Adrian Hayes (adventurer)

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Adrian Hayes[1] is a British record-breaking polar explorer and adventurer, best known for reaching the three extreme points of the Earth—the Three Poles Challenge—which involved walking all the way to the North Pole, South Pole and summiting Mt. Everest, all in the shortest period of time (1 year, 217 days - his first Guinness World record).[2]

Along with Canadians Devon McDiarmid and Derek Crowe, he set a second Guinness World record in 2009 for the longest unsupported snowkiting journey in Arctic history, the 3,120 kilometres (1,940 mi) vertical crossing of the Greenland ice cap. In 2011 he completed a crossing of the Arabian Desert by foot and camel in a documentary filmed expedition in the footsteps of 1940s British Explorer Wilfred Thesiger. In 2014 Hayes summited the second highest mountain in the world, K2, following his unsuccessful attempt in 2013.

Aside from his adventurous exploits, Hayes, an Arabic and Nepalese speaking former Gurkha Officer and Airbus Sales Director, is also a keynote speaker and business coach, specializing in leadership and team coaching and is a campaigner on various world issues, including economic, social and environmental sustainability.


The middle of three sons, Adrian Hayes grew up in his family run hotel in the New Forest, Hampshire,[3] and was educated at St Mary’s College in Southampton. Leaving school at 16, he spent six years in numerous outdoor jobs including bricklaying and farming in the UK, Norway and New Zealand; as a singer/guitarist in a rock band; and travelling the world in between on mountaineering and other adventures & expeditions.

Following two years British Army service as a sabre squadron trooper in 21 SAS, he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served for eight years as an officer in the Brigade of Gurkhas in Hong Kong, Brunei and Oman, the latter a two-year secondment to the Royal Army of Oman in Salalah.[4] After leaving the Army, he studied for an MBA at the University of Nottingham and worked in various international sales and marketing managerial positions before joining Airbus as a Regional Sales Director Middle East and West Asia from 2000–2006, based in Toulouse, France followed by Dubai, UAE. He set up his own company in 2007 becoming a full-time adventurer, speaker and business coach.[5]

Recent expeditions[edit]

Mt Everest 2006[edit]

Hayes summited Mt Everest on 25 May 2006 by the South East ridge/South Col route from Nepal on his first attempt, as part of a ten-man international Everest summit expedition, led by Henry Todd.

North Pole 2007[edit]

On 25 April 2007 Hayes reached the Geographic North Pole after a 50-day expedition covering 775 kilometres (482 mi) (straight line) across the Arctic Ocean from Ward Hunt Island, Canada as part of a three-man team led by Canadian Polar Explorer Richard Weber.

South Pole 2007[edit]

Hayes reached the Geographic South Pole on 28 December 2007 after a 47-day expedition covering 1,136 kilometres (706 mi) from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf of the Antarctic coastline as part of a five-man international team. In doing so he became the 15th person ever to conquer the three extremes of latitude and altitude on Earth – the Three Poles Challenge - and set a record, recognized by Guinness World Records in 2008, for completing all three in the then shortest period of time in history, 19 months and three days.

Greenland 2009[edit]

In 2009, along with Canadian teammates Devon McDiarmid and Derek Crowe, Hayes set out to complete an unsupported vertical crossing of the Greenland[6] ice Cap from Narsaq on the Atlantic Ocean to JP Kocks Fjord in Peary Land on the Arctic Ocean and then onto Qaanaaq on the Baffin Sea in North-West Greenland. The trio completed the never before undertaken journey in 67 days, covering 3,120 kilometres (1,940 mi) (point to point) and achieving the longest unsupported snow-kiting expedition in the Arctic to date. Guinness World Records[7] also recognized the journey in 2010. The film of the expedition, the Emirates NBD Greenland Quest[8] featured in a documentary broadcast on National Geographic channel.

Empty Quarter 2011[edit]

Between October–December 2011 Hayes led an expedition re-enacting the travels of British Explorer Wilfred Thesiger across the Arabian Desert, otherwise known as the Rub Al Khali or "Empty Quarter". Travelling with two Beduin team members, Hayes, an Arabic speaker, journeyed by camel and foot from Salalah, Oman to Abu Dhabi, UAE in 44 days, covering 1,600 kilometres (990 mi). The expedition, titled "Footsteps of Thesiger",[9] was filmed for a television documentary charting the modern day expedition, the travels of Thesiger and the culture, heritage and changing lives of the Bedu of Oman and the UAE and broadcast on Discovery Channel in 2012.

K2 2013[edit]

Between June and August 2013 Hayes was part of six small teams attempting to summit K2 from the Pakistan side, via the Abruzzi Spur. The expeditions were abandoned when an avalanche wiped out Camp 3 at 7,300 metres (24,000 ft) on 27 July 2013, killing New Zealand mountain guide Marty Schmidt and his son Denali.[10]- who had pushed on with a possible summit attempt whilst the remaining 20 climbers had returned to base camp amid snow condition concerns.

K2 2014[edit]

On the 60th anniversary of K2’s first ascent, with just 330 summiteers in that period and only one year of summit successes from Pakistan in the previous five since the 2008 K2 disaster, Hayes returned to K2 for his second attempt between June- August 2014. He summited the mountain on 26 July 2014, becoming the eighth Briton to reach the top in its notorious history.[11]


A lifetime follower of international affairs, Hayes speaks, writes and campaigns on a number of worldwide causes, concepts and charities, in particular on economic, social and environmental sustainability and is a member or supporter of organisations such as New Economics Foundation (NEF), Population Matters, Action for Happiness, and BioRegional.


Hayes's first book, 'Footsteps of Thesiger', chronicling the life of Sir Wilfred Thesiger, his modern reenaction expedition in Thesiger's trail and the changing lives of the Bedouin of the Arabian Peninsular was published in 2013.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Adrian Hayes Website". Adrian Hayes. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "". Explorersweb. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Money & Me: Adrian Hayes. The National (UAE), 2 December 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  4. ^ "Oman News". Oman News. Archived from the original on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Adrian Hayes, Professional Corporate Coach & Speaker". Arabian Sport and Sponsorship Forum. Archived from the original on 2 April 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  6. ^ "Greenlnad Quest website". Emirates NBD. Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "Guinness World Records". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Greenland quest promo". Youtube. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Footsteps of Thesiger". Abu Dhabi Media. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "New Zealand mountaineer and son feared dead on K2". The Retrieved 5 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Adventurer Adrian Hayes conquers K2 mountain". Brighton Evening Argus. 12 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Quotes".  External link in |website= (help)

External links[edit]