru; Director of Photography and Co-Producer of Red Flag Over Tibet (1994), a FRONTLINE, WGBH-TV program shot in Tibet, India and Nepal; and Cliffhanger (1993), a feature film starring Sylvester Stallone, fo rwhich he was a cameraman, climbing consultant and advisor.

In the spring of 1996, Breashears co-directed and photographed the first ever IMAX film shot on Mount Everest. When the now infamous blizzard of May 10, 1996 hit Mount Everest, killing eight climbers, Breashears and his team were in the midst of making this historic film. In the tragedy that soon followed, Breashears and his team stopped filming to assists everal of the stranded climbers to safety. He and his expedition members were later recognized for their courageous efforts. Breashears and his team then regrouped and reached the summit of the mountain on May 23, 1996, achieving their goal of becoming the first to attain IMAX film images from Earth’s highest point. Breashears has said that if there is a lesson to be learned from the May 1996 tragedy, it is that for him, success that year was not to be found in reaching the summit, it was that everyone on his team returned safely. The IMAX film, titled EVEREST, premiered in March 1998 and to date has been seen by more than 150 million people in 38 countries throughout the world and is the highest grossing IMAX documentary film of all time.

Breashears is the author or co-author of three best-selling books: Last Climb (National Geographic Books), Everest: Mountain Without Mercy (National Geographic Books), and his memoir High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places (Simon& Schuster). His IMAX film, Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa, is the subject of a National Geographic book of the same title.

In the spring of 2004, Breashears reached the summit of Mount Everest for the fifth time.

Equipped with a 35mm motion picture camera, Breashears made his fifth ascent of Everest while leading his handpicked team to the summit. A documentary of Breashears’ ascent, and the extreme challenges of high-altitude filmmaking, was recorded by team members using digital video cameras.

B I O

Breashears produced and directed the feature length documentary Storm Over Everest about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. The film was acquired by NBC Universal and made its broadcast premiere on PBS’ FRONTLINE in spring 2008. The documentary includes dramatic interviews with the survivors of Mount Everest’s deadliest storm, and re-creations of the fast moving blizzard that killed eight people in May 1996. This film tells the story of the climbers who perished in that storm, marking the worst climbing tragedy in Mount Everest's history. But more remarkably, it is the story of eleven enduring climbers caught in the storm and the eyewitness accounts of their astonishing survival in the world's most unforgiving environment.

Breashears is an accomplished, highly sought-after professional speaker. His lectures are closely tied to his ascent of Mount Everest in 1996 as Leader and Director of the IMAX film team. Breashears’ presentation is a spellbinding blend of first person story telling illustrated by breathtaking and rarely seen images from the 1996 Everest IMAX filming expedition. By popular demand, he has delivered his presentation throughout North America, Canada, Europe and Asia. David's extraordinary real-life experiences, observations, practical knowledge, and expertise in many areas allow him to precisely target and interact with the audience he is presenting to. He speaks on a range of topics including leadership, motivation, teamwork, team building, safety, and more.

In addition to his corporate speaking engagements, David is an appointed faculty member at the United States’ Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Executive Education (CEE) in Monterey, California where he lectures “Leadership in Crisis” repeatedly on an annual basis to the nations Admirals and Commanders. These lectures are closely tied to his ascent of Mount Everest in 1996 as Leader and Director of the IMAX film team. David is consistently rated one of the top speakers at all CEE programs.

David is also the founder, Executive Director and Principal Photographer of the non-profit organization, GlacierWorks, Inc.

His work’s mission is to inspire mitigation and adaptation around the globe through the power of his still and video imagery documenting the disruption of a reliable flow of water from Asia’s glacier systems. The disturbances documented by David’s photography are the result of the environmental warming trend and its direct impact on melting glaciers. David’s work has been the primary focus at a series of exhibitions around the world, including major showcases at the Asia Society, New York; Royal Geographical Society, London; Three Shadows Art Photography Centre, Beijing; The MIT Museum, Boston; Nepal Art Council, Kathmandu; and the world's highest photography exhibit ever at Mount Everest Base Camp 17,600 feet. David’s passion for traveling and climbing throughout the mountains of High Asia brings to GlacierWorks’ the same curiosity and sense of adventure that has helped him become one of the world’s greatest high-altitude filmmakers.

