A FORMER city hotel worker who quit his job to climb Mount Everest has become the first Jordanian to scale the highest peaks on each of the world’s continents.
Mostafa Mahmoud Salameh, from Bruntsfield, resigned from his job as food and beverages manager at the Sheraton in 2004 to embark on the life-altering challenge of scaling the world’s highest mountain.
Not content with just reaching the 8850m summit, however, the 42-year old has gone on to complete the Seven Summits challenge and become a Jordanian national hero into the bargain – he has been knighted by the Middle Eastern state.
Last Friday, the Queen Margaret University graduate reached the summit of the Carstenz Pyramid in Indonesia, finishing an eight-year odyssey which has seen him scale Everest along the border of Nepal and Tibet/China; Mount McKinley in Alaska; the Vinson Massif in Antarctica; Aconcagua in Argentina; Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Elbrus in Russia.
He said: “It’s a relief to finally complete them all. I head to Jordan next week to hand the flag back to the king of Jordan. It was easily the toughest trek I’ve ever done, just getting to the mountain through dense Indonesian jungle was an ordeal.
“It would take us a whole day just to complete 200 metres, there are also about 50 different tribes living in the area and we would have to stop and trade with each one.
“Everest base camp was a walk in the park in comparison.”
He added: “After weeks with no shower, eating rice for breakfast lunch and dinner, I finally made it to the top of a giant, jagged rock, raising the Jordanian flag on the last of my Seven Summits.”
The intrepid explorer still calls Edinburgh home, though, and regularly returns to the city.
He said: “Edinburgh is my base and I return every couple of weeks. The next time I’m back I will go to a few schools and give some talks. My wife is pregnant at the moment and we are going to have a second child in four weeks time so this will be my next summit.”
Following the birth of his child, Mostafa will begin training for his next adventure in January and is planning a 60-day hike to the South Pole before flying to Norway to begin a journey to the North Pole.
He added: “If successful I will become one of only 25 people in the world to complete both the Seven Summits and both poles. My plan is to complete the South Pole in November 2013 and finish the North Pole in April 2014.”
Next April, Mostafa will also lead 20 Jordanian celebrities to Everest base camp to raise more than a million dollars (£625,000) for the King Hussein Cancer Foundation.