Armenian Adventurers’ Successful Return

A team of adventurers from Secret Compass successfully completed its expedition to cross Armenia’s southern highlands.

London, United Kingdom, October 09, 2015 --( In September 2015, a team of adventurers from Secret Compass successfully completed its expedition to cross Armenia’s southern highlands, having summited Mount Khustup (3206m) and Mount Aramazd (3392m) in the newly protected Arevik National Park.

Tom Bodkin, director of Secret Compass, said, “Straddling Europe and Asia, landlocked Armenia sits at a pivotal geopolitical junction.

“A bastion of Christianity since 301AD – when it became the first nation to adopt Christianity as the state religion – Armenia has for millennia been fought over by feuding religions and empires, culminating most recently in the Armenian genocide of 1915.

“In 2015, the centenary year of the genocide, our first expedition took an intrepid team of adventure travellers to explore modern Armenia, meeting its villagers, trekking its southern highlands, visiting its unique monasteries and summiting some of its highest peaks.”

Team member and Secret Compass marketing director Kerry O’Neill said, “I didn’t know much about Armenia before. I’m now fascinated by its culture and turbulent history.

“The expedition was carried out in Armenia as many Syrian refugees were traversing Europe to reach safer places to live. This knowledge, considered against Armenia’s own history, made the expedition very thought-provoking as well as being physically challenging.”

Expedition highlights

• Summited Armenia’s Mount Khustup (3206m) and Mount Aramazd (3392m)
• Reached UNESCO-protected 9th-century Tatev monastery in the Vorotan Gorge
• Rode one of the world’s longest reversible tramways (cable cars) at 5.7km
• Completed a challenging expedition in a wild and otherwise tourist-free region
• Explored Armenia’s newest protected area, the Arevik National Park

Renowned local guides

The team trekked and wild-camped throughout the jagged and arid lesser Caucasus mountain range with two British expedition leaders and two Armenian guides.

Renowned local guide and alpinist Andranik Miribyan said, “I have never known an expedition team to carry out such an ambitious and challenging traverse in the region. I commend the Secret Compass team members for their pioneering spirit.”

Armenia’s hiking heritage

Armenia was an important stop on the Great Silk Road, with traders travelling across Europe and Asia to buy goods including Ararat cochineal. Famous for never fading, this pigment was used for manuscript illustration, rug-making and architectural purposes.

Armenia also lays claim to the world’s oldest shoe, reputedly 1000 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza. Probably worn by a nomadic herder around 3500 BC, the shoe was found stuffed with grass to help keep its owner’s feet warm.

Bodkin concluded, “As an expedition company part our ethos is to make history by exploring parts of the world often eschewed by other tour operators.

“The team didn’t see another visitor throughout their trek and truly experienced the vast, high-altitude solitude of this isolated nation. Following great feedback our August 2016 expedition is now open for applications.”

Upcoming Secret Compass destinations for 2015 and 2016 include Armenia, Burma, Siberia (Yamal Peninsula and Kamchatka), Iraqi Kurdistan, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Gabon, Sinai, Iran, Panama, Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor and more.

Armenia 2016 expedition fact box

Dates: 27 August – 4 September 2016 (8 nights)
Team size: max. 12
Cost: £1,599 ground costs only (all incl. except flights)

Notes To Editors 

Secret Compass Expeditions
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.

For more information visit
Press enquiries: 0207 096 8428

Secret Compass TV and Film 

Secret Compass provides expert pre-production and in-country location management services to the TV and film industries. Clients to date include the BBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet and Channel 4, in countries from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan, South Sudan to Siberia. For more information visit
Secret Compass
Kerry O'Neill
020 7096 8428