To book David Breashears call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

See Below for Full Bio

  • Speaking Topics:

    Celebrity, Inspiration, Leadership, Motivation, Overcoming Adversity, Peak Performance, Sports

  • Travels From:

    Massachusetts

  • Price:

    $15,000 - $20,000

    Notes on Fees

  • Videos
  • Full Bio
  • Speech Topics
  • Books
  • Testimonials
  • News

Part 2: David Breashears Chats With Jim Clash About Everest

Storm over Everest (1996)

David Breashears

David Breashears Speaking Profile:

David Breashears is an accomplished filmmaker, adventurer, author, mountaineer, and professional speaker. Since 1978, he has combined his skills in climbing and filmmaking to complete more than forty film projects. In May of 1997, Breashears performed the first live audio Webcast from the summit of Mount Everest for the PBS science documentary series NOVA. In 1983, Breashears transmitted the first live television pictures from the summit of Mount Everest, and in 1985 became the first American to reach the summit of Mount Everest twice. Breashears is the recipient of four National Emmy Awards for achievement in filmmaking.

A sampling of his film credits include: Producer of Universal Pictures/Working Title Films feature film Everest currently in post production; Producer and Director of NBC Universal’s critically acclaimed feature length documentary Storm Over Everest about the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy (broadcasted on PBS’ FRONTLINE in spring 2008); Producer, Director and Director of Photography for the IMAX film Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa (2001); Co-producer, Co-Director and Director of Photography for Everest: The Death Zone (1997); Director of Photography for Seven Years In Tibet (1996); Co-Producer, Co-Director, Director of Photography, and Expedition Leader for the IMAX film EVEREST (1996); Director of Photography and Field Producer for Mystery of the Inca Mummy (1995), a National Geographic Explorer film shot in Peru; Director of Photography and Co-Producer of Red Flag Over Tibet (1994), a FRONTLINE, WGBH-TV program shot in Tibet, India and Nepal; and Cliffhanger (1993), a feature film starring Sylvester Stallone, fo rwhich he was a cameraman, climbing consultant and advisor.

In the spring of 1996, Breashears co-directed and photographed the first ever IMAX film shot on Mount Everest. When the now infamous blizzard of May 10, 1996 hit Mount Everest, killing eight climbers, Breashears and his team were in the midst of making this historic film. In the tragedy that soon followed, Breashears and his team stopped filming to assists everal of the stranded climbers to safety. He and his expedition members were later recognized for their courageous efforts. Breashears and his team then regrouped and reached the summit of the mountain on May 23, 1996, achieving their goal of becoming the first to attain IMAX film images from Earth’s highest point. Breashears has said that if there is a lesson to be learned from the May 1996 tragedy, it is that for him, success that year was not to be found in reaching the summit, it was that everyone on his team returned safely. The IMAX film, titled EVEREST, premiered in March 1998 and to date has been seen by more than 150 million people in 38 countries throughout the world and is the highest grossing IMAX documentary film of all time.

Breashears is the author or co-author of three best-selling books: Last Climb (National Geographic Books), Everest: Mountain Without Mercy (National Geographic Books), and his memoir High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places (Simon& Schuster). His IMAX film, Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa, is the subject of a National Geographic book of the same title.

In the spring of 2004, Breashears reached the summit of Mount Everest for the fifth time.

Equipped with a 35mm motion picture camera, Breashears made his fifth ascent of Everest while leading his handpicked team to the summit. A documentary of Breashears’ ascent, and the extreme challenges of high-altitude filmmaking, was recorded by team members using digital video cameras.

B I O

Breashears produced and directed the feature length documentary Storm Over Everest about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. The film was acquired by NBC Universal and made its broadcast premiere on PBS’ FRONTLINE in spring 2008. The documentary includes dramatic interviews with the survivors of Mount Everest’s deadliest storm, and re-creations of the fast moving blizzard that killed eight people in May 1996. This film tells the story of the climbers who perished in that storm, marking the worst climbing tragedy in Mount Everest's history. But more remarkably, it is the story of eleven enduring climbers caught in the storm and the eyewitness accounts of their astonishing survival in the world's most unforgiving environment.

Breashears is an accomplished, highly sought-after professional speaker. His lectures are closely tied to his ascent of Mount Everest in 1996 as Leader and Director of the IMAX film team. Breashears’ presentation is a spellbinding blend of first person story telling illustrated by breathtaking and rarely seen images from the 1996 Everest IMAX filming expedition. By popular demand, he has delivered his presentation throughout North America, Canada, Europe and Asia. David's extraordinary real-life experiences, observations, practical knowledge, and expertise in many areas allow him to precisely target and interact with the audience he is presenting to. He speaks on a range of topics including leadership, motivation, teamwork, team building, safety, and more.

In addition to his corporate speaking engagements, David is an appointed faculty member at the United States’ Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Executive Education (CEE) in Monterey, California where he lectures “Leadership in Crisis” repeatedly on an annual basis to the nations Admirals and Commanders. These lectures are closely tied to his ascent of Mount Everest in 1996 as Leader and Director of the IMAX film team. David is consistently rated one of the top speakers at all CEE programs.

David is also the founder, Executive Director and Principal Photographer of the non-profit organization, GlacierWorks, Inc.

