Middle East

Mostafa Salameh: From Refugee to ‘Elite Grand Slam’ explorer

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Mariya el amraoui

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.

Mostafa Salameh
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.

Mostafa Salameh
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.

Mostafa Salameh
Salameh’s expeditions have made him a national hero in Jordan, receiving the Independence Medal and being knighted by King Abdullah II.
Mostafa Salameh
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.
Mostafa Salameh
Salameh also found the freezing temperatures a challenge, particularly coming from the desert.