Full Circle Everest: The Black community makes history by climbing Mount Everest

(CNN) – About 4,000 people called Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. And only eight of them were black.

That’s one of the reasons Full Circle, a group of black climbers and mountaineers, was formed.

“It’s a journey that’s about climbing. It’s about spending time in the mountains, but it’s also about building a community, a global community. It’s about interacting with the outside world,” he said. Rosemary Saal, a member of Full Circle.

Saal is used to increase real heights and high ceilings. He was a member of an all -black group that sailed to Denali, Alaska and one that reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

But the Full Circle section, he says, is different. The mountain community is small, and Everest is the name known to everyone in the world.

“There’s a sense of this mountain,” said another Full Circle member, Abby Dione.

Dione lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he owns and operates Coral Cliffs Climbing Gym. Although she was one of only two Black women in the United States to own a gym, she was keen to give black women ways to see themselves outside.

“The goal (of the Full Circle) is to break down this process,” Dione said. “Beyond the mountain in question, the real goal for us is to have the engineering turn things around for the people.”

The Full Circle group, with Saal (front) and Dione (center row, right).

The Full Circle group, with Saal (front) and Dione (center row, right).

Everest is