My mission is to share my experiences and the stories of the incredible people I meet on my adventures with the goal to inspire you to shape and live your most meaningful and extraordinary life.

Rather than write out all of my accomplishments in the third person, I’d prefer you explore my journey for yourself in the chronological timeline below which takes you right back to the days of my bright red mohawk. From breaking a world record as a teenager who was written off by most, to summiting Mt. Everest three times, working with students in schools, breaking my back, surviving two avalanches, building classrooms in Kenya, using my filmmaking as a tool to create positive change, collaborating with charities around the world and supporting the beautiful people I’ve met along way who have taught me so much.

This is my journey.

My Timeline

Summit of Ama Dablam

On November 12th, 2019, I reached the summit of Ama Dablam, the jewel of the SoluKhumbu region in Nepal and one of the most beautiful mountains on Earth.

Top of the World – Summit #3

On May 23rd, 2019, I stood on top of the world for the 3rd time and documented it every step of the way.  'The Dream of Everest' production was a huge success. The film is set to be released late 2019.

Dream of Everest – Success!

After a year of planning and failed fundraising attempts, I decided to risk it all and pulled the production, together including the financing, in less than 5 days. On May 23rd, after 8 weeks of filming on Mt. Everest, the entire team of Arab women made history and stood on top of the world.

The Dream of Everest

Four Arab women are putting it all on the line and attempting to reach the highest point on Earth. “The Dream of Everest” is a feature length documentary that chronicles the story of these inspiring women from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Oman as they train and prepare to climb to the summit of Mt. Everest.

VanLife Europe

The wild and crazy plan to drive my 1975 Pistachio Green van from Ottawa, Canada to a land far far away. Europe is but the beginning. Currently parked by the sea in Turkey after traveling through 12 countries. The adventure continues, June 2019.

Team Albinism on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

I poured my heart and soul into this project. I witnessed injustice and crimes committed against persons with albinism and needed to do something about it. This campaign is that promise. Feature documentary to be released in 2020.

2018 – Lebanon – Quest for Everest

As part of a larger vision to inspire women across the MENA region, I created this short 4 minute video featuring Joyce Azzam and her quest to climb the 7 Summits of the world.

2018 – Mt Kenya – Climb for Albinism

The Climb for Albinism preparation climb to Mt. Kenya was a success! This project has been my has been a labour of love for the last two years and is finally coming to fruition. These incredible women are going to change the world.

2018 – UAE – Dreams Becoming

Two months on road in the UAE and surrounding regions. I’ve been working on developing a very special project that I believe is going to make a significant impact on this part of the world.

2018 – Gemini winner

I won my first Gemini Award at the Canadian Screen Awards! Best Documentary for Aaron Sanchez ; Limitless.

2018 – January – Persons with Albinsim

Winston Churchill said:  "We occasionally stumble across the truth, but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."  I happened to have stumbled across the truth in this instance and I’m doing something about it. I’m off to Africa to meet the women who are entrusting me to climb Kilimanjaro this fall.

2017 – Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

I had the honour of working with Syrian refugees in my home country of Lebanon, in partnership with Generations for Peace and the Intiraymi Fund.

2017 – The Dalai Lama

It was a tremendous honour and lifetime/career highlight to work with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his temple in Dharamsala.

2017 – Vanlife

I fell in love, bought a 1975 Vintage Van and hit the road with my gypsy co-pilot and had the most outstanding summer of my life!

2017 – Journey to Leh

They say four wheels moves the body and two wheels move the soul. I explored the extraordinary landscapes of Leh, Ladakh. A land that time forgot, forged only in dreams.

2017 – Everest Basecamp

It’s back to Everest basecamp for me, a little assignment in the Himalayas and an opportunity to reignite the soul.

2017 – FindingLife Reborn

The new FindingLife platform is deep in development. Looking forward to sharing the results with the world! It’s been my life’s work since I was 26 and now it’s all coming

2016 – Hillary and Tenzing Peaks

The expedition begins! Our goal is climb two Unclimbed peaks in Nepal named after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

2016 – World Premiere – Unclimbed – Reaching the Summit

The story of my life is featured in a series that I helped create with the team at Bell Media called 'Unclimbed - Reaching the Summit', sponsored by Jeep. The 8-part digital series can been seen here.

2016 – Unclimbed – A Discovery Channel Series

Production begins on “Unclimbed - Reaching the Summit” with Discovery Canada.

Adrenaline Philanthropy

I traveled through Jordan with my David McGrain in support of his work with the IntiRaymi Fund in collaboration with my friends from Generations for Peace who are working with Syrian Refugees in host communities in Jordan.

2016 – Africa and the IRF

I set out on a humanitarian mission once again with my friend David McGrain from the Intiraymi Fund. We were on a mission that took us from South Sudan, to Uganda, to Kenya and finally to Tanzania.

2015 – Jordan and the Intiraymi Fund

A expedition to Jordan to support the work of Generation for Peace with Syrian and Palestinian refugees and my friend David McGrain from the Intiraymi Fund.

2015 – Rebuilding Nepal

I returned to Nepal in search of a school rebuilding project. The country was devastated by the loss of over 8000 people, countrywide. I needed to do something to do my part to help. The students from Vincent Massey Public School raised over 10K in a single night to support the people from the village of Banakhu.

2015 – Tragedy on Everest

It’s been impossible to navigate to navigate this situation. I’ve been doing my best to feed the world media images from Everest while navigating this very sensitive and delicate terrain. My friend Dan Fredinburg was amongst the fallen. It’s been devastating. Dan, this tribute is dedicated to you my friend.  

2015 – Nepal Earthquake

Tragedy strikes on Everest! An Earthquake unleashes a deadly avalanche at Mt. Everest basecamp. I 22 people lost their lives and 52 were critically injured. I was lucky to survive.

2015 – Return to Everest

It’s been less than a year since I broke my back and I’m back! I received the green light from my medical team and I’m off to climb Everest with Under Armour! My responsibility is to document the journey every step of the way and create all of the social and documentary content. They told me I’d never climb again… I responded: watch me!

2014 – Hopeless with a Broken Back

They told me I’d never climb again. They told me my career was over. They told me I was done. Three months after the accident, confined to a body brace, I boldly accepted a contract from Under Armour to 6 of the world’s 8000m peaks in a single year. I had less than a year to recover an get ready. #IWILL

2014 – Broken Back

I nearly died while paragliding in Pokhara. I broke my L2 in 2 pieces, lacerated my liver, broken my foot and was momentarily paralyzed, alone in Nepal.

2014 – Avalanche on Everest

On April 19th, 2014, I survived the Everest avalanche that claimed the lives of 16 Sherpas. I was supposed to be filming in the icefall that day and decided to climb one day early. Tragedy has truck and it’s a devastating loss to the community.

2014 – Google Maps Nepal

It was a tremendous honour to collaborate with Google Maps and work as the head of production and Director of Photography in the field in Nepal.

Gemini Award Nominee: Whale Cove, Nunavut

In 2014, I traveled to the beautiful community of Whale Cove in Nunavut and worked with a very special group of Inuit youth. We were nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for the 30 minute special that aired on Rogers Sportsnet.

Amman Camp – Generations for Peace

My friends at Generations for Peace invited me to Jordan and asked me to create a 5-minute short film on their Peace Building work in the region. Youth from across the MENA region were in attendance along with His Royal Highness, Prince Faisal.

2013 – My Tedx Talk

I gave my first Tedx talk in Ashburn Virginia  called: FindingLife on Mt. Everest

2013 – Everest – A Time Lapse Film I

I earned my first Vimeo Staff Pick for 'Everest - A Time Lapse Film I'. The time-lapse film went viral and was shared in media outlets around the world and amassed over 1 million views.  

2013 – 2nd Everest Summit

My 2nd Everest Expedition which garnered me a CINE Golden Eagle Award for best outstanding documentary Series. FindingLife also partners with ePals.com, the once largest K-12 social network for kids.

2013 – Aconcagua

Back on Aconcagua for the 2nd time, once again with the team of Arabs from the GCC region. We summited in less than ideal conditions and I reached the summit for the 2nd time.

