Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1244, (30 April - 6 May 2015)
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1244, (30 April - 6 May 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Samra’s slam

Adventurer Omar Samra makes history as the first Egyptian to complete the Explorers Grand Slam, reports Ghada Abdel-Kader

Omar Samra
Omar Samra
Al-Ahram Weekly

Egyptian adventurer-mountaineer Omar Samra, 36, has reached the North Pole. On 21April at exactly 5am, Samra raised the Egyptian flag and made history by becoming the first Egyptian and one of less than 40 people to complete the Explorers Grand Slam.

The Explorers Grand Slam is the feat of climbing the highest mountain on every continent, known as the Seven Summits, and skiing the last stage to both the South and North poles.

With this achievement, Samra culminates a 20-year journey since he first dreamt of scaling Mount Everest when he was only 16. Samra, who never gave up on his dream, did indeed become the first Egyptian and youngest Arab, at the time, to climb the imposing Everest.

“I’m very excited with this achievement, which I humbly dedicate to my country Egypt,” Samra said after reaching the North Pole. “This would not have been possible without the support of CIB, who made this a reality, and also my family, friends and fans who have always supported and believed in me.”

Samra was the first Egyptian to complete the Seven Summits Challenge on 31 May 2013 when he became the first Egyptian to climb the highest mountain on every continent.



OMAR SAMRA’S ACHIEVEMENTS: In May 2007, Samra climbed Mount Everest in Nepal, the highest mountain in the world at 8,850m (29,035 feet) above sea level. The climb took 65 days, or 10 weeks, and Samra reached the summit on 17 May 2007 at 9.49am, becoming the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to do so. He was also the first Arab to climb the mountain from the south side, considered harder than the north.

In April 2008, Samra climbed the highest freestanding mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet) in Tanzania, reaching the summit via the Machame route on 30 April 2008 at 6.15am. Despite the heat of the African continent, the temperature was -18C at the summit with strong winds. The peak of Kilimanjaro is 5,895m above sea level and the climb took one week.

In August 2008, Samra climbed the highest mountain in Europe, Mount Elbrus (18,510 feet) in Russia, in one of the most desolate parts of the world. Mount Elbrus, in the Caucasus Mountains, is a double-coned volcano that stands as a watchtower between the great masses of Europe and Asia. Its peak is 5,642m above sea level. On 17 August 2008 Samra led the first-ever Egyptian team to the top in temperatures of -30C, 100km/h winds, and five metres visibility. The climb took two weeks.

In April 2009, he climbed Mount Carstensz (16,023 feet) in Indonesia, the highest mountain in Australasia. This is a challenging rock climb requiring a different set of skills and equipment from the other mountains Samra climbed. Its peak is 4,884m above sea level and the journey took two weeks.

On 1 February 2011, he then climbed the highest mountain in Argentina, Mount Aconcagua (22,841 feet), the highest mountain in the Americas and outside the Himalayas. Samra was the first Arab to climb the highest mountain in Argentina alone and unsupported. Aconcagua sits in a semi-desert region, which means the air is dry with little oxygen saturation, making the mountain harder to climb. Its peak is 6,962m above sea level. The climb lasted for over three weeks.

On 5 January 2012, Samra climbed the highest mountain in Antarctica, the massif of Mount Vinson (16,050 feet), whose peak is 4,897m above sea level. The sheer isolation of the mountain makes just getting to it a difficult task. Temperatures in Antarctica are among the coldest in the world, making the higher reaches of the mountain one of the coldest places on the planet. The climb lasted two weeks.

In April 2012, he climbed the highest mountain in North America, Mount McKinley in Alaska, also known as Denali (20,320 feet). Denali rises 5.5 km above sea level, an elevation gain unsurpassed anywhere in the world, including Everest. It was the most technically demanding of all the seven mountains Samra climbed, and regularly has climbers turning back as they are unable to negotiate its steep faces and recurring snowstorms. The climb lasted for over three weeks.

On 31 May 2013, he became the first Egyptian to complete the Seven Summits Challenge by climbing Mount Denali, the highest in Alaska and North America.

On 6 December 2014, Samra participated in the Axe Apollo space competition, the only Arab chosen to travel to space on a flight with the international space agency, Space Expedition Corporation, following competitive space-simulation challenges in Orlando in the US.

On 28 December 2014, Samra became the first Egyptian to ski to the last degree to the South Pole. During two weeks in Antarctica and 10 days of skiing, his team covered more than 111km (60 nautical miles) to reach the pole.

On 21 April 2015, Samra became the first Egyptian to complete the Explorers Grand Slam after reaching the North Pole.

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