First All-Black Team To Summit Everest Succeeds, Makes History

The nine mountaineers vying to be the first all-Black team to summit Mount Everest have succeeded — at least in part.

News that the American/Kenyan team reached the summit broke around 12 a.m. EDT (GMT-4).

“The Full Circle Everest team led by Philip Henderson from California has made history as the first all-Black team to stand atop the summit, the highest mountain on earth,” Jiban Ghimire, managing director of Shangri-La Nepal Treks, told The Himalayan Times.

Of the team’s nine members, Ghimire reported that at least six tagged the summit, “along with their guides.”

The team first announced that it would initiate its summit bid on May 10.

Nine Black mountaineers (seven men and two women) fill out the Full Circle climbing team: Phil Henderson, Manoah Ainuu, Fred Campbell, Abby Dione, James “KG” Kagambi, Thomas Moore, Demond “Dom” Mullins, Rosemary Saal, and Eddie Taylor.

Ghimire reported that eight Sherpas guided the team’s summit push.

Expedition photographer Evan Green and expedition technician Adina Scott complete the Full Circle roster. The two did not partake in the climb.

When the team stood on the world’s highest peak, it nearly doubled the overall number of Black Everest summiters. According to the Full Circle website, just 10 Black climbers had previously accomplished the feat.

The team’s success follows months of fundraising and years of planning and preparation. Henderson put the challenge in context in an interview with NPR.

“There is a lack of representation of Black people in mountaineering and in high-altitude mountaineering,” the veteran mountaineer said. “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.”

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.