30 Years of Adventure Travel
Reflecting on 30 Years
"It only seems like yesterday that we were in Northern Pakistan for the first time, cramped in the back of a crowded local bus trying to stay rational after a 40 hour journey from Rawalpindi to Skardu. Only 2 hours to go and we stopped to pick up a herder and dozen of his goats on his way to market, they filled the last spaces in the aisle. It was late May in 1984 and the wild section of road..."
>> Read the full article published in Himalaya Magazine, November 2013.
Check out our Timeline below
1984 - On the Karakoram Highway
Looking back at 30 years in adventure travel, the first question is where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday that Tim and Glenn were in Northern Pakistan for the first time, jammed in the back of a crowded local bus and trying to stay rational after a 40 hour journey from Rawalpindi up into the Karakoram Mountains. Returning to the UK, the Karakoram Experience was set up and a folded A4 leaflet produced to advertise the very first trek to K2
1985 - The Karakoram Experience
The first commercial trip to K2 ran with a group of 12 who had responded to an advert in ‘Climber and Rambler' magazine. Our local guide and agent on that first trip was Mohamed Iqbal and we continue to work with Iqbal and his son Zafar to this day.
1987 - The Trekkers Lodge
Tim and Glenn bought the property at 32 Lake Road, Keswick (still the KE office) and embarked on a new life in the heart of the English Lake District. The bottom floor of the property became the ‘Trekkers Lodge' café, managed for a time by Kit Wilkinson, who continues to work for KE.
1990 - Beyond the Karakoram
Whilst pioneering many of the classic Karakoram treks during the second half of the 80's, the process of diversification had begun, with visits to China's Tian Shan Mountains and to Nepal, where Karakoram Experience groups climbed trekking peaks such as Chulu East, Ramdung and Mera. At this time, we were also offering trips to Mount Elbrus in Russia, to Mount Kenya and to Peru's Cordillera Blanca.
1992 - Mountain Bike Madness
The first Karakoram Experience mountain bike group travelled to northern Pakistan and this would soon be followed by 2-wheel trips to Nepal, Tibet, Ladakh and to Bhutan.
1995 - Hushe Water Scheme
Keen to give something back to the people of Hushe Village in the Karakoram, we began the long process of raising funds that would pay for a clean water supply and a hydro-electricity generator for the people of Hushe Village.
1996 - KE Adventure Travel
Changing our name to KE Adventure Travel was one of the best business decisions we ever made. Keen to hold onto our reputation for exploration, we also wanted to show that we were a travel company with a worldwide repertoire. The arrival of email in the KE office during 1996 would revolutionise our communications.
1997 - The Roof of Africa
Having already run holidays to Kenya and to the Rwenzoris of Uganda, we ran our first Kilimanjaro trip in this year.
2000 - Online Booking
Having set up the first KE website in 1998, it wasn't until the year 2000 that clients were able to book online. At this time, KE Office Manager, Fiona Marshall, returned to work for KE after a round-the-world trip.
2002 - Low-Cost Flights and 1-Week Adventures
In the first years of the new Millennium we began to look more closely at European destinations and at Morocco. Holidays promising a real adventure within just a week (especially those benefitting from low-cost flights) were becoming increasingly popular.
2004 - A Family Affair
We were all getting older and some of us had our own families by this stage. It was logical that we should apply our experience to the setting up of family adventures, the first of which were in Nepal, Peru and in Morocco.
2011 - Adventure Cruising
As you can imagine normal cruise holidays were not for us, we concentrated the Arctic and Antarctica, perhaps the last pristine and true wilderness areas left on our planet.
2014 - Where Are We Now?
KE now employs 25 people in Keswick and runs over 400 trips to 88 different countries. Probably the greatest thing we have gained from the last 30 years is our friendship with a wide range of people in all corners of the globe. We realised early on that we are only as good as our agent on the ground and for things to work well these people need to be our friends. Many of the people we work with from across the world have also been able to visit us in Keswick and have their own life changing experiences.