A group of Black thrillseekers known as the Full Circle Everest Expedition is planning to be the first all-Black team to climb Mount Everest. Located between Nepal and Tibet in the Himalayas, the mountain is the highest peak globally at 29,029 feet.
The Full Circle Everest Expedition is being led by Philip Henderson. Henderson has more than 30 years of experience in mountain climbing and led an all-Black team to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in 2018, also a first.
Manoah Ainuu, Fred Campbell, Abby Dione, Demond Mullins, Rosemary Saal, James Kagambi, Thomas Moore, Emilé Zynobia Newman and Eddie Tayler will climb Mount Everest with Henderson.
Only one percent of mountain climbers are Black, and Henderson has been helping to diversify the primarily all-white sport for many years. He told Men’s Journal that climbing the highest peak in the world is the ultimate test for a mountain climber.
“Because it’s Everest, it’s an iconic mountain to climb for anyone who’s into mountaineering,” he said. “The other part of it—we could climb other mountains in the Himalaya—it’s a test. It’s a piece of experience in someone’s mountaineering career. It’s about the Sherpa people and working with them. It’s sharing that connection with other American climbers who haven’t been to the Himalaya.”
Taylor also wants to help diversify mountain climbing by inspiring others to experience outdoor sports.
“That’s the hope, that we give visibility and normalize this experience for Black folks,” said Taylor. “If everything goes well for the expedition…the number of Black athletes to ever reach the highest point on Earth will more than double…We definitely hope this will have a lasting impact on our community. Maybe this expedition can help change that.”
The Full Circle Everest Expedition consists of 10 climbers from all over the United States and Kenya. Climbing Mount Everest is extremely dangerous, and at least 300 people have died trying to climb the peak since 1922. However, more than 4000 people have successfully made the journey.
The all-Black expedition will take about 70 days to reach the top of Mount Everest. The journey will begin sometime in 2022.