As one of only 41 people in history to have reached both the North and South Poles on foot and a veteran of over a dozen mountain and polar expeditions, Tom Avery is one of the brightest stars amongst the current crop of international explorers. Tom is probably best known for leading the expedition described by the Guinness Book of Records as “the fastest surface journey to the North Pole”, which retraced Robert Peary and Matthew Henson’s footsteps to the “Top of the World.”
Tom Avery was born in December 1975 in London, England and was brought up in Brazil and France. His passion for adventure began at the age of eight when he first read about Captain Scott. He knew then that his life wouldn’t be complete until he followed his hero’s footsteps to the South Pole.
Tom took up climbing at age sixteen but it wasn’t until university that his expedition career really took off; there, he organized and led expeditions to the Andes, New Zealand, the Alps, Tanzania, Patagonia and Morocco.
After graduating from Bristol University in England 1998 with a degree in Geography and Geology, he began a 15-month career as an accountant with Arthur Andersen. Eventually forced to choose between the city and the mountains, Tom chose the mountains.
The pinnacle of Tom’s climbing career to date was in 2000 when he led a pioneering British expedition to a previously unexplored 20-mile mountain range close to China’s western border. His team scaled nine unnamed virgin summits up to 20,000 feet high.
On December 28, 2002, days after his 27th birthday, Tom Avery became the youngest Briton to complete the perilous journey to the South Pole on foot. His team also broke the South Pole Speed Record; using state of the art kites to power them across the ice, they covered the last 47 miles to the Pole in an amazing 31 hours.
In April 2005 Tom electrified the exploration world by recreating Robert Peary’s disputed 1909 expedition to the North Pole. The five-strong team travelled in a similar style to Peary with teams of Eskimo dogs and replica wooden sledges. Tom’s ambitious aim was to prove the skeptics wrong and match Peary’s 37-day journey to the Pole. After an epic dash across the most unforgiving environment on the planet, Tom’s exhausted team rewrote the history books by making it to the Pole with five hours to spare.
A born leader, this remarkable young man runs every expedition himself, organizing everything from the fundraising to the training to the logistics to the selection of his teams. His expeditions have received a huge amount of international print and TV media coverage. Tom’s highly acclaimed first book, Pole Dance, was published in 2003. To the End of the Earth, the story about his record-breaking North Pole expedition was published in March 2009.