All-Black Climbing Team Plans to Double Number of Black People to Climb Mount Everest

The team is hoping to make history.


Measuring 29,028 feet above sea level, Mount Everest is the greatest challenge to any mountaineer alive, and each spring, hundreds of climbers attempt to reach the top. But so far, according to Insider, only over 5,000 people have ever reached the summit.

Now, an all Black team of climbers aims to rise to that challenge and make history along the way. The group of climbers, better known as Full Circle Expedition, includes nine experienced individuals. If the group is successful, they will double the number of Black climbers who have made it to the summit.

Phil Henderson, who leads the group, told Outside Business Journal that this trip "brings forward a greater conversation about Black and brown people in the outdoors and what that means: past, present, and future." Henderson adds, "Being that our entire team is made up of Black people, it is an important display of leadership, commitment, and teamwork to our community as well as the greater climbing world."

The nine-person expedition led by Henderson, a veteran Himalayan mountaineer, comprises six other men and two women. The passionate group of climbers is a diverse mix of people from different backgrounds.

James Kagambi is a successful mountaineer in Africa and Europe. Eddie Taylor is a chemistry teacher and head high school track coach, while Misha Charles is a staff member at the American Alpine Club. The team also includes Demond Mullins, an Iraqi war combat veteran, and two North Face-sponsored athletes Manoah Ainuu and Frederick Campbell. Rounding out the team is entrepreneur Thomas Moore and Rosemary Saal, who led the first all-Black American team to the summit of Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro in 2018.

Online, Full Circle Expedition says the team's goal is to "Highlight the barriers that continue to exist for Black communities in accessing the outdoors." The group also says, "this historic attempt will inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, educators, leaders, and mountaineers of color to continue chasing their personal summits."

The expedition will take place in 2022. If you'd like to support Full Circle Expedition, help the team meet its $50,000 fundraising goal by October 1, 2021, via GoFundMe.

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Janae Price is a News Staff Writer at Thrillist. She's a native New Yorker and loves all things cheese, K-pop, and culture. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @janae_larie.