2012 – Mt Elbrus

Another summit of Europe’s highest peak. As always, camera in hand, but this time with Arabs from the GCC region including Mohammed Althani and Raha Moharrak

2012 – Denali Centennial Climb

Meet the team from the Denali Centennial Climb. I invested 4 years of my life into creating this expedition with the descendants of the team who were the first to summit the mountain in 1913. The team eventually made it to the summit in 2013 and commemorated the heroes from 1913, most importantly Walter Harper who was the first man in history to stand on the roof of North America.

2011 – Mt. Cho Oyu

We set our sights on the 6th highest mountain on Earth - Mt.Cho Oyu and called it “Our Cho Oyu Challenge - What’s Yours?”. Once again, the goal was to share the journey with students in real-time on the FindingLife platform. After the evacuation and rescue of my friend, Khiery, Dawa Tenzing and I returned to the mountain and reached the summit of the 6th highest mountain on Earth.

2011 – Peru

I was called to explore the jungle, the Sacred Valley and high mountains of Peru. The beginning of a life long relationship with this beautiful country.

2011 – Garnier FindingLife Expedition to Africa

One of the most important and meaningful projects of my career was the Garnier FindingLife expedition to Africa. We paired up 6 students from Canada with 6 students from Kenya, climbed Mt. Kenya, build schools in Solio, empowered a community, changed lives and shared the journey with thousands of student online via FindingLife.

2011 – Our Part of the World

For two years, I had the honour of being the adventurer featured in a bilingual television series called “Our Part of the World”. I visited the 15 Canadian UNESCO world heritage sites and learned about the history and culture of each of this historical locations.

2010 – Kilimanjaro

In the summer of 2010, I embarked on an adventure to Mt. Kilimanjaro with my close friend Khiery Samakkieh from Climb for Lebanon.

2010 – Return to Everest

In the spring of 2010, I returned to Everest and launched FindingLife and brought 20 000 kids along with me, virtually. We shared the journey in real-time, shot, cut and delivered a 12-part webisodic series to our student community. The 5 year journey came to close and Sean Egan’s spirit made it to the top of the world.

2010 – seVen

seVen - The dream to unite Arabs from several nations across the Middle East and North Africa region. We shot the pilot on Mt. Toubkal in Morocco, but unfortunately were not able to fund the project. We were ahead of our time with this idea, which eventually took shape in various other forms.

2009 – North Side of Everest

I decided to support my friend Gabriel Filippi on his quest to carry a signed Montreal Canadians flag to the top of the world. In the end, we didn’t make it because of the weather, but we managed to live out an epic adventure were the last three men standing on Everest that season

2009 – FindingLife Expeditions in the classroom

What was far more important than summiting Aconcagua, was pioneering and testing ideas while building relationships with teachers who believed in my ideas of connecting students to adventures around the world. Here’s a glimpse into one school’s experience of sharing in the FindingLife pilot project.

2009 – Aconcagua

I teamed up with my friend Dr. Norm O’Reilly from Laurentian University and embarked on an expedition to Mt. Aconcagua. We climbed as a team man team, piloted concepts for FindingLife while Norm was conducting research for an ethnography project where I was the subject as was the journey of FindingLife.

2008 – FindingLife Movie

The FindingLife movie officially premiers in Ottawa, Canada. We sold out the venue and it was an incredible evening in honour of Dr. Sean Egan. We won two awards for film: The Public Choice Award and the Heart of the Jury prize from the Montreal International Adventure Film Festival.

2008 – Mt Elbrus

My friend Omar Samra and I set our sights on Mt. Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe. During transit, war erupted between Georgia and Russia setting an unusual tone for this incredible adventure. In the end two Egyptians and I reached the summit. This expedition was the beginning of my parallel journey in reconnecting with my Arab origins and using the platform of mountains to inspire change.

2008 – The Well

Meanwhile, I began speaking to students in schools in the Ottawa area. Over the course of a year I shared the journey with tens of thousands of students in over 75 schools. Together, in honour of Sean, we raised the money to build a well in Kathmandu for the children from ChildHaven.

2008 – Denali

After putting myself back together after the failure on Everest, I began to climb out of the mess that I was after giving everything up to chase the dream of honuoring Sean’s life. I began with the highest point in North America and landed solo on the summit.

