Full Everest circle
This month, seven members of an all-black mountaineering team scaled the summit of Mount Everest, assisted by eight Sherpa guides.
Although hundreds line up to climb Everest each year, only ten black people have climbed the highest peak on earth, including just one black woman and one black American.
“I am deeply honored to report that seven members of the Full Circle Everest team reached the summit on May 12,” tweeted Philip Henderson, team leader and instructor at the Khumbu Climbing Center (KCC) in Nepal trains some of the world’s leading mountaineers.
“While some members, including myself, did not reach the summit, all members of the climbing and Sherpa team returned safely to base camp where we will celebrate this historic moment!”
With the ideal time for climbing Chomolungma, the mother goddess of the world, in May, the Full Circle Everest reached base camp on the Khumbu Glacier – a tent city full of athletic hopefuls looking for the perfect weather conditions to scale the summit.
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Henderson led the expedition, which meant eating, resting, gradually getting used to breathing a third less oxygen than at sea level for many days, and organizing quick trips up the mountain as a training schedule.
Her team includes people from all parts of the US and a man from Kenya, aged 29 to 60, whose day-to-day work consists of being a sociology professor, a Microsoft data scientist, a chemistry teacher, a freelance photographer and filmmaker, and an Iraqi World War II combat veteran and climbing expert.
“If children around the world are reflected in this all-Black expedition, they too will experience the values of climbing and become part of it,” Conrad Anker, founder of KCC and colleague of Henderson, told National Geographic about the achievement.
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There are a number of things that can go wrong on Everest, and many people who reach Base Camp will never get the opportunity to climb the mountain. Fred Campbell, a member of the Seattle-based Full Circle team, said knowing that added pressure.
“It would be nice just to climb [Everest], but we represent black people,” he said. “As much as it’s an added burden, I think it will have a positive impact.”
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