Iraqi Kurdistan – Pioneering Winter Adventure Unveiled by Secret Compass

Bristol, United Kingdom, October 30, 2013 --( With high-altitude adventure firmly on the radar thanks to the UK’s ski and snowboard shows this week, Secret Compass is adding its own mountaineering expedition to this winter’s offerings: a summit attempt on Iraq’s highest mountain, Mount Halgurd.

Tom Bodkin is MD of Secret Compass, the pioneering adventure travel and expedition company whose destinations include Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Panama and Yemen.

Bodkin said, “Expedition team members come to us seeking the outstanding and the ambitious. Instead of offering a standard snow and mountaineering destination we wanted to break the mould, so our exploratory expedition next April instead aims to climb Mount Halgurd in Iraqi Kurdistan.

“At 3,607m, Mount Halgurd is the highest peak wholly within Iraq - one higher peak straddles the Iranian border but is therefore not climbable for political reasons. This means that the ambitious members of our international expedition team will be among only a handful of Westerners ever to have summited this epic mountain in the isolated Zagros Range.”

Previous team member Tom Evans said of his expedition experience, “The majority of the Kurdish people we encountered were incredibly pleased to see visitors. They were keen to increase tourism in the area, reinforcing the fact that Kurdistan is a fairly autonomous and much safer region of Iraq.”

Despite a reputation for political uncertainty, Iraqi Kurdistan is a fascinating place. It his home to the ancient city of Erbil, packed with exquisite mosques and hectic bazaars. Nearby, incredible highland landscapes are filled with stone-age caves and lush valleys, and there is a culture of friendship and nobility that remains untouched despite decades of persecution.

Kurdistan has been autonomous since 2003 and has not suffered the violence experienced by the remainder of Iraq. Since that time only a handful of intrepid visitors have dared to travel to the area.

Secret Compass is proud to offer this expedition that looks set to blaze a trail and pioneer a challenging expedition into the secret peaks of these rarely-visited mountains.

Iraq expedition highlights
· Discover an area steeped in history, hosted by the hospitable Kurdish people
· Exploratory trekking in an area with no infrastructure support or tourism industry
· Join an international expedition team that aims to highlight the potential of the area to other travellers, assisting the development of a local tourism economy and showing the world that there is far more to Iraq than bloodshed and war.

Useful links
Discover Secret Compass’s 2014 expedition to Iraqi Kurdistan here:
Find a photo gallery here:!gallery

Read about a previous Secret Compass expedition to Iraqi Kurdistan in Sidetracked magazine:

Notes To Editors
Secret Compass is a pioneering expedition company creating world-first experiences for teams of like-minded adventurers. Through group and bespoke adventures, Secret Compass helps each team member achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. Founded by ex-British Army Parachute Regiment officers, its expeditions reach the planet’s most remote regions in the spirit of exploration’s earliest pioneers. Its highly trained professionals deliver well-planned and safe experiences, while encouraging daring leaps out of comfort zones. Secret Compass is passionate about returning tourism to post-conflict zones and emerging economies to stimulate local development and challenge preconceptions.

Specialist Film and TV services
Secret Compass also takes film crews, journalists and photographers to remote and previously inaccessible areas thanks to its unrivalled location management expertise. Clients to date include the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and Channel 4, in countries from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan.
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Secret Compass
Kerry O'Neill
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