Maxime Edgard Chaya
Maxime Chaya was born in Beirut on December 16, 1961.
He was the first Lebanese to climb Mount Everest on May 15, 2006, he completed the Seven Summits challenge.
On December 28, 2007, Maxime became as well the first from the Middle East to reach the South Pole on foot from the Antarctic coast, after an unsupported and unassisted journey that lasted 47 days.
On April 25, 2009, he reached the North Pole on foot, all the way from Canada.
In 1999, Maxim founded his own company VO2MAX, and through it, organized races and competitions for Lebanese youth of all ages in different sport disciplines like Cycling, Mountain Cycling, Mountain Bike, Triathlon, Road running, trail-running, rock climbing, ski touring and freeride.
Besides organizing events, Maxime showed great interest in competing personally, and seemed to excel in every discipline he would adopt. Despite the lack of professional training and advice (his country was at war), his rigorous training, coupled with unfailing determination, perseverance and willpower won him several awards and trophies in a host of disciplines both at national and international level.
Since his partnership with Bank Audi on the “Seven Summits Project” in January 2003, it has been one successful expedition after another for Maxime, acquiring experience, knowledge and wisdom, while discovering new limits within him, and ‘Growing Beyond His Potential’ summit after summit.
Recently, on August 5, 2013, Maxime beat the world record in rowing the Indian Ocean. The three adventurers, Maxime, the Faroese Livar Nysted and the British Stuart Kershaw crossed 5, 801,169 km from Geraldton in the east of Australia and rowed alternatively, during 57 days, 19 hours, 25 minutes and 52 seconds exactly. They were also the first crew of three to cross the Indian Ocean.
Maxim’s major Sport achievements.
- National champion in several disciplines including squash, cross-country skiing, and cycling.
- 4 times winner of the Redbull Sno-to-Sea (Lebanon – 2003 to 2006)
- Numerous national representations at international events.
- 2nd overall: “Trophée du Nil” (Egypt – 1998)
- 3rd overall: “Raid Thai” (Thailand – 1999)
- 1st place: “Kenya Sports Safari” (Kenya – 2001)
- 23rd: UCI World Masters Championships (Canada – 2001)
- Among the first Lebanese to complete an “Ironman” triathlon (the Netherlands – 2002)
In the year 2000, while visiting Kenya for an international mountain-bike stage race that he won, Maxime went on to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Little did he know that this was to be the first of his ‘Seven Summits’, and as he watched the sunrise from the roof of Africa, he pondered over his desire to challenge himself yet further on these new sports grounds in the great outdoors: the high mountain.
Over a three-year climbing odyssey, Maxime took on each of the ‘Seven Summits’ (the highest peak on each continent), raising the Lebanese flag -and national pride- on every occasion. Still intent on thriving, Maxime subsequently went on to achieve the ‘Three Poles’.
In 2006, Discovery Channel launched a reality television series entitled Everest: Beyond the Limit. It is a multi-episode documentary that portrays the two-month expedition and the struggles, highs, lows, triumphs and despairs of 11 climbers aspiring to stand on the summit of the world’s highest peak. Maxime was one of those climbers. The series turned-out to be a tremendous success to the point that it was repeated in subsequent years, with different climbers in what was known as Series II and Series III.
On April 25 2009, Maxime and his two teammates from the USA reached the North Pole -N90- after a 53 days on the ice unassisted. He then became the 16th person to achieve Three Poles Challenge and the 6th the in history ever to achieve the Seven Summits and the The Three Poles Challenge.
On June 9, 2013 aboard his rowboat “tRIO”. Along with his two crew mates from the Faroe Islands and England they reached Mauritius. 57 days later on August 5. The trio were awarded two Guinness World Records when the Ocean Rowing Society homologated their time as the fastest row across the Indian Ocean in 57 days 15 hours 49 minutes. They are also the first three-man crew ever to row an ocean. Maxime is believed to be the only person ever to have succeeded in climbing the Seven Summits, reaching the Three Poles Challenge and rowing an ocean.
- Mont Blanc (France)
- Cho Oyu (Tibet / Nepal)
- Mount Aspiring (New Zealand)
- The Geographical North Pole (the Arctic Circle)
- The South Pole (Antarctica)
- Mount Ama Dablam (Nepal)
- The Matterhorn (Switzerland / Italy)
Lebanese Flag was raised on all Seven Summits.
- Mount Kilimanjaro – 5,895m (Tanzania – September 2001)
- Mount McKinley/Denali – 6,196m (Alaska – June 2003)
- Aconcagua – 6,961m (Argentina – January 2004)
- Vinson Massif – 4,892m (Antarctica – December 2004)
- Mount Elbrus – 5,642m (Russia – July 2005)
- Carstensz Pyramid – 4,884m (Indonesia – November 2005)
- Mount Everest – 8,848m (Tibet/ Nepal – May 2006)
Awards and recognition
- December 2003: Knighted by the President of the Republic. “National order of the Cedar” Rank: Knight.
- May 2006: Decorated by the President of the Republic. “National order of the Cedar” – Rank: Officer.
- May 2008: Awarded the “Paul Harris Fellowship” by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
Steep Dreams: My journey to the Top of the World.