Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live

Inspire Middle East


Record breaking Egyptian mountaineer Omar Samra talks triumphs and tragedy

Inspire middle east

<p>Sixteen years ago, Egyptian adventurer Omar Samra turned his back on a successful career in finance to pursue his love of the great outdoors.</p> <p>Having suffered debilitating asthma as a child, in 2007 the 40-year-old fully overcame his physical adversity to become the first Egyptian – and the youngest Arab – to summit Mount Everest.</p> <p>“It had been a dream that I’ve had since I was 16-years-old, and it took me 12 years to achieve it,” Samra told Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham in an interview for Inspire Middle East. “After I achieved it, it was like there was nothing else to look forward to. I had to do a lot of soul searching to realise that I’m still really passionate about climbing. Then I ended up setting my sights on the ‘Seven Summits’.”</p> <p><img src="https://static.euronews.com/articles/82/43/824337/1600x900_bonus-s2e27-ime-bb1-260719.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <em>Omar Samra poses with the Egyptian flag at Africa’s highest point</em></p> <p>Having become the first Egyptian to conquer the seven highest mountains on every continent, Samra then became laser focused on the ‘Explorer’s Grand Slam’. </p> <p>It was an endeavor which saw him ski to the North and South poles, becoming one of only 40 people in history to have done so.</p> <p>The catalyst for the arduous journey was deeply personal. </p> <p>“I went to Miami where my wife was delivering our first child, and unfortunately weeks later my wife passed away. That was probably the most traumatic [time], a very dark time for me,” Samra shared. “About a year later, when everybody thought it was too much, too soon, I went to the place I’ve learned all my lessons. The place that’s shaped who I am. I went back to the cold, to those desolate environments.” </p> <p><strong><span class="caps">READ</span> <span class="caps">MORE</span>:</strong> <a href="https://www.euronews.com/2019/07/26/record-breakers-are-rising-in-the-middle-east-and-north-africa">Record breakers are rising in the Middle East and North Africa</a></p> <p>Samra next set his sights on the sea, attempting to row across the Atlantic Ocean with professional triathlete Omar Nour. </p> <p>Nine days in, the perilous 5,000km journey ended in catastrophe with the duo’s boat capsizing. </p> <p><img src="https://static.euronews.com/articles/82/43/824337/1600x900_bonus-s2e27-ime-bb2-260719.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <em>Omar Samra and Omar Nour attempt to row across the Atlantic unsupported</em></p> <p>After enduring 12 hours in freezing waters with towering waves, a chance sighting by a passing bulk carrier saved their lives. </p> <p>Despite almost losing his life, on more than once on his expeditions, Samra unrelentingly chases new mental and physical experiences. </p> <p>He says that whilst his adventures have made him more philosophical about life, they haven’t made him circumspect. </p> <p>“These endeavors that we do can be regarded as selfish in a way, and the best that I can do is be aware of what it is that I’m doing – how it affects my family, how it affects my daughter,” he says. “I’ve ultimately realised that this is who I am. And in order for me to be the best person, the best father, the best son – I need to be fulfilled.”</p> <p><img src="https://static.euronews.com/articles/82/43/824337/1600x900_bonus-s2e27-ime-bb3-260719.jpg" alt="" /><br /> <em>Omar Samra talks to Euronews’ Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham</em></p> <p>As for what’s next for Samra, who is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, he has two burning desires. First, to encourage Arab youth to better explore their natural surroundings, and second, to venture into possibly his most hostile environment to date. </p> <p>“Engaging with nature is something that is extremely important and I think it’s likely downplayed in our culture,” he says. “The other part is through my passion for space, I have created this program called Make Space Yours, which is the region’s first space science competition. It’s a competition on a national scale in Egypt that we’re hoping to grow across the region in the U.A.E. and in Saudi.” </p> <h2><span class="caps">SEEN</span> ON <span class="caps">SOCIAL</span>: <span class="caps">CLIMBING</span> <span class="caps">WITH</span> A <span class="caps">CAUSE</span></h2> <p>Dolores from Jordan, who climbed Mount Everest, says she wants to inspire young women to reach new heights.