Mostafa Salameh has become the first Jordanian to complete the Explorers Grand Slam — having climbed the Seven Summits and reached the North and South poles.
Before he had a life-changing dream in 2004, which inspired him to take on the challenge, Salameh had no climbing experience, little money and couldn’t have pointed to Mount Everest on a map. He says he was motivated by a desire to inspire a young generation of Muslims from the Middle East.
He had two failed attempts at trying to climb Everest in 2005 and 2007, but in 2008 he finally reached the 29,029-foot summit. The first time he had to turn back because of a stomach ulcer, and the second attempt was scuppered by a chest infection.
Salameh’s expeditions have made him a national hero in Jordan, receiving the Independence Medal and being knighted by King Abdullah II.
It took Salameh 56 days to trek to the South Pole — and he says it was the hardest of the Grand Slam challenges. Unlike on Everest, where climbers have Sherpa people to help carry their equipment and a porter to cook meals, at the South Pole explorers have to do everything themselves.
Salameh also found the freezing temperatures a challenge, particularly coming from the desert.
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