• Press

For press inquiries, write, call or email:

Chris Bettencourt
Mountain Travel Sobek
1266 66th Street, Suite 4
Emeryville, CA 94608
Tel: (510) 594-6000
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Press Releases

The below press releases are all PDF files which require that you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. This program can be downloaded for free from the Adobe Website.

  • April 18, 2013Mountain Travel Sobek Celebrates Sobek's 40th Anniversary by Launching an Ultimate Tanzania Safari Sweepstakes Mountain Travel Sobek, the adventure travel pioneer that led the first "pure" walking safari in Kenya back in 1971, is launching a new sweepstakes to award the Ultimate Tanzania Safari adventure to one lucky adventurer. MTS has teamed up with travel gear supplier, Magellan’s, and flight experts Exito Travel, to come up with an exhilarating prize package including a 12-day Safari, round-trip airfare, and a stocked travel gear package!
  • March 21, 2013Mountain Travel Sobek Welcomes Expedia Founder Greg Slyngstad onto Board of Directors Mountain Travel Sobek, the adventure travel pioneer that began offering the guided trips to the wilds of the world in 1969, is pleased to announce the addition of Greg Slyngstad to its board. Greg has deep roots in the online tech and travel industries. He spent 14 years at Microsoft where he was group program manager for Microsoft Word, and was the leader of the Microsoft team that founded Expedia in 1996. He was also a founding member of Kayak, co-founder of Vacation Spot and Trover, and is a true adventurer in his own right.
  • March 19, 2009MOUNTAIN TRAVEL SOBEK CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF ADVENTURE WITH 40 FREE TRIPS! Mountain Travel Sobek is proud to announce its 40th anniversary in 2009 as the oldest and most experienced adventure travel company in the U.S. To celebrate this milestone, they are giving away 40 FREE trips to some of their most popular destinations including Macchu Pichu, Morocco, and the Swiss Alps. Travelers who book an adventure by April 17th for 2009 travel can bring a companion free on select departures, but hurry, once the 40 trips are gone, they're gone!
  • September 18, 200840 NEW TRIPS FOR 2009 To Celebrate 40 Years of Adventure! Adventurous travelers will have more exciting trip choices than ever as they begin planning their travel for the coming year! To celebrate 40 years, Mountain Travel Sobek, North America’s leading adventure travel company, has added 40 new adventures to their total lineup of almost 200 worldwide group and private trips.
  • April 29, 2008ALASKA DISCOVERY PARTNERS WITH TOP CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS Alaska Discovery is proud to announce a special partnership with three major conservation organizations to promote and preserve the unique wilderness of Alaska–the Alaska Conservation Foundation, Audubon Alaska, and Alaska Wilderness League. To celebrate these new partnerships, Alaska Discovery is crafting special itineraries to help raise awareness and protect fragile areas currently under threat. The 2008 Alaska Discovery catalog released this month features each organization with a full page description of their concerns and commitment to specific conservation projects, ranging from offshore Arctic waters, to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Tongass National Forest, and more.
  • March 6, 2008EXPLORING THE UNBEATEN PATH IN EASTERN EUROPE ~ Mountain Travel Sobek Adds Four New Trips for Summer 2008 Eastern Europe is a giant playground for active travelers and explorers of the unbeaten path, and now that peace has been restored after a decade of conflict, the region is ripe for exploration. Mountain Travel Sobek, renowned for its pioneering spirit and innovative trips to uncharted territories, just recently added four new trips to this region since the publication of their 2008 catalog. This complements their already full range of exciting hiking and multisport trips there, to countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Slovenia.
  • January 22, 2008WHAT'S "HOT" IN AFRICA? WALKING SAFARIS! ~ Mountain Travel Sobek Adds New Exploratory Adventure in Kenya Imagine walking close to wildlife, possibly even putting your own footprint in that of an elephant's who passed just before you, or examining the fascinating minutia missed from a vehicle. This is the best way to experience the legendary Africa that existed a century ago–remote and far from the crowds, and Mountain Travel Sobek, the leader in adventure travel and a pioneer of foot safaris in Africa, offers several ways to experience Africa up close.
  • December 11, 2007THREE NEW 2008 ADVENTURES FROM MOUNTAIN TRAVEL SOBEK ~ Spring & Summer Trips Just Added to Far–Flung Ends of the Earth to Nepal, Greenland, and Alaska Three brand new trips to a roster of more than 175 adventure travel offerings.
  • November 6, 2007NEED HELP WITH HOLIDAY SHOPPING? ~ Mountain Travel Sobek Offers the Ultimate Gift! What do you get for someone who already has everything? The gift of travel, of course!
  • October 22, 2007MOUNTAIN TRAVEL RELAUNCHES "PRIVATE ADVENTURES" ~ Expanded private trip offering with the Leader in Adventure TravelMountain Travel Sobek is pleased to announce the re–launch of Private Adventures.
  • September 20, 2007Mountain Travel Sobek Announces 37 Unique, New Group Adventures for 2008 ~ Includes a Dozen Popular "Follow the Leader" Trips Adventurous travelers will have more exciting trip choices than ever.
  • April 10, 2007Trek the Great Trails of North America! Ultimate Summer Adventures with Mountain Travel Sobek Experience North America's most famous long-distance trails!
  • April 5, 2007Mountain Travel Sobek Announces Partnership with Doug McConnell of Bay Area Backroads Mountain Travel Sobek announces partnership with Doug McConnell.
  • Febuary 13, 2007ALASKA DISCOVERY CELEBRATES 35 YEARS OF ADVENTURE! 2007 marks Alaska Discovery's 35th anniversary!
  • January 23, 2007MOUNTAIN TRAVEL SOBEK EXPANDS NEPAL ADVENTURES Company to Add Additional Treks in Response to Peace Accord Good news is coming out of Nepal!
  • October 31, 2006WHERE IT'S AT: EXPLORING EASTERN EUROPE with Mountain Travel Sobek Six different trips with a range of walking, hiking, and cultural activities.
  • September 19, 2006Mountain Travel Sobek Announces 47 New Adventures for 2007 Includes 8 Popular "Follow the Leader" Trips
  • August 8, 2006>Holiday Adventures with Mountain Travel Sobek MTS has scheduled more than 35 adventures to depart over the holiday season!
  • April 26, 200630TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST DESCENT OF ALASKA'S TATSHENSHINI RIVEROne of the greatest river journeys in the world
  • March 6, 2006Mountain Travel Sobek Introduces "EXPLORATIONS" New! Private Adventures with the Leaders in Adventure Travel
  • January 10, 2006TREK AFRICA! Walking & Hiking Adventures with Mountain Travel Sobek
  • November 30, 2005Mountain Travel Sobek ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & SALES
  • November 7, 2005Raft Yunnan’s Mekong & Yangtze Rivers with Mountain Travel Sobek FIRST & LAST CHANCE!
  • November 7, 2005Mountain Travel Sobek’s Eleventh Save the Tiger! Trip Make a vacation count toward conservation
  • September 14, 2005Announcing Eighteen New Adventures for 2006!Includes Nine Popular "Follow the Leader" Trips.
  • April 25, 2005Get Lost! Go to the Remote Corners of the World with Mountain Travel Sobek.
  • April 25, 2005Fairs and Festivals of the World Colorful Celebrations Highlight Selected Mountain Travel Sobek Tripsan.
  • March 17, 2005Off the Beaten Track in America's National Parks Go Adventuring with Mountain Travel Sobek!
  • March 17, 2005New Permit Regulations on the Inca Trail Space Limitations Now in Effect - Sign Up Early!
  • February 4, 2005In The Land of the Thunder Dragon Mountain Travel Sobek Launches Two New Treks in Bhutan.
  • January 7, 2005Unveiling the Mystery of the Nile Mountain Travel Sobek Launches New Trip in Conjunction with IMAX© Film Release.
  • January 7, 2005Alaska Discovery Releases New Catalog Four New Adventures in 2005.

