On the 17th of May of 2007, at precisely 9:49am I succeeded in becoming the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to stand on the top of Mount Everest. To me, this was a culmination of a childhood dream that began when I discovered the mountains for the first time at the age of 16 after having overcome severe chest asthma as a child. In the beginning, I looked on at Everest as gigantic mountain that embodied the sum total of my dreams and aspirations. Reaching the top became a manifestation of discovering how far I could both mentally and physically push myself. It took 12 years from that fateful first day in Lausanne for me to stand on the roof of the world. In many ways, this journey framed my young life and I’m grateful for every success and shortcoming during those years.
However, with time, I began to see things differently. Everest became not just about climbing a mountain or being first. It was not just a life ambition that was achieved through years of hard work and perseverance. It became a powerful means for me to begin taking steps towards discovering my full potential and purpose in this life. It also allowed me for the first time to find the language to share my story and inspire others.
And to continue to inspire others I need to continue to push my own limits, which is why the dream of climbing the 7 Summits or the highest mountain on every continent was born weeks after coming back down from Mount Everest.
Quick Facts about my Everest expedition in 2007:
Duration: 65 days
Route: South Col Route (Nepal)
Team members: Ben Stephens (UK), Greg Maud (South Africa), Victoria James (Wales)
Base Camp Manager: Henry Todd
Guide: Kenton Cool
Watch my Everest documentary trailer here: