Elia Saikaly is an award-winning adventure filmmaker based in Ottawa, Canada. He has participated in over 25 world-class expeditions, always with a camera in hand, including ten to Mt. Everest. He is the only Canadian to summit the world’s tallest mountain five times. In 2021, he reached the summit of K2, the 2nd tallest mountain on Earth.
Elia is a multi-disciplined athlete, artist and entrepreneur. As a teen-ager, Elia broke the deadlift world-record in his age/weight bracket by hoisting 525 lbs. His powerlifting background, disciplined mindset, combined with his cold-water immersion training utilizing modified Qi-Gong techniques have enabled him to thrive in 8000m environments.
As a storyteller and mountaineer, Elia survived and documented the 2014, 2015 and 2019 disasters on the world’s tallest peak. His Everest imagery is regularly licensed by networks including National Geographic, Discovery, ESPN, Netflix, BBC and many more. In 2016, he co-starred with his climbing partner and friend Pasang Kaji Sherpa in Discovery Channel’s: Unclimbed – Reaching the Summit.
Through Elia’s television broadcast work as a director of photography, he has collaborated with numerous celebrity athletes including NBA champion Serge Ibaka, MLB hall of fame recipient Vladimir Guerrero, MLB star Edwin Encarnacion and many more. He won a Canadian Screen Award for his work with Rogers Sportsnet featuring former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez on a documentary entitled: Limitless. He also co-earned a CINE Golden Eagle Award for ‘On the Top’, a television series he filmed on Mt. Everest.
Elia invests his time working with NGO’s and causes close to his heart. Through his storytelling and camera, he has supported Indigenous people in Canada, the Peuls people of the Sahara in Niger, Syrian Refugees in Lebanon, persons with albinism in Africa, the Dinka and Nuer in South Sudan and beyond. For a decade, he ran his FindingLife educational program that connected tens of thousands of students to interactive real-time learning adventures. He also sits on the board of the Sir Edmund Hillary Foundation of Canada that supports the Sherpa people of Nepal.
As an inspirational speaker, Elia has spoken to dozens of corporations and organizations including high schools and Universities. His message has reached over 100 000 students. Whether inspiring online, through his production work, on stage as an inspirational speaker or through his expeditions, Elia’s core mission is to elevate, inspire and help make the world a better place.