First All-Black Team Climb Everest

NEARLY 70 YEARS ago, New Zealand explorers Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the best-known climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth at 29,032 feet of elevation. Since then, more than 10,000 others have completed the feat, with fewer than10 of those climbers being Black.

That was until seven Full Circle Everest Team: Manoah Ainuu, Eddie Taylor, Rosemary Saal, Demond "Dom" Mullins, Thomas Moore, James "KG" Kagami, and Evan Green, successfully summited Everest on May 12, 2022.

The team's feat virtually doubles the number of Black climbers who have reached the peak of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain above sea level.

In an interview with NPR, he revealed that the notion of trying such a monumental achievement arose spontaneously during a talk between Henderson and other Black mountaineers. The group eventually grew to include seven males and two women, ranging in age from 25 to 62.

The Full Circle Everest team has previously climbed to over 20,000 feet and is well-versed in high-altitude climbing. Some have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Mount Denali, North America's highest peak.

Phil Henderson said, "I am deeply honoured to report that seven Full Circle Everest team members reached the summit. "While a few members, including myself, did not summit, all members of the climb and Sherpa teams have safely returned to Base Camp, where we will celebrate this historic moment!"

The crew completed the perilous adventure up the world's highest peak after more than 36 days. Henderson said, "Black people are underrepresented in the climbing community. In some ways, it's our responsibility to bring this to our communities. To our youth, discuss the advantages of being outside and connecting with nature and the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout their lives."The team Sherpa guides were: Pasang Nima Sherpa, Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa, Phurtemba Sherpa, Dawa Chhiri Sherpa, Sonam Gaylje Sherpa, Nima Nuru Sherpa, Chopal Sherpa, Chawang Lhendup Sherpa, Tasha Gyalje Sherpa, Amrit Ale, Pemba Sherpa (camera crew) and Nawang Tenji Sherpa (camera crew).

But how can you become ready to scale the world's highest peak?

The best thing you can do, according to Henderson, is become used to carrying weight and doing so at altitude. But that isn't easy to replicate at 17,000 feet, where Everest base camps — places where climbers can rest and replenish supplies — are located.

"You do everything you can. It's all about putting in long days on your feet, in the cold, with weight on your back, and at altitude if possible, in whatever way you can, "Henderson says. "But there's also mental preparation. Strength and core training are also available."

"I believe in cross-training and doing various activities, but there's no substitute for getting out in the mountains and hiking," he added.

In 1963, the first American expedition to summit Everest did so in the same year that Dr Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have A Dream" address. For them, reaching the summit was a full-circle moment, and they hope it will inspire others to achieve their objectives, whatever they may be.

Copyright © Wayne Lèal
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