Speaker: Extreme Adventurist Will Gadd talks about his experiences on achieving the “impossible”

Anthony Vasquez, Editor-in-Chief

Adventurist Will Gadd climbing up the Thomas Campell rock at BC. (Anthony Vasquez)

In continuation of BC’s Distinguished Speaker series for the spring 2023 semester, adventurist athlete Will Gadd spoke last Thursday, Mar. 23, at the fireside room about his experiences in leading extreme expeditions across the world. His presentation also focused on encouraging the audience to explore the impossible, with an emphasis on maintaining safety as a priority. 

Gadd presented his life experiences with a presentation that consisted of images and videos of his adventures. He began with an idea that showed him and his family hiking along a forest in the wintertime. Gadd explained that he had grown up in an “environment of adventure.” He expressed that he was born into a life of wilderness and even mentioned that there had been a time in his life when his mother fought off a bear and that the experience felt “completely normal” for him at that time. 

An early photo of Will Gadd’s childhood when he lived in the forests with his family. (Anthony Vasquez)

Gadd moved on further into his piece by talking about the early adventures of his career. He explained that during the start of his sponsorship with RedBull, he went on an expedition of climbing up some icebergs off the coast of Labrador. While climbing the icebergs, he told the audience that he first assumed that climbing ice was a more straightforward process than climbing up mountains, but as soon as he reached the icebergs he realized he was wrong. “Doing this was a bad idea, melting on the top, melting on the bottom[referring to the icebergs].”

His realization of the dangers of climbing the icebergs allowed him to acknowledge his safety. He told the audience that it had ended up being too much of a risk and that he had to turn away from the expedition in the end. Gadd also expressed that since he chose to turn away from the expedition, he also had to contact the Red Bull company and explain to them what had occurred. 

He told the audience that when he had done so, he was afraid that the sponsorship would become angry with him, but instead to his surprise, the company ended up backing him up with his decision by advising him that Gadd’s safety was their priority and that they could just sell more RedBulls to allocate their lost investment to the project. 

Gadd moved on with his presentation by telling the audience about one of his recent expeditions he has also been the most recognized for, climbing the Niagra Falls frozen waterfall. While the expedition alone had been difficult, he mentioned that the process for him to have the approval to do it was also difficult to achieve. 

He told the audience that he first had to find a way to speak with the New York City Mayor of the time, and when he had done so he was able to successfully convince them by expressing that if he were to show the world how beautiful Niagra Falls was during the winter, it would result in an increase in tourist rates during the winter season, which had previously been known to be extremely low. 

Gadd moved forward with his expedition plans by working alongside the Niagra Falls police. He told the audience that based on his previous experiences in working with a team, he knew that his priority in the expedition would be to make sure everyone would successfully get through the journey as he stated, “everyone goes up, and only one goes down.”

Once Gad was able to successfully climb up the frozen Niagra Falls waterfall, he was honored by being provided the keys to the city of New York by the mayor. Gadd also mentioned to the audience that tourist rates had also gone up after his adventure, as it had been covered by several news sources in the world.