Sirak Seyoum came to the US with his parents both PhD’s, to Lansing, Michigan. His father, a Parasitologist and mother in Public Health & Education, naturally stressed the importance of education and setting goals for all their children. Sirak excelled academically and accomplished his educational goal by graduating as an Electrical Engineer from Michigan Tech University (MTU). Upon graduation, he has been continuously working in his field for over 10 years, and currently working for Titanium Metals Corporation in Henderson, Nevada.
Sirak recounts the genesis of his mission to Climb Mt. Everest, “After repeated invites by a co-worker to go hiking, I finally accepted one to Black Mountain located in Henderson, Nevada. I thought it would be easy, even boring. So to add a little challenge to the climb, I wore a 22 pound weighted vest along with water and snacks to the mountain. Little did I know about climbing, but on that day, I felt as if I was carrying a ton up that mountain. That challenge was the labor to the birth of my passion for mountain climbing. From that day on, all my leisure time was spent climbing the high peaks of Nevada and California.”
Sirak continues, “After noticing my enthusiasm and passion for climbing, a close friend suggested I climb Mt. Everest representing Ethiopia, my country. Though shocked by the magnitude of the mission in the beginning, it was a goal that was reachable. We envisioned the glory of placing our flag on top of the world, joining the ranks of others mostly that of the developed world, whose nationals were triumphant in accomplishing this feat. A goal was set to climb Mt. Everest with the Ethiopian flag. This goal, we will accomplish!”
1. When did you start climbing?
I started climbing while residing in Nevada, in March of 2008.
2. What was the first mountain you climbed?
The first mountain I climbed is called BLACK MOUNTAIN located in Henderson, Nevada.
3. How long have you been climbing?
3 years this March 2011.
4. How many mountains have you climbed in Ethiopia?
I haven’t climbed any Mountains in Ethiopia. If funding for next year’s mission doesn’t meet expectation, I will make plans to visit Ethiopia to climb Mountains in the Semien region which includes Ras Dashen. The dates of these events will be released via my website soon.
5. Most people don’t dare to climb Mt. Everest…What makes you different? What’s your motivation?
I am sure there are lots of Ethiopians that share my dream and as a result of my website, I have had the pleasure of meeting a few climbers that have even made it to Everest base camp. I was always led to believe that a dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.
6. What’s your childhood background like? Did you climb a lot of trees?
I am glad you mentioned that, I remember climbing trees a lot and always liked to climb to the top of something…if it had a way up I would always attempt it, I remember one afternoon coming home with a sprained wrist, my parents weren’t home so grandfather who was visiting at that time took me to a Wegesha (local masseur) instead of the hospital. Very painful experience, but it worked.
7. What’s the purpose of climbing Mt. Everest? What do you plan to achieve?
I would like to share with you a comment from a fellow climber who was asked why risk so much to accomplish a challenge he replied “Climbing is not at all about the risks involved…to the contrary it’s all about the REWARDS we achieve from a commitment to enjoying what most people only envision…a feeling that is unlike ANY in life! The risks simply come with the territory! Those willing to experience those rewards truly understand what real living is…even at the risk of dying to achieve it! “ I couldn’t have said it better myself, I feel the same way and couldn’t think of a better place to place our flag representing Ethiopia for all to see, on top of the world.
8. Any future plans after Mt. Everest?
Not sure but possibilities are endless after Everest….
9. What’s your most memorable incident in climbing?
Dipping in the freezing Colorado River halfway across the 24 miles Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon.
10. Any tips for aspiring mountain climbers?
Keep pushing your dreams and don’t let anyone discourage you otherwise, whether it’s climbing a mountain or going to the moon…we all have mountains to climb, there is nothing we can’t achieve if we put our hearts and souls into it.
11. Your financial goals seem a bit too far at this point, what’s plan B?
My plans haven’t changed if not for this coming year 2012, my mission will be postponed to 2013. I do feel if my trip is postponed to 2013, I will include Mountains in Ethiopia as part of my training before Everest 2012 or 2013 in March. In July 2011. Therefore plan B will be the same as A but with a bit more training and experience.
For more information about Sirak, his plan and how you can help him achieve his dream, please visit his website: http://www.firstethiopianoneverest.org/