Adventure has been in Tom Avery’s blood all his life. A pioneering polar adventurer, ski mountaineer and climber with many notable first ascents and ski descents to his name, Tom is one of the UK’s foremost explorers. He has organised and led expeditions to all seven continents, but it is for his record-breaking polar journeys that he is best known.
Tom’s passion for adventure began when he first read about the exploits of Captain Scott as a seven-year-old boy. He soon took up climbing, first on rock in the British Isles, before moving on to snow, ice and higher altitude terrain. Tom has since organised and lead countless expeditions to the world’s Greater Ranges, from first ascents in the Himalayas to an attempt to become the first Brit to ski down an 8,000-metre peak. A fascination with volcanoes has taken him to the highest peaks of the Andes, the African Rift Valley and the Pacific Ring of Fire – sometimes mid-eruption.
After a lifelong fascination about the adventures of Captain Scott, in 2002 Tom achieved his childhood dream and completed the perilous journey to the South Pole. As leader of the Commonwealth Antarctic Centenary Expedition, Tom’s team manhauled their sledge and kite-skied more than 700 miles from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole in 45 days. In the process, Tom also became the youngest Briton to reach the South Pole.
In 2005 Tom and his five-strong team electrified the exploration world by recreating Peary and Henson’s controversial 1909 expedition to the North Pole, travelling with teams of Eskimo dogs and replica wooden sledges. Tom’s ambitious aim was to prove the sceptics 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 only four hours to spare. More than a decade on, they remain the fastest team in history to reach the North Pole.
A further Guinness World Record followed in 2015, when Tom led the fastest coast-to-coast crossing of Greenland, a challenge often referred to as the Third Pole. Using kites and pulling two sledges each, Tom and his three team mates smashed the previous record by more than a week, completing the crossing in just 9 days and 19 hours, with barely any sleep. During one night, the team kited an incredible 180 miles in 16 hours.
Tom is a passionate environmentalist, having witnessed first-hand the melting of our frozen world. He graduated from Bristol University with a degree in Geography and Geology, where he specialised in the retreating Antarctic Ice Sheet and Andean glaciers. His highly acclaimed first book, Pole Dance, was released in 2003 and his second, To the End of the Earth, in 2009. Tom was an official ambassador for the London 2012 Olympic Games and his expeditions have raised more than £100,000 for charity, primarily The Prince’s Trust, for who he is an official ambassador. Tom is also an ambassador for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Member of the Explorers Club in New York.
Tom is the co-founder and co-owner of Ski Verbier Exclusive which specialises in ski holidays to some of the most spectacular chalets in the Swiss Alps. He lives in the Cotswolds with his wife Mary and their three daughters Maud, Olive and Nell.