Tom co-founded Secret Compass and is head of operations and expedition planning, ensuring that all projects run smoothly. He has recently pioneered tourism into South Sudan, where he led our expedition into the Imatong Mountains. He was also central to our ground-breaking expedition into the Big Pamir in the Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan. Before co-founding Secret Compass, Tom spent six years as an Officer in The Parachute Regiment. During his Army career, Tom worked in Africa on multiple occasions. He also worked in the humid rainforests of Brunei and is a qualified Jungle Warfare Instructor. Tom saw active service in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2010, where he specialised in working alongside Afghan security forces.
In the past Tom has worked on leading projects and expeditions for a British company across southern and eastern Africa, developing a real passion for the continent. Previously, he had travelled and worked extensively in southern Africa and south east Asia, conducting charity work in schools and travelling independently though bush, mountain, desert and jungle. Tom is also a Mountain Leader, Mountain Bike Leader, qualified in Wilderness First Aid and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is passionate about ski-touring, snowboarding, wakeboarding, surfing and mountain biking, in addition to travelling through the world's wild places.
Looks after new projects and all things media, as well as brainstorming where on this amazing planet we can visit next. He is the co-founder of Secret Compass and a full time expedition planner, writer and photographer. He has travelled and worked in over eighty countries and led teams in every kind of terrain and environment. With a degree in History under his belt Lev set off on an epic hitchhiking trip all the way from England to India, via Russia, the Caucasus, Iran, and Central Asia. Lev spent several years as an officer in the Parachute Regiment where he saw active service on the Battlefields of Afghanistan in 2008. Whilst in the army he led several large expeditions including jungle trekking in Colombia and mountaineering in the Nepal Himalayas.When he left the services he worked for a charity project delivering ambulances to Malawi, one of the poorest countries on earth, by driving them through 27 countries overland from London. Since then Lev has pioneered expeditionary travel in a number of post-conflict zones and remote areas. He has trekked to the source of the Oxus in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan; Rafted the Nile and taken Channel 4 into the wild bushland of South Sudan; completed a record breaking walk across the entire island of Madagascar and climbed unnamed peaks in the Zagros Mountains of Kurdistan. In his spare time Lev photographs humanitarian issues and spent time with rebel ethnic groups in Burma. He is widely published and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
Ade Summers is an Expedition Leader, Mountain Guide, Trekking Guide, Sea Kayaking Guide, Mountain Biking Guide, Photographer and Traveller! He was born and grew up in Wales but now calls Australia home. Ade spends his life criss-crossing the globe leading teams in the most remote and far flung regions of the world. His expedition CV is to comprehensive to list, but to learn more see his website. He has climbed, trekked and travelled on all 7 continents but highlights include leading the first trek into Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor, developing new routes in Mongolia and leading a trek up the frozen Zanskar river. When he is not working or pursuing his own interests he lives in Sydney where he enjoys canyoning, sea kayaking and the Sydney lifestyle. He is a very keen photographer and enjoys giving slide shows and talks.
Simon Clarke is from South Devon and spent 6 years in the Rifles, a British Infantry Regiment before pursuing a career in photography and travel. Whilst in the Army Simon deployed on operations in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan and competed in Biathlon (cross country skiing and shooting) at Army and UK Championship level. He is keen on rock climbing and physical challenges having climbed Kilimanjaro, the Welsh and Lake District 3000ers, a Marathon and the length of Hadrian's Wall in 37 hours and is looking to complete the Bob Graham Round in the next few years. He also enjoys tea and skydiving. Simon was a team member on the Kurdistan and Madagascar expeditions and Assistant Leader on the 2012 Wakhan Corridor expedition. He recently spoke at the Plymouth Explorer's Club and the Night of Adventure in London in September.
You can see some of Simon's photos at www.hitherandyon.co.uk.
Ash Bhardwaj looks after the creative wing of Secret Compass, putting together many of our collaborative projects and overseeing our media production. He began his travels at the age of 18 with a solo backpacking trip through India, before ski instructing took him to France, New Zealand and Switzerland. Ash's passion lies in storytelling. Writing skills honed during a philosophy degree led to travel journalism for magazines and newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times Travel Magazine. From there, he wrote travel documentaries and worked with the BBC, Walking With The Wounded, Captive Minds and The North Face. Winning a place on the Media Guardian Ones To Watch scheme has helped in the development of his video skills and he continues to produce documentaries for top broadcasters.
Paul Taylor is a mountain leader based in Brecon, South Wales. Paul spent 26 years in the British Army and saw active service all over the world. During this time he qualified as a Jungle Warfare instructor, spent two years in Sierra Leone mentoring the Sierra Leone Army and developed a plethora of medical qualifications. Paul led our expedition down the Moa River in Sierra Leone. His other interests include fell running, mountain marathons, hill walking, sea kayaking, folk and blues music and reading.