2007 – Defeated by Everest

After two months on Everest, I failed to reach the summit.. We came within 500ft of the top of the world and had to turn around because of the weather. I was destroyed and heartbroken and beaten up by Everest.

2007 – First attempt on Everest

My first attempt on Everest after taking a massive risk with pretty much everything. I sold my car, my condo, cashed in my life’s savings, borrowed $38K from my best friends and embarked on a journey that would forever change my life. This video produced by my friend Joel Haslam really captures the spirit of the journey.

2006 – Sean’s Chorten

The heart of my journey was about honouring the life of my friend Dr. Sean Egan. Little did I know, something far greater was taking shape…

2006 – My first mountain climb was Everest

My goal was to climb to camp 2 on Mt. Everest, retrace Sean's footsteps as a first time climber, film the experience and build Sean a Chorten to honour his life.

2006 – Africa

My first trip to Africa in search of answers. I lived this incredible journey with one of my childhood friends and his mother Louise. My journey to the Sahara not only made me fall in love with Africa, but planted some very important seeds that would one day evolve into a profound love and commitment to the continent and her people.

2005 – My first trip to Nepal

Never having traveled before, I embarked on a mission to the base of Mt. Everest to document the climb of my friend Dr. Sean Egan. He tragically died during the expedition triggering a chain of life changing events that would dramatically change the course and direction of my life.

2002 – My Early 20’s

I zig zagged my way through life for a few years exploring the other side of the lens. I worked as an actor and model while honing my skills as a producer, editor, cameraman and director. This is all quite funny to watch in retrospect, but an important part in my journey, nonetheless.

1999 – Mr. VJ

As I was rebelling and finding my way in life as a kid, I spent a great deal of time writing and playing  music in a punk rock band. I submitted this video and song to Much Music and was selected as a finalist to appear on National television on the Nation’s Music Station.

1997 – Delinquent to World Champion

The team at Discovery Channel created a 4 minute video telling the story of how I transformed from delinquent to world champion powerlifter. The narrative is shared between my 18 year old and 38 year old self.

1996 – Club Avatar

Meet the 17 year old version of Elia Saikaly. It all begins here, my foundation was formed in this little gym in Aylmer, Quebec called Club Avatar.

Media Coverage

Everest – The Summit Climb

Outside

Outside Online shares my latest short film: Everest - The Summit Climb with their audience and followers online.

Everest the Summit Climb

Spiegel Online

Spiegel Online, one of the leading media agencies in Germany, shared some of the behind the scenes details on what it took to create "Everest - The Summit Climb".

This is what summiting Everest looks like

Gear Junkie

The press continues with the coverage of Everest - The Summit Climb, a raw and unfiltered edit of the final climb to the top of the world.

Behind the scenes on Everest

Huffington Post

An in depth article I wrote for the Huffington Post with detailed breakdowns on how I created my latest Everest - Time Lapse Film.

The Summit of Everest

North Face Brazil

The North Face Brazil share the Everest Summit Climb video with their audience in South America.

Everest – A Time Lapse Film II

Outside

Outside Magazine promoted my latest Time Lapse Film on the channels and featured the video on their website for their audiences to experience.

Un Canadien filme en deux ans un time-lapse impressionnant

France 3

A leading French broadcaster shares my "Everest - A Time Lapse Film II" film and explores the behind the scenes effort it took to create this short film.

Extreme Effort Yields Time Lapse Film

CBC

Mario Carlucci from the CBC called me during an ice climbing session to discuss how I created my latest "Everest - A Time Lapse Film II".

Dazzling Time Lapse of Mt. Everest at Night

Peta Pixel

Peta Pixel cover my latest film entitled: "Everest a Time Lapse Film II".

La Prochaine Aventure

SRC Radio Canada

Jean Luc Brassard from Radio Canada and I sat down in the studio in Montreal and discussed Everest and my real-time interactions with students in schools across Canada. The interview was conducted in French.

Dessine Moi un Dimanche

SRC Radio Canada

Jean Luc Brassard, Radio Canada host and former Olympian, took it upon himself to share my journey on his colleague's talk radio show in French.

