David Breashears is an accomplished filmmaker, explorer, author, mountaineer, and professional speaker. He is also the founder and Executive Director of GlacierWorks, a non-profit organization that uses art, science, and adventure to raise public awareness about the consequences of climate change in the Greater Himalayan Region. Since 1978, he has combined his skills in climbing and filmmaking to complete more than forty film projects.
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.
In the spring of 1996, Breashears co-directed and co-produced the first IMAX film shot on Mount Everest. When the now infamous blizzard of May 10, 1996 hit Mount Everest, killing eight climbers, Expedition Leader 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 provide assistance to the stricken climbers. After returning to Base Camp, 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 record IMAX film images at 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 film, titled EVEREST, premiered in March 1998.
In May of 1997, Breashears performed the first live audio WebCast from the summit of Mount Everest for the PBS science documentary series NOVA. Breashears is the recipient of four National Emmy Awards for achievement in filmmaking.
Breashears best-selling memoir High Exposure: An Enduring Passion for Everest and Unforgiving Places (Simon & Schuster) documents his life as a mountaineer and filmmaker. He co-authored National Geographic's best-selling book Last Climb which documents the disappearance of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine on Mount Everest in 1924. Breashears wrote the afterward and was a contributing photographer for National Geographic's book Everest: Mountain Without Mercy which documents the story of the 1996 Everest IMAX expedition. 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 while shooting his film Storm Over Everest. Equipped with a 35mm motion picture camera, Breashears made his fifth ascent of Everest while leading his handpicked filmmaking team to the summit.
Breashears most recently produced and directed the feature-length documentary Storm Over Everest about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. The film was acquired by NBC Universal and is scheduled for broadcast on the PBS series FRONTLINE on May 13, 2008. The documentary includes dramatic interviews with the survivors of Mount Everest's deadliest storm, and strikingly realistic re-creations of the ferocious storm that killed eight people in May 1996. The film also tells the story of the climbers who perished in that storm, marking the worst climbing tragedy in Mount Everest's history.
Breashears is an accomplished, highly sought-after professional speaker who has delivered his presentations throughout North America, Canada, Europe, and Asia. His lectures are closely tied to his ascent of Mount Everest in 1996 as expedition leader and co-director of the IMAX film team. He conducts quarterly lectures each year 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. He also speaks about "Leadership in an Unpredictable World" six times annually to groups of Admirals and Commanders at the Naval Post-Graduate School's Center for Executive Education in Monterey, California.