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Defying Gravity and Social Norms: 4 of Egypt’s Women Climbers

October 3, 2022

The mountains stand sentry to the grandeur of Egypt’s landscapes, welcoming the adventurous souls of those who dared to climb.

From Mount Everest to Dahab’s Wadi Gnai, these four women have climbed to observe sprawling vistas, forging pathways and defying societal expectations – one uphill step at a time.

Manal Rostom

Manal Rostom holding the Egyptian flag
Photo via Instagram

Manal Rostom is a force to be reckoned with.

She is an Egyptian marathoner and mountaineer who recently became the first Egyptian woman to climb to the top of Mount Everest. Rostom spent two months hiking to the top of the world’s tallest mountain above sea level, an experience she described as “tough, challenging, isolating, physically demanding, and mentally draining.”

Born and raised in Kuwait, Rostom has climbed a total of seven mountains, and was the first Hijabi woman to model in a Nike Running Campaign in 2015 as well as the first Arab to be featured in an Audio Guided Run on the Global Nike Run Club App in 2018.

Manal began her adventure by climbing Sinai’s Mount St. Catherine in 2009, and participated in several marathons around the world in Luxor, Dubai, Kuwait, Amman, Jordan, China, London, and Madrid. In 2013, she climbed Mount Kenya, the second highest peak in Africa, standing at a height of 5,199 meters.

In 2015, she reached the highest peak in Europe, the summit of “Elbrus” in Russia at a height of 5,642 meters. And in 2016, she made it to the 3,563-meter-high Mount Himalaya base camp.

Amira Helmy

Amira Helmy | Photo Credit: Instagram

Nicknamed the ‘mountain goat,’ Amira Helmy is a rock climber based in Egypt.

Born and raised in the U.S, Helmy lived her life swinging between the U.S and Egypt, until she settled permanently in Dahab in July 2020.

A sports enthusiast from a young age, Helmy has played various sports, including ballet, gymnastics, swimming, basketball, and kickboxing. In 2016, Helmy started her rock-climbing journey on different routes throughout Wadi Gnai in Dahab, South Sinai.


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In 2020, she co-founded Women in the Wadi, a community of women climbers that work to empower women through connecting with nature and stepping out of their comfort zones. Alongside her partner Menna Abdelrahman, they launched their first event in Wadi Gnai in January 2020, and it has since then become a community for adventurous women in Egypt.


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Helmy is not only a believer in the power of climbing, but she also believes in the power of yoga, which has helped her grow her mental and physical strengths to excel in rock climbing.

Wafaa Amer

For Wafaa Amer, climbing is not merely a passion, but rather, a journey she embarked to find and embrace her true self.

Born in a small village of Aghur in Qalyubia, Amer made her way to Italy at the age of nine, and by the age of 15, she had discovered her love for climbing.


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Climbing to Amer was a form of freedom, a sport that liberated her, but her journey was not supported by her family from the beginning. Nevertheless continued training, and her climbing skills landed her to become one of La Sportiva’s sponsored athletes, an Italian climbing shoes brand. Her fervor and determination are also portrayed in the short film Hura (Free), directed by Italian directors Matteo Pavana and Pietro Porro.

Mariz Doss

Photo Credit: Mariz Doss.com

Mariz Doss is limitless: from being selected out of 100 Egyptian women to join the Women’s Initiative Fellowship program by George W. Bush Institute in 2013 to be a guest speaker at the Bush Center alongside inspiring figures such as Bill Gates, climbing the highest mountain in Africa, — there is nothing Doss can’t do.


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From a young age, Mariz was always a dreamer. Aside from working a 9-5 job, she also ran marathons and climbed mountains. In early 2017, Doss was inspired by her friend who reached the highest peak of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, and she challenged herself to climb it as well. On the 31st of October, 2018 – she was standing on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro – the world’s highest freestanding mountain.

In 2022, Doss participated in attempting to summit Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak, and ended up summiting four other beautiful mountains in the Alps, including at Mont Rosa Massif.

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