Ben Webster is one of the world's most accomplished expedition leaders. In a career spanning over 25 years of high adventure, he has led over 30 major adventure expeditions on five of the world's continents. He is also an acclaimed television producer, documentary filmmaker, and photojournalist. Over the years, Ben has built an enviable reputation for himself. He is a storyteller par excellence who has been able to couple superior leadership abilities with elite technical outdoor skills. He is able to create, execute, and manifest an idea into reality.
Among his notable undertakings, Ben has led five successful and major multimedia expeditions on Mount Everest where he has not only reached the summit but also produced the first live broadband television broadcast from the mountain back to North American networks. During his Everest campaigns, Ben has shot and produced for networks around the world including ABC, RDS, Discovery Channel, CTV, and RDI in France. In 2003 and 2004, he mounted the Discovery Channel Expedition to Mount Everest with the purpose of producing the most ambitious documentary ever shot in the Himalaya. This critically acclaimed six-part mini-series is titled Everest: Ultimate Survival.
Ben also spent four years as an adventure consultant for the Indian government. During that time, he led many first descents down Himalayan rivers and a variety of outdoor adventure expeditions including diving expeditions, mountain climbs and safaris. As an international kayak instructor, river, and mountain guide, Ben spent a decade travelling down rivers and climbing mountains throughout Canada, the United States, Nepal, Africa, Europe, Fiji and New Zealand. And for a time, he has also owned an outdoor school in the French Alps. From the barren tundra of the Arctic Circle to the steamy jungles of Borneo and all points in between Ben has literally 'been there and done that.'
Have you done this type of project before?
Yes, many many times. Over the last decade, I've put together dozens of projects that had multimedia and filming components as well as a fundraising initiative. They're always very rewarding to be involved in.
What are your hopes for the project?
Specifically, it's to get all the climbers to the summit and back down safely. From there, it is to help raise a lot of money as a legacy to the project and in a bigger way, film the stories of these soldiers as the impetus to moving the dial on how we as a society see these men and women and the battles they face every day after they've returned from war.
(Ben laughing) Sure! Lots but that's my job to worry about everything. It's also my job to create an environment for success for the team by making sure that I've done everything in my power to give them the tools to do the job. It also helps tremendously when you have a fantastic team in place from the Sherpa climbers that have been with me on my successful Everest expeditions to my film crews who have worked with me on past projects over the years, to the great folks at Documentary, the CBC and True Patriot Love Foundation and finally, the inspiring soldiers themselves.
What will be the biggest challenge?
The altitude. Climbing up to 20 thousand feet is never a given. Everybody's body reacts differently to high altitude and there's no test that can be taken ahead of time that will show who will or won't do well. For all these soldiers, it will be their first attempt to get to that altitude and the challenge will be how their bodies and minds react to the pressure and stress. It's what gives the climb its teeth.
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