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An expedition team that ventured deep into Burmese Nagaland to climb SE Asia’s most prominent Saramati Peak (3,826m) failed to summit but instead experienced Burma’s first democratic elections since the dissolution of the military junta in 2011.

(TRAVPR.COM) UK - November 25th, 2015 - An expedition team that ventured deep into Burmese Nagaland to climb SE Asia’s most prominent Saramati Peak (3,826m) failed to summit but instead experienced Burma’s first democratic elections since the dissolution of the military junta in 2011.

Imogen Prince, team-mate and Secret Compass staff, said: “Due to injury, the team abandoned its summit attempt…success would have meant a world-first for a commercial expedition. Morale remained high and it was fascinating to be in Burma at this landmark moment with a landslide victory for the National League for Democracy (NLD).”

Landmark elections for Burma
After her release from house arrest in 2011, Aung San Suu Kyi (of the NDL) dropped her opposition to tourism, stressing the need for a responsible approach and a positive effect on the people and the environment.

Tom McShane, Ops director with Secret Compass, recce’d the region in 2014. McShane said, “Our expeditions will help the region’s fledging tourism economy, with monies spent by the team supporting local guides and small businesses.

“Courtesy of Nagaland’s non-existent tourism infrastructure this adventure is truly remote, but this positive election result will mean a rapid spread of visitors beyond already popular areas such as. The time to explore remote Burma is now”.

Orchid-clad slopes
Team member Andy said, “Camping near local villages or wild camping in the dense jungles in this remote part of a largely undiscovered nation was a very unusual experience, and though we didn’t get to climb it, Saramati’s craggy peaks were omnipresent above the dense bamboo forests and orchid-clad slopes.

“In a region formerly known for its headhunting, many villagers today haven’t seen a white face, so although the exploratory aim of our expedition was not met, the cultural insight gained made up for it.” 

Andy added, “We saw traditional Naga elders and dances, helped in the rice fields and even learned how to hunt in their age-old way. As Kipling said ‘This is Burma, and it will be quite unlike any land you know about.’ We think this remains true for this wild and isolated part of Burma!” 

Summit success in 2016
Tom Bodkin, director of Secret Compass, said, “Due to the team stopping short of Saramati Peak itself, this expedition goal remains open for a second team to grab the exploratory glory in 2016.

“We’ll run a second expedition to the Burmese Nagaland region in late February 2016, the team closes December 15. Applications are welcomed from anyone with an active lifestyle and sense of adventure.” 

McShane concluded, “Expeditions like this give people the chance to achieve the extraordinary in the world’s wildest places. They’re not easy and they’re not guided tours: they’re tough, they’re satisfying and they’re what experienced adventure travellers want.

With its military background, expedition company Secret Compass is renowned for offering expeditions and adventure travel to countries eschewed by most operators due to their remoteness, post-conflict reputations or inaccessibility. 

For 2016, Secret Compass expedition and adventure travel destinations include Afghanistan, Armenia, Burma, Ethiopia, Gabon, Iran, Kurdistan, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Panama, Siberia and the Sinai desert. Activities range from mixed-terrain trekking and minimalist desert traverses, to mountain-biking and horseback expeditions.

For press information on Secret Compass expeditions in 2016, contact Kerry O’Neill:

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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.

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.


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Name: Kerry O'Neill
Company: Secret Compass
Phone: 0207 096 8428
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