</p> <p><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxrXKBxHWUe/" data-instgrm-version="12" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:540px; min-width:326px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:16px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxrXKBxHWUe/" style=" background:#FFFFFF; line-height:0; padding:0 0; text-align:center; text-decoration:none; width:100%;" target="_blank"> <div style=" display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div></div></div><div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display:block; height:50px; margin:0 auto 12px; width:50px;"><svg width="50px" height="50px" viewBox="0 0 60 60" version="1.1" xmlns="https://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="https://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"><g stroke="none" stroke-width="1" fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd"><g transform="translate(-511.000000, -20.000000)" fill="#000000"><g><path d="M556.869,30.41 C554.814,30.41 553.148,32.076 553.148,34.131 C553.148,36.186 554.814,37.852 556.869,37.852 C558.924,37.852 560.59,36.186 560.59,34.131 C560.59,32.076 558.924,30.41 556.869,30.41 M541,60.657 C535.114,60.657 530.342,55.887 530.342,50 C530.342,44.114 535.114,39.342 541,39.342 C546.887,39.342 551.658,44.114 551.658,50 C551.658,55.887 546.887,60.657 541,60.657 M541,33.886 C532.1,33.886 524.886,41.1 524.886,50 C524.886,58.899 532.1,66.113 541,66.113 C549.9,66.113 557.115,58.899 557.115,50 C557.115,41.1 549.9,33.886 541,33.886 M565.378,62.101 C565.244,65.022 564.756,66.606 564.346,67.663 C563.803,69.06 563.154,70.057 562.106,71.106 C561.058,72.155 560.06,72.803 558.662,73.347 C557.607,73.757 556.021,74.244 553.102,74.378 C549.944,74.521 548.997,74.552 541,74.552 C533.003,74.552 532.056,74.521 528.898,74.378 C525.979,74.244 524.393,73.757 523.338,73.347 C521.94,72.803 520.942,72.155 519.894,71.106 C518.846,70.057 518.197,69.06 517.654,67.663 C517.244,66.606 516.755,65.022 516.623,62.101 C516.479,58.943 516.448,57.996 516.448,50 C516.448,42.003 516.479,41.056 516.623,37.899 C516.755,34.978 517.244,33.391 517.654,32.338 C518.197,30.938 518.846,29.942 519.894,28.894 C520.942,27.846 521.94,27.196 523.338,26.654 C524.393,26.244 525.979,25.756 528.898,25.623 C532.057,25.479 533.004,25.448 541,25.448 C548.997,25.448 549.943,25.479 553.102,25.623 C556.021,25.756 557.607,26.244 558.662,26.654 C560.06,27.196 561.058,27.846 562.106,28.894 C563.154,29.942 563.803,30.938 564.346,32.338 C564.756,33.391 565.244,34.978 565.378,37.899 C565.522,41.056 565.552,42.003 565.552,50 C565.552,57.996 565.522,58.943 565.378,62.101 M570.82,37.631 C570.674,34.438 570.167,32.258 569.425,30.349 C568.659,28.377 567.633,26.702 565.965,25.035 C564.297,23.368 562.623,22.342 560.652,21.575 C558.743,20.834 556.562,20.326 553.369,20.18 C550.169,20.033 549.148,20 541,20 C532.853,20 531.831,20.033 528.631,20.18 C525.438,20.326 523.257,20.834 521.349,21.575 C519.376,22.342 517.703,23.368 516.035,25.035 C514.368,26.702 513.342,28.377 512.574,30.349 C511.834,32.258 511.326,34.438 511.181,37.631 C511.035,40.831 511,41.851 511,50 C511,58.147 511.035,59.17 511.181,62.369 C511.326,65.562 511.834,67.743 512.574,69.651 C513.342,71.625 514.368,73.296 516.035,74.965 C517.703,76.634 519.376,77.658 521.349,78.425 C523.257,79.167 525.438,79.673 528.631,79.82 C531.831,79.965 532.853,80.001 541,80.001 C549.148,80.001 550.169,79.965 553.369,79.82 C556.562,79.673 558.743,79.167 560.652,78.425 C562.623,77.658 564.297,76.634 565.965,74.965 C567.633,73.296 568.659,71.625 569.425,69.651 C570.167,67.743 570.674,65.562 570.82,62.369 C570.966,59.17 571,58.147 571,50 C571,41.851 570.966,40.831 570.82,37.631"></path></g></g></g></svg></div><div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style=" color:#3897f0; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;"> View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"><div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"></div></div><div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)"></div></div><div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style=" width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"></div> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"></div></div></div></a> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxrXKBxHWUe/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_blank">May 20th: Today Dolores and the team are heading up from <span class="caps">ABC</span> 6,400 meters to North Col 7,100 Meters, where they will stay for one night for the second time and hopefully head to the higher camps in the next days. <code>thesustainablecity #doloresshelleh #Everest2019 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • #northcol #everestnorthcol #instadaily #summitpush #8000+ #mountains #climb #7summits #explore</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A post shared by <a href="https://www.instagram.com/doloresshelleh/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px;" target="_blank"> Dolores Shelleh</a> (</code>doloresshelleh) on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2019-05-20T08:24:15+00:00">May 20, 2019 at 1:24am <span class="caps">PDT</span></time></p></div></blockquote> <script async src="//www.instagram.com/embed.js"></script></p> <p><em>Part of this Inspire Middle East episode was filmed at</em> <a href="https://www.adventurezone.ae">Adventure HQ</a></p>
View more