FindingLife in Adventure Filmmaking

VideoMaker Magazine

VideoMaker magazine did an in-depth article on my life, exploring the very early days of  my career spanning back to 1996. Plenty of Everest, insight, things you didn't know about me including my contribution to the Hollywood film "Everest" starring Josh Brolin and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Future of Adventure Film and Television

Explorers Web

The team from ExploresWeb did an in-depth interview on my experience as an adventure filmmaker who has been producing near real-time content on Mt. Everest since 2007. We discuss technology, cameras and the difficulties creating content from high altitude environments.

Not Prepared to Die

Ottawa Citizen

After returning to the 'Unclimbed' Hillary Peak in Nepal, after rescuing our team leader Gabriel Filippi, we were forced to abandon our climb due to the closing weather window and dangerous avalanche conditions. The Ottawa Citizen reports.

Discovery Channel’s ‘Unclimbed’ – 1-Hour TV special trailer

The official trailer for the one-hour broadcast special of 'Unclimbed- Reaching the Summit'

Discovery Channel – Training for Unclimbed

Daily Planet's final instalment on our preparation for scaling two Unclimbed peaks in the Himalayas.

Discovery – Dangers of Unclimbed

Daily Planet breaks down the risks we are taking with our ambitious goal of attempting two Unclimbed peaks named in honour of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

Nepali, Canadian mountaineers to scale ‘virgin’ Nepal peaks

Himalayan TImes

The Himalayan Times report on our attempt to climb two Unclimbed Peaks in Nepal.

Return to Nepal after surviving avalanche

Ottawa Citizen

Blair Crawford from the Ottawa Citizen eloquently recaps my life journey and sets up the challenge ahead of us to climb two Unclimbed Peaks named after Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa.

Unclimbed – Reaching the Summit

Bell Media

It's official! Bell Media announces our exciting partnership with Jeep and the 1-hr broadcast special and 8-part digital series airing on Discovery Channel.

Discovery Channel’s Unclimbed – Official Trailer

The official trailer for Discover Channel's Unclimbed - Reaching the Summit.

Filmmaker survives Everest avalanche

Global News

Global News covered the Nepal Earthquake and interviewed me the day after the tragic events than unfolded on April 25th, 2015.

Saikaly documents Nepal Earthquake

CBC

While sitting on a rock at 17, 000ft, a hundred feet from the makeshift hospital at Mt. Everest basecamp, I spoke to the CBC about surviving the Everest avalanche that claimed the lives of 22 climbers during the Nepal Earthquake.

Filmmaker Survives Avalanche

CTV

CTV called my satellite phone and shared my experience with my hometown of Ottawa, Canada of surviving the Nepal Earthquake at Mt. Everest basecamp on April 25th, 2015.

CTV – Garnier FindingLife Expedition to Africa

The team from CTV invited me on the nightly news to talk about about my latest initiative 'The Garnier FindingLife Expedition to Africa'.

Radio Canada – FindingLife

I shared the FindingLife journey in French with Radio Canada during this 10-minute interview segment. We also touched on La Part Du Monde, a series currently in production that I am hosting.

Canada AM – On top of the world

I caught up with the Canada AM shortly after reaching the top of the world.

Everest – Real Time Web Series

CBC

CBS News covered my FindingLife on Mt. Everest expedition and promoted the real-time content we were producing for students across Canada.

Discovery Channel – FindingLife on Mt Everest

I sat down with the team from Discovery's 'Daily Planet' and discussed some of the technology I am using to share the journey in real-time with Canadian students.

A-Channel – FindingLife on Mt. Everest

Today my friend Lianne Liang from A-Channel and I discussed the latest expedition and real-time interaction for students on Mt. Everest.

CP24 – Webnation – FindingLife on Mt. Everest

Amber Mac from WebNation and I talk technology and how I'm going to be sharing the real-time journey to the summit of Mt. Everest with Canadian students.

CBC – FindingLife on Mt. Everest

CBC visited Vincent Massey Public school and covered the preparation with the students and faculty.

CTV – The FindingLife Story

Joel Haslam from CTV created a touching and beautiful 12-minute story about FindingLife, my personal story and my friend Dr. Sean Egan.

Rogers – FindingLife on Daytime

I stopped by the Rogers television studio to share the journey to Everest in honour of my friend Dr. Sean Egan.

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