Sunset over the Mt Everest north face from the Rongbuk Monastery, at an altitude of 5200m, in Tibet Autonomous region in China.

1088050790

Sunset over the Mt Everest north face from the Rongbuk Monastery, at an altitude of 5200m, in Tibet Autonomous region in China.

Photo by: @ Didier Marti

@ Didier Marti

The First All-Black Team Will Climb Mount Everest Next Year

By: Ashley Hamer

By scaling the 29,032-foot-peak, Full Circle Everest hopes to empower people of color to explore the outdoors.

October 13, 2021

Only 10 Black people have ever stood atop Mount Everest — none of them Americans. In 2022, Full Circle Everest plans to change that.

The all-Black team is made up of nine experienced mountaineers, seven men and two women. Their name is inspired by the fact that the first American expedition reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1963, the same year Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. The team considers their expedition 40 years later to be a full-circle moment.

But it’s about more than the thrill of achievement.

“There is a lack of representation of Black people in mountaineering and in high-altitude mountaineering," team leader Phil Henderson told NPR. “There's so few of us at this level that it's our duty, in a sense, to bring this to our communities, to our young people and talk about the benefits of being outdoors and connecting with nature and having a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives."

Black Americans are dramatically underrepresented in the numbers of people who visit public lands, making up 1 to 1.2 percent of visitors to national forests, national wildlife refuges, and national parks. There are many reasons for that, including historic discrimination in public spaces and the fact that communities of color are nearly four times more likely to lack access to nature than white communities.

Members of Full Circle Everest are veterans of the outdoors, with decades as outdoor educators, climbing coaches, and mountaineers boasting experience scaling peaks from Mount Denali to Mount Kilimanjaro.

Even still, Mount Everest is its own challenge. Hundreds of people have died in their quest to climb the 29,032-foot peak. The trek requires months spent at altitude, far away from family and friends. And it’s expensive. Full Circle Everest has already secured several sponsors and is on the search for more.

As the team trains for this monumental challenge, a book and a movie have been proposed to profile the expedition and the hard work required to get there.

If all goes to plan, 2022 will mark a historic moment for mountaineering.

Next Up

Meet the Ancient Egyptian Gods Who Empower DC Comic's Black Adam

Get to know the six ancient Egyptian gods behind the latest DC Comics film Black Adam, starring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, in theaters starting October 21.

Discover this Quaint Gem on the English Coast

Tucked in the corner of the southwest of rugged England, lies one of the country’s most-loved gems – Cornwall. The county forms a peninsula fringed with golden sandy beaches, lined with towering cliffs, and dotted with picturesque fishing villages that harken back to days gone by.

4 Wonders of the Philippines

The Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia, consisting of over 7,000 islands and islets. From rolling chocolate hills to caves and beaches for exploration, the Philippines has many places to explore and learn about!

Take Off with the Tipple Family on the All-New Series NATURE IS FLY

On the all-new series, NATURE IS FLY, go on adventures to experience nature and science with the Tipple family. They travel the country and meet the people who are the best in their fields of conservation and more.

The Romantic, Heartbreaking Love Story Behind the Taj Mahal

Ivory white columns rise from the earth, framing the central masterpiece: an intricately carved marble domed structure stood on a square plinth, resplendent with arched doorways, and topped by a bronze moon that reaches for the sky.

Explore the Rugged, Remote Chaco Canyon in New Mexico

Photographer and conservationist Ian Shive photographs one of the most remote and rugged parts of the United States to take us on a journey to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico's Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

Climb England’s Stomach-Churning Iron Way

Adventure into Victorian England with rickety bridges and vertical climbs across a 19th-century mine.

Scaling Wales’ Highest Mountain

Britain isn’t famous for its hiking but one mountain every climber should summit is Mt. Snowdon for extreme weather and breathtaking views.

This Little-Known Hiking Path Explores One of the Deepest Gorges in the World

A trek through China's Tiger Leaping Gorge is a journey into the country's most ethnically diverse region, where beauty and fear hang intoxicatingly in the air.

Day (or Night) at The Museum

Take a private tour of NYC’s American Museum of Natural History from home!