Michael Groom is unquestionably one of the world's greatest 'big' mountain climbers. In 1999 he successfully climbed Makalu, the smallest and for Michael, the last of the 'big five' - the five highest mountains in the world. Makalu, Lhotse, Kangchenjunga, K2 and Everest - Michael climbed them all without the assistance of bottled oxygen, and all but Kangchenjunga he climbed without the front third of both feet.

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.

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.

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. He was 40 years old.

Michael, now retired from his climbing days, is one of Australia's most sought after keynote speakers. He motivates 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.  

Testimonials

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

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

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 Accountant

The feedback from your presentation has been outstanding and proved to be one of the highlights of the conference. Your talk was inspirational to many and everyone enjoyed and appreciated the opportunity to speak with you later.
- Managing Director Toys "R" Us

I first heard Michael speak when he mesmerised the 2000 Australian Olympic Swim Team. That was truly one of the most memorable and inspirational nights of my life. I have now watched Michael keep a large group young 2012 Olympic Swim team hopefuls, spellbound for his entire presentation, leaving them inspired and believing they can turn a dream into a reality, by overcoming hardship and difficulty. Michael's talk was a perfect way to begin the next four years hard work and dedication as they head towards London 2012. I would not hesitate in recommending Michael to any prospective audience.
- Scott Volkers Head Coach Swimming, Queensland Academy of Sport

Michael Groom spoke at the BDS Logan City Sports Awards on Wednesday 22nd October 2008. Michael's speech was truly inspirational and shows how sheer will and determination to pursue one's dream can be achieved. You could have heard a pin drop in the 400+ audience and the standing ovation was well deserved for his remarkable achievements in conquering the highest mountains in the world and surviving numerous ordeals. Thanks again for your inspirational speech
- Logan City Council

Michael's achievements are nothing short of inspirational. His delivery captured every member of the 2008 Australian Swimming Team from the first sentence until the last word. I think everyone in the room will remember Michael for a very long time.
- National Head Coach Swimming Australia

I first heard Michael speak when he mesmerised the 2000 Australian 2000 Olympic Swim Team. That was one of the most memorable and inspirational nights of my life. I have now watched Michael keep a large group of young 2010 Olympic Swim Team hopefuls spellbound for his entire presentation, leaving them inspired and believing they also can turn a dream into a reality, by overcoming hardship and difficulty. Michael's talk was a perfect way to begin the next four years of hard work and dedication as they head towards London 2012. I would not hesitate in recommending Michael to any prospective audience.
- Head Coach Swimming, QLD Academy of Sport

Michael Groom spoke at the BDS Logan City Sports Awards on Wednesday 22nd October 2008. Michael's speech was truly inspirational and shows how sheer will and determination to pursue one's dream can be achieved. You could have heard a pin drop in the 400+ audience and the standing ovation was well deserved for his remarkable achievements in conquering the highest mountains in the world and surviving numerous ordeals. Thanks again for your inspirational speech.
- Business Development Officer, Logan City Council

Michael Groom speaker

Speaker Video

Other speakers you might like:

Li Cunxin

Li's story is one of determination, passion, integrity and love. His journey filled with dreams shattered and revitalized. It is an empowering tale with so many lessons.

Tim Jarvis AM

Tim Jarvis AM is an environmental scientist, author, adventurer and public speaker with Masters degrees in environmental science and environmental law. He is committed to finding pragmatic solutions to major environmental issues related to climate change and biodiversity loss. He uses his public speaking engagements, films and books about his expeditions/work to progress thinking in these areas.

Cate Campbell

Cate’s dominance in the pool began at a young age, rising through the ranks to win two gold medals as a 13 year-old at the Australian Age Championships to put herself squarely on the national team radar as one to watch. By the age of 16, she had broken the Australian & Commonwealth 50m Freestyle records and earned selection at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where she displayed remarkable maturity and poise on the biggest stage in world sport to win Bronze medals in the 50m Freestyle and 4 x 100m Freestyle events.

Ariarne Titmus

Ariarne Titmus has quickly become the star of the Australian sporting landscape off the back of her dual gold medal winning efforts in the 200m & 400m freestyle events at the Tokyo Olympics, defeating five-time Olympic champion and all-time great Katie Ledecky. The 400m freestyle battle between Titmus and Ledecky in Tokyo has been reported the as one of the greatest Olympic races & rivalries of all time, with U.S broadcaster NBC reporting an average TV audience of 16.2million viewers, firmly placing Ariarne’s profile on the international stage. Outside of the pool Ariarne has all the attributes we love in our champions – she is ambitious yet humble, passionate yet measured, with a maturity beyond her years. She is an articulate and insightful speaker & relishes in her responsibility as a role model to future generations. Ariarne is passionate about her cooking and recipe development, health & wellness, and has studied exercise & sports science at QUT before deferring her studies to focus on swimming. Ariarne is available for Q&A sessions Australia-wide.

Dean Boxall

Dean Boxall is the head coach at the revered swim program at St Peters Western and responsible for the exhilarating performances of Ariarne Titmus at Tokyo 2020 and her rise to the top of the swimming ranks.
Back to Top /**/