Friday, April 12, 2024
No menu items!

Of Mountains and Of Men – Omar Samra’s Tale

Of Mountains and Of Men - Omar Samra’s Tale

Omar Samra grew up with severe asthma. He was a scrawny kid who looked better suited to indoor activities and cautious play. But he refused to let his physical condition put a limit on his drive and his dreams. Born in 1978, Samra turned to sports to overcome his asthma, and fell in love with climbing when he was 16; after he had summited a snowy mountain in the Swiss Alps. After his Swiss experience, he went on to trek and climb extensively in the UK, Himalayas, Alps, Andean, Patagonian and Central American mountain ranges. Other adventures include traversing the Costa Rican jungle in 3 weeks, cycling across the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, around Andalusia in Spain and from London to Paris. Thereafter, he made inquiries about climbing Mount Everest. He was thrown aback initially by the extent and volume of preparation involved, but with great and sometimes rare wisdom, he decided to start by understanding the skills he would need to acquire and began breaking down that one big goal into many smaller and more achievable ones. Thoughts to live by.

So did he succeed? Samra summited Mount Everest on 17th March 2007 after 9 weeks of climbing. He reached its peak at precisely 9:49 am Nepal time (roughly 7:19 am Egyptian time) and became the first Egyptian to do so. At the commencement of training in preparation for this life-changing event, there were roughly 30 to 40 interested parties but after one month of training, planning and a climbing trip in the Scottish winter, that number quickly dwindled to 4. Those four became the core Everest team and trained together for the 18-months preceding the Everest expedition.

When asked about what sparked the idea of climbing Everest, Omar said:

“Everest is regarded as one of, if not the most challenging of human conquests. I was passionate about climbing and a great believer that one should always challenge their own perception of where their boundaries lie. Everest seemed like an irrational challenge for an Egyptian, so I embraced it wholeheartedly. This feeling grew stronger when I realized that no Egyptian had attempted, let alone stood, on the roof of the world. The desire and pride of representing my country and raising the Egyptian flag on the highest points on earth has been with me ever since.” – Omar Samra

In April 2008, Samra climbed the highest mountain in Africa- Mount Kilimanjaro {Tanzania}. In August 2008, he climbed Mount Elbrus {Russia}, the highest mountain in Europe. In April 2009, Samra climbed Carstenz Pyramid {Indonesia} the highest mount in Australasia. On 1st February, 2011, he summited Aconcagua {Argentina}, the highest mountain in South America, alone and unsupported.  On 5th January, 2012, Omar succeeded in reaching the highest point on the Antarctic continent which means he is just one mountain away from reaching his desired goal of climbing the highest mountains on the 7 continents. During this climb, Omar faced -50C temperatures, 70km/hr. winds and the challenge of living for 2 weeks in 24 hours of sunlight which disrupts ones sleeping patterns.


Just in case you think he is a loafer with nothing better to do, Samra graduated from the American University in Cairo (AUC) in 2000 with a BA in Economics and a minor in Business Administration. He was also awarded an MBA degree at the London Business School in 2007 with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. Between his bachelors and masters level education, Samra worked with HSBC in London and Hong Kong. He subsequently moved back to Cairo to work for Actis in the field of Private Equity.

In May 2009, Samra founded Wild Guanabana (, the Middle East & North Africa’s first carbon-neutral travel company specializing in non-traditional, exotic and adventure travel which has offices in Cairo and Dubai. Samra also helped found “The Right To Climb”, an initiative to raise funds and awareness for mental disability in Egypt through climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. To this day, 40 climbers have helped raise over $200,000 for mental disability in Egypt. Samra’s experiences have made him a sought after motivational speaker and celebrity around the world.

Samra hopes the mountains he has conquered both literal and metaphorical will resonate with others so that they become better by pushing their own limits.

“I hope that everything that I’ve done and everything I do in the future will inspire people to push beyond their own boundaries; to understand that the challenges that we face or the limitations that we think about only lie in our mind and that we basically can accomplish anything that we set out to do.”

Inspired words indeed. How do intend to summit that challenge you may be facing? Remember, you may have to conquer it bit by bit, but one day, you will raise your head and see that it has been done. Completed. Finito. Preparation is also quintessential. If that grand opportunity you have been waiting on comes through suddenly, are you altogether ready to tackle it head on? Do share with us in the comments section below.

Previous article
Next article
Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
5 Things You Didn't Know About Jennifer in 2015: 1. Her newest collection of short stories, 'The Curious Case of the Small Pikin & Other Stories' is available on 2. She ported from Blogger to WordPress and shares her uncensored thoughts on 3. She is an aspiring Filmmaker & Talk-show Host[ess] 4. She's a mother of two, wife of one and daughter of God. 5. She plans to travel around the world in less than 80 days... Now you Know! Find me on Twitter: @jennynkem

Related Articles


  1. I am inspired. Thank you for this lovely article… Samra’s medical condition was enough to discourage him but he chose to summit mountains which most men without any health issues can’t. Truly, if u can imagine it, u can achieve it.

Leave a Reply

Stay Connected


Latest Articles