History

Mountain Travel Sobek - How it Became "The Adventure Company" - A quick history of our company.

In May 1991, two venerable adventure travel companies, Mountain Travel and Sobek Expeditions, combined operations. At the time, Mountain Travel was renowned for pioneering trekking and mountaineering in remote regions around the world, while Sobek had become famous for its exploratory expeditions on previously unrun international rivers. Both had also developed a wide portfolio of related adventure trips around the world, and each had earned a reputation for pioneering destinations in remote, unexplored regions around the globe.

Mountain Travel
One of the first adventure companies in the country, Mountain Travel was founded in 1967 by three members of the American Alpine Club and the Sierra Club: Leo Le Bon, Allen Steck and Barry Bishop. Their first outing was a trek in Nepal in 1967 organized by Le Bon–the first American-led trekking expedition in the Himalaya. Mountain Travel was also the first company to offer organized treks to the Everest Base Camp (1967) and Annapurna Circuit (1976), and later pioneered commercial expeditions to Mounts Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, and Aconcagua on other continents. And in 1989, Mountain Travel ran the first commercial cross-country ski expedition to the South Pole. Although the original founders left the company to follow other pursuits, Leo Le Bon and Allen Steck continue to serve as honorary directors (Barry Bishop passed away in 1994).

Sobek Expeditions
Also in the late 1960s, two young river rafters from Bethesda, Maryland, were looking for international rivers to raft. Finally in 1973, Richard Bangs and John Yost discovered that their passion for river running could also be a way to make a living. That year, they decided to tackle the Awash, a little-known African river filled with crocodiles and hippos. They managed to recruit enough clients to pay for the trip, and successfully navigated a major river never before rafted. That first endeavor gave birth to Sobek, named after the ancient Egyptian crocodile god. Throughout the next 18 years, Sobek led first descents of 35 rivers around the world, several of which have been featured as television specials and documentaries. The company also established the first commercial rafting operations on many of these rivers, now considered classics among river rafters around the world. Sobek's legendary exploratory expeditions include the Bio-Bio (Chile), Zambezi (Zambia), the Great Bend of the upper Yangtze River (China), the Bashkaus (USSR), the Blue Nile (Ethiopia), the Upper Amazon (Peru), and the Tatshenshini (Alaska).

Over the years as the companies expanded, so have the types of adventures offered. Deluxe cruises to the Galápagos Islands and pampered walking tours in France have been added to the justly famous treks in Nepal and South America. Now travelers of every level can find a Mountain Travel Sobek trip to suit them.

Firsts

The Mountain Travel Sobek List of Firsts - Over 40 years of pioneering adventure around the world.

  • 1969 Leo Le Bon, Allen Steck, and Barry Bishop found Mountain Travel. MT's first-ever trek to Nepal takes place in October.
  • 1970 MT organizes the first sailing cruise to the Galápagos Island (for the Sierra Club).
  • 1971 MT leads the fist circular trek of the Cordillera Blanca in Peru. MT has author Colin Fletcher scout the first "pure" walking safari in Kenya.
  • 1972 Leo Le Bon takes the first group of Sahara camel enthusiasts to explore the high ramparts of the famous Tassili N'Ajjer in Algeria. The summit of Aconcagua, highest peak in the Western Hemisphere is attained on the first commercial climb, operated by MT.
  • 1973 Allen Steck leads the first expedition to the USSR. This is also start of the company's relationship with the Soviet Mountaineering Federation. Richard Bangs and John Yost found Sobek Expeditions. The first commercial trip is on Ethiopia's Omo River.
  • 1974 Mountaineer and Sierra Club director Jules Eichorn leads MT's first climbing trip to Mt. Kenya and Kilimanjaro.
  • 1975 Allen Steck leads an MT trek into northern Pakistan and visits famous Concordia, base camp for the climb of K2, the world's second highest peak.
  • 1978 Sobek makes the first decent of the Bío-Bío River in Chile.
  • 1979 MT offers the first US trek to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.
  • 1980 MT organizes the first commercial US postwar expedition to climb Minya Konka, the highest peak in China outside of Tibet.
  • 1981 MT organizes a climb and ski decent of Muztagh Ata in Sinkiang, China. Sobek makes the first decent of the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe.
  • 1982 Sobek makes the first descent of the Dar Jung Guo River, China, the Luangwa, Zambia, and the Tambopata, Peru.
  • 1983 MT is the first US company to organize a trek through Sinkiang to the northern base of K2.
  • 1986 John Thune leads the first group of tourists to travel the Karakoram Highway over the Khunjerab Pass into China. The Silk Road tour goes on to become one of MT's most popular trips.
  • 1987 MT launches the first departures of the Wondrous Towers of Paine, a six-day circuit of the Paine massif.
  • 1988 MT initiates a new and innovative program in Continuing Medical Education.
  • 1989 MT fields the first commercial cross-country ski expedition to the South Pole, an epic ski traverse of the Antarctic continent which has the distinction of placing the first Americans–and the first women ever–at the Pole by an over–land route and by their own efforts.
  • 1990 Leo Le Bon, founder and president of MT retires from the company.
  • 1991 MT and Sobek Expeditions merge operations.
  • 1993 MTS makes first descents of the Kunar-Swat Rivers, Pakistan.
  • 1994 MTS makes the first descent of the Ghizar River in Pakistan. The first "Save the Tiger" trip is operated, which raises funds to prevent the tiger's extinction.
  • 1995 MTS completes the first exploratory sea kayaking expedition to remote Cenderawasi Bay in Irian Jaya.
  • 1996 MTS makes the first descent of the Tekeze River, Ethiopia, a 210-mile journal through the "Grand Canyon" of Africa. MTS operates first sea kayaking expedition to Scoresbysund, a 300-mile fjord system of Northeast Greenland National Park (largest national park in the world).
  • 1997 MTS offers the first ever sea kayaking trip to Panama's San Blas Islands.
  • 1998 Trip members from the first departure of the new African Golden Kingdoms trip return with glowing accounts of this exotic experience–an MTS exclusive!
  • 1999 MTS leads National Geographic Society on a 500-mile successful descent of the Blue Nile from the headwaters at Lake Tana to the Sudanese border. Sobek previously rafted sections of the river in the mid-1970s.
  • 2000 Mountain Travel Sobek acquires Alaska Discovery, the oldest and largest wilderness guiding company in Alaska. We also acquire a whitewater rafting permit for the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho.
  • 2001 Mountain Travel Sobek launches "In the Footsteps of the Explorers" program. Adventurous travelers joined in for adventures such as a Darwin's Galápagos, John Wesley Powell's Grand Canyon, Lawrence's Arabia, and Tilman's Everest Trek.
  • 2002 First commercial descent of the Puyango-Tumbes River on the border of Ecuador and Peru. Up until 2002 it wasn't possible to run this river due to a border dispute between Ecuador and Peru.
  • 2004 The U.S. lifted travel restrictions to Libya in February 2004, and in April, Mountain Travel Sobek is the first company to bring an American tour group into this long forbidden country.

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