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Elia Saikaly

Award-winning adventure filmmaker, professional speaker and high altitude mountaineer.

Elia has participated in 16 expeditions around the world and has stood on the summit of Everest twice, always with cameras in-hand.  He is the founder of, an adventure learning platform that inspires and empowers young people to live out their dreams and contribute to making the world a better place. As a professional speaker, Elia brings the world above 8000m to life for his audiences and shares emotional human stories that stir the soul and inspire action in all who attend his conferences. His unique style of combining his filmmaking with powerful storytelling separate his presentations from many others. He is represented by Speakers Spotlight. When not working on outdoor adventure projects, Elia can be found supporting the work of NGOs around the world. From Syrian refugees, to internally displaced people in South Sudan, to Africans living with Albinism in East Africa. Elia uses his craft as a filmmaker to invoke and inspire positive change. He recently co-starred in television series on Discovery Canada entitled: Unclimbed - Reaching the Summit. The episodes can be seen here:
Our Bond Is Our Strength On This Himalayan

Our Bond Is Our Strength On This Himalayan Expedition

We're carrying everything ourselves that we need to survive including 2,000 metres of safety lines, ice screws, snow pickets, biners, stoves, gas and personal climbing gear, not to mention a whole whack of camera gear as my other responsibility is to film and photograph this climb every step of the way. Why you ask?
09/27/2016 01:57 EDT
How I Made a Time-Lapse Film of Mount Everest

How I Made a Time-Lapse Film of Mount Everest [VIDEO]

I'm honestly blown away at how many people have connected with my video, Everest -- Time Lapse Short Film. My goal was to bring to life the majestic beauty of the Himalayas and draw attention away from the negativity that has surrounded Everest in the past years. I wanted to remind people of the infinite possibility that the tallest mountain on Earth symbolizes in each of us.
06/19/2013 08:13 EDT
My Near-Death Experience at the Top of Mount Everest

My Near-Death Experience at the Top of Mount Everest [PHOTOS]

It's 9 p.m. on May 20 and we've been in the death zone on Mt. Everest, the world above 8,000m for just over five hours. For the first time in my life, I am terrified to fall asleep. Why? Because I'm afraid I'm not going to wake up. This is the most terrifying moment of my life. With the sound of oxygen flowing through an artificial mask, I surrender and drift away wondering whether or not I will ever wake up.
05/31/2013 12:12 EDT
How to Become an Adventure

How to Become an Adventure Filmmaker

All of a sudden your Canon 24-70mm lens hood goes flying off the side of the mountain. This is the nature of my job as a high altitude filmmaker. How can you become an adventure filmmaker? I've taken what I've learned over the past eight years and outlined a series of steps for you to take to land your dream job of becoming a globe-trotting adventure filmmaker.
03/07/2013 08:12 EST
How I Designed My Dream Life (and How You Can

How I Designed My Dream Life (and How You Can Too)

This morning I rode shotgun in a helicopter and flew though the Himalayas. I trekked through the trails in the Solo-Khumbu, encountered yaks, donkeys, suspension bridges, porters, stunning mountains and beautiful children. For me, this is my ultimate dream. It isn't luck, it isn't a gift, it's something called life-design. How did all of that happen you ask?
11/06/2012 05:30 EST
So You Want to Climb Mount

So You Want to Climb Mount Elbrus

I'll never forget the day I was sitting in the airport lounge in Atlanta in 2008, on my way to Russia to climb the highest mountain in Europe, when I looked up at the monitor and read the headline "War erupts between Russia and Georgia". My flight was set to depart to Russia in less than 45 minutes.
08/21/2012 07:11 EDT
Finding Community in

Finding Community in Peru

Since my departure from Canada five days ago, I've flown from Lima to Cusco, met up and spent time with my friend's in Cusco, rented a 4x4, explored various remote regions in the Sacred Valley, developed the FindingLife 2014 student initiative, paragliding, mountain biking and canyoning were all part of the agenda.
07/25/2012 04:33 EDT
In the Travelling Life, Indecision Is Your

In the Travelling Life, Indecision Is Your Friend

My soul yearned to travel, but my body and mind were deeply afraid. This is where I made a decision: Certainty or uncertainty? The unknown was my compass and I decided to follow in the footsteps of uncertainty. The answer, I felt, was to be found deep in the Amazon forest. I had no idea what I was in for.
06/22/2012 08:31 EDT
Why People Die on Everest (And How I

Why People Die on Everest (And How I Didn't)

The story of the Canadian climber who died -- Shriya Shah-Klorfine -- has evolved. It now appears as though she was advised to turn around several times by the local sherpas and that she carried on beyond her limit. I am alive today because I had the humility to accept defeat on Everest, not once, but twice.
05/28/2012 12:13 EDT
Are You Living Your Most Adventurous

Are You Living Your Most Adventurous Life?

The greatest tragedy in life is never having tried and never having lived. Life is about experience and if you're not growing, learning, loving, contributing, experiencing, succeeding and evolving, then what are you doing in your life?
01/10/2012 01:51 EST
The Summit of Cho Oyu, Part 2: Between Life and

The Summit of Cho Oyu, Part 2: Between Life and Death

Imagine being in total darkness, knowing if you fall you die, and being so completely out of breath and energy that you can only move forward an inch at a time. I'm wasted. Finished. Out of energy. My only savior at this point is the sun.
10/19/2011 09:56 EDT
Summiting Tibet's Mount Cho Oyu (Part

Summiting Tibet's Mount Cho Oyu (Part I)

The reality here is this: People die on 8,000-meter mountains and it is irresponsible not to have a plan in place in the event that something goes wrong. I found myself packing all of my gear as though I was never going to return.
10/17/2011 02:32 EDT
Not Without My Baby: Crossing the Tibetan

Not Without My Baby: Crossing the Tibetan Border

Imagine strapping a propane tank and a 40 pound duffle bag to your head by way of a burlap strap and hauling the weight up a hill at 8,000 feet above sea level. Could you do it? Now imagine you have an infant strapped to the front of your chest.
10/14/2011 10:04 EDT
Tragedy High Above the

Tragedy High Above the Clouds

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10/08/2011 08:20 EDT
Giving Up on a Dream to Save a

Giving Up on a Dream to Save a Life

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10/01/2011 07:10 EDT
Why Challenge

Why Challenge Ourselves?

It's that time of year again when uncertainty takes precedence over all that is routine, familiar and predictable. No matter
09/07/2011 01:16 EDT