His work’s mission is to inspire mitigation and adaptation around the globe through the power of his still and video imagery documenting the disruption of a reliable flow of water from Asia’s glacier systems. The disturbances documented by David’s photography are the result of the environmental warming trend and its direct impact on melting glaciers. David’s work has been the primary focus at a series of exhibitions around the world, including major showcases at the Asia Society, New York; Royal Geographical Society, London; Three Shadows Art Photography Centre, Beijing; The MIT Museum, Boston; Nepal Art Council, Kathmandu; and the world's highest photography exhibit ever at Mount Everest Base Camp 17,600 feet. David’s passion for traveling and climbing throughout the mountains of High Asia brings to GlacierWorks’ the same curiosity and sense of adventure that has helped him become one of the world’s greatest high-altitude filmmakers.

To book David Breashears call Executive Speakers Bureau at 901-754-9404.

David Breashears' presentation is a compelling blend of first person story telling illustrated by breathtaking and rarely seen images from the 1996 Everest IMAX filming expedition. By popular demand, he has delivered his presentation throughout North America, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

David's extraordinary real-life experiences, observations, practical knowledge, and expertise in many areas allow him to precisely target and interact with the audience he is presenting to. He speaks on a range of topics including leadership, motivation, teamwork, team building, safety, and more.

In addition to David's corporate speaking engagements, he has conducted quarterly lectures on leadership, planning and team building at the Advanced Management Program at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France; widely recognized among the world's top-tier business schools as the most innovative and influential. David also lectures repeatedly throughout the year to the nations Admirals and Commanders at the U.S. Naval Post-Graduate School's Center for Executive Education in Monterey, California and Washington, DC where he is an appointed faculty member. David is consistently rated one of the top speakers at both programs.

In the spring of 1996, Breashears and his team found themselves engaged in what many considered an impossible endeavor: to film an ascent of Earth's highest peak, Mount Everest, in the world's largest film format, IMAX. To ensure a safe and successful expedition, Breashears handpicked a veteran team of high-altitude Himalayan mountaineers and filmmakers. In the months before departing, Breashears and his team carefully planned every aspect of the expedition including the monumental logistics associated with the 70mm, forty-two pound IMAX camera. Despite the depth and soundness of Breashears' plan and the unrivaled strength of his team, he found himself at Camp III at 24,500 feet on May 7, 1996 pondering an important decision. Above him were jet stream winds and uncertain weather conditions; below him, sixty-five climbers were ascending the fixed ropes to Camp III, many of them with strength and experience unknown to Breashears.

After meeting with key team members, Breashears made the decision to descend. To him, it was obvious that safety and success were not to be found in a headlong push to the summit, but rather in the wisdom of knowing to turn around in the face of a rapidly changing situation and unfavorable weather conditions. Over the next two days, four teams climbed Everest's overcrowded slopes to its summit, in high winds. Suddenly and without warning, the now infamous blizzard of May 10, 1996 hit Mount Everest, killing eight climbers. Breashears and his team, in the midst of making their historical film, immediately ceased all filming activities and climbed back up to 25,500 feet where they courageously assisted the exhausted and wind-battered survivors of the storm. Breashears' team also selflessly volunteered their precious and irreplaceable supply of bottled oxygen that had been carried with great effort by the Sherpa team to the high camp at 26,000 feet.

These efforts were not only physically debilitating and a tremendous blow to his team's resources; they also took a terrible emotional toll. And yet in the aftermath of this tremendous setback, Breashears rallied his team and kept them focused on their grand objective. Twelve days later, Breashears and his nine-member team of climbers, Sherpa, and filmmakers reached the summit of Mount Everest at 9:00a.m., becoming the first to film with an IMAX camera at the top of the world. Three days later, Breashears and his entire team returned safely to Base Camp at 17,600 feet having suffered no injuries during the seventy-two day expedition. The Everest IMAX film went on to become the highest grossing IMAX film in history.

President, Family Firm Institute

“Thank you so much for your stimulating keynote presentation at the Family Firm Institute’s annual conference. We were delighted with both the content and the style and were extremely pleased that you took time for questions.”

Vice President of Marketing, John Hancock Annuities

"I would wholeheartedly recommend David to anyone seeking a dynamic, inspiring presentation illustrating the possibilities of what can be achieved through hard work, teamwork, and consummate professionalism."

INSEAD’s Advanced Management Programme Participants’ Feedback Results

"Brilliant. [INSEAD] needs more such motivational talks. Very interesting, fantastic asset for the programme. Thanks for bringing David and his story to us. Meeting David and hearing his story first hand was a great experience and it all tied in well with the session.”

Global Marketing Communications Manager, Solutia / CPFilms

"Our conference was a great success….the dealers said it was the best ever. Thanks so much for recommending David. His work aligns very nicely with our mission and we hope to work with him again.”
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