First all-Black climbing team reaches Mt. Everest summit
Members of the country's first all-Black climbing team reached the summit of Mount Everest. (The North Face and Full Circle Everest)
KATHMANDU, Nepal - History was made on May 12 when the country’s first all-Black climbing team reached the summit of Mount Everest, part of the Himalayan mountain in Nepal.
Seven members of the Full Circle Everest Expedition team included Manoah Ainuu, Eddie Taylor, Rosemary Saal, Demond "Dom" Mullins, Thomas Moore, James "KG" Kagami, and Evan Green.
"We did it yall!," Taylor posted on his Instagram page. "The Expedition was a success. The summit just being a single step in a very long journey."
According to Taylor, he and the team reached the summit in the early morning hours.
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"It has been amazing to be a part of this team," he continued.
According to National Geographic, the summit of Mount Everest is the highest point on Earth, at 29,032 feet. To put it into perspective, that’s close to the range of the cruising altitude of a commercial airliner.
"I am deeply honored to report that seven members of the Full Circle Everest team reached the summit on May 12," Full Circle Everest leader Philip Henderson announced in a post. "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 team said they were supported by the Sherpa community, which is an ethnic group indigenous to the Himalayan region.
A Black American man had never reached the summit of Everest. Taylor, an accomplished climber and mountaineer, said only eight Black people have ever stood atop Mount Everest.
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The first American expedition reached the top of the world in 1963, the same year Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his culture-shifting "I Have a Dream" speech.
Everest expeditions come with mountains of pressure. There’s not just the physical training required to spend months at altitude preparing for a grueling final push to the 29,032-foot Everest summit, but there’s the mental aspect of spending that time away from family, friends and jobs. There’s also the fight to secure support from brands and sponsors.
The Full Circle team hopes its expedition, as well as a high-profile training plan and publicity push, will encourage people of color to not just dream big, but simply get outside.
"We're all Black people ... there is a lack of representation of Black people in mountaineering and in high-altitude mountaineering," Henderson said to NPR in a 2021 interview. "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."
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.