Only eight Black people in history have ever reached the summit of Mount Everest. By the end of next year, a group of Black adventurists hopes to more than double that total. Led by experienced climber Phil Henderson, an all-Black group of nine outdoor experts called the Full Circle Everest Expedition crew aims to climb Mount Everest in 2022.
According to an Associated Press report, the first American climber reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1963. During the same calendar year, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech at the March On Washington. If successful, Henderson hopes that this expedition will inspire a new generation of Black climbers to dream big and expand representation within the space.
“We just need more propulsion. We need more power,” Henderson told the Associated Press.
“This is our boost. We are priming that engine.”
Henderson has been preparing for this moment for years. He's participated in several expeditions across South America and taught at the National Outdoor Leadership School. As it pertains to his upcoming journey, he previously led an all Black crew to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Now, he's looking to take his life's work to the biggest stage in the world.
“It’s kind of emotional for me as well. I’m realizing and living these things I’ve always said were so important and how it’s so vital for all of us to be connected to the natural environment," he explained to the Associated Press.
“From gardening to bird watching to climbing Everest, the sky is really the limit when it comes to people just getting outside and really understanding the benefits of spending time in nature."