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David K. Hempleman-Adams, LVO, OBE, MED ‘00

David Hempleman-Adams – polar expeditioner, mountaineer, balloonist and pilot – is one of the world’s most accomplished adventurers.

David Hempleman-Adams gained international recognition in 1998 as the first to achieve the “Explorers Grand Slam” – climbing the “Seven Summits” and reaching the magnetic and geographical North and South Poles.

In 2000, Hempleman-Adams flew a balloon across the Atlantic to the North Pole on a 132-hour record-setting flight. The journey was inspired by Swedish explorer Saloman Andrée’s 1897 attempt, which ended tragically when Andrée and companions perished after crash-landing on the ice. In his book At the Mercy of the Winds: Two Remarkable Journeys to the North Pole, David contrasts his own voyage with Andrée’s.

Hempleman-Adams, the author of five books and eight documentaries, was also first to cross the Atlantic in an open-wicker-basket hot-air balloon, on a 2003 flight from Canada to the United Kingdom. In 2008, he and co-pilot Jonathan Mason won the prestigious Gordon Bennett balloon race, the only British team to do so since the race began in 1906. And in 2011, David carried The Explorers Club Flag to Mt. Everest, where he led a scientific team conducting research on human physiology in extreme environments.

Overall, Hempleman-Adams has set 46 FAI world aviation records, completed 30 polar expeditions and earned 80 honors and awards, including the 2004 Explorers Club Medal.

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste