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First All-Black Team Will Try to Climb Mount Everest

Thousands have scaled the mountain over history, but only a very small number of them have been Black.

Published Sep 29, 2021

 (Sergey Pashko/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Sergey Pashko/Wikimedia Commons

Mount Everest is considered to be the highest point in the world above sea level, and many have scaled it from around the world. But one team is attempting to be the first such all-Black group of mountaineers.

The team, known as Full Circle Expedition, claims that only 10 Black climbers apparently have stood atop Everest. Phil Henderson, a longtime mountaineer, says he hopes to lead this expedition.

The first Black woman to scale Everest did so in 2019. Forty-seven-year-old Saray N'kusi Khumalo, a South African mountaineer, scaled the mountain after three failed attempts. Her achievement was highlighted by the South African government and by her local support contact, Mingma Sherpa of the Seven Summits Treks hiking agency. Sherpa said that her achievement as the first Black African woman to reach the summit was “100 percent true.”

Full Circle has set up a GoFundMe in order to fund the expedition, and it aims to raise $50,000 of the overall budget by Oct. 1, 2021, to obtain permits and hire a support team. As of this writing, they had raised around $54,000 of the $75,000 fundraising goal.

The Full Circle Expedition highlighted its goals on its GoFundMe:

Our team represents our community and are building blocks for greater representation of the climbing community and the outdoors. As a team we are strong and supportive of each other. In preparation for the expedition, we are climbing and training together.

A trip like this is out of reach for many in our community. We need to secure $50,000 of the overall budget by October 1st, 2021, to obtain permits and our support team members for the spring of 2022. With your help seeding this project, we can show the power and value in Black stories.
[...]
The impact of this expedition will resonate long after its completion and will continue to highlight the importance of representation in the outdoors.

And in a video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfxAIQgwUvk

In an interview with The Associated Press, Eddie Taylor, another climber with the expedition, said doing outdoor activities like climbing was “not traditionally things that families of color do.” He hopes that an expedition like this can “give visibility and normalize this experience for Black folks.”

The team consists of seven men and two women, some of whom are athletes sponsored by The North Face, and others who are experienced mountaineers who also happen to include a teacher and an entrepreneur. They are currently training and say the expedition will take place in 2022.


Sources:

“All-Black Climbing Team Plans to Double Number of Black People to Climb Mount Everest.” Thrillist, https://www.thrillist.com/news/nation/full-circle-expedition-mt-everest. Accessed 29 Sept. 2021.

Associated Press. “An All-Black Team Will Climb Mount Everest for the 1st Time.” TODAY.Com, https://www.today.com/news/all-black-team-will-climb-mount-everest-1st-time-t232542. Accessed 29 Sept. 2021.

“Climbers Twice as Likely to Reach Mount Everest Summit but ‘Death Zone’ Crowding Soars, Study Shows.” Reuters, 27 Aug. 2020. www.reuters.com, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nepal-everest-idUSKBN25N1SB. Accessed 29 Sept. 2021.

Foundation, Thomson Reuters. “Standing Tall: First Black African Woman Scales Everest.” News.Trust.Org, https://news.trust.org/item/20190516155620-keq00/. Accessed 29 Sept. 2021.

“Full Circle Everest 2022, Organized by Full Circle Everest.” Gofundme.Com, https://www.gofundme.com/f/fullcircle2022. Accessed 29 Sept. 2021.

Mount Everest | National Geographic Society. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/mount-everest/print/. Accessed 29 Sept. 2021.

“The First All-Black American Expedition of Everest Is Officially Underway.” Outside Business Journal, 25 Aug. 2021, https://outsidebusinessjournal.com/issues/diversity-equity-inclusion/the-first-all-black-american-expedition-of-everest-is-officially-underway/. Accessed 29 Sept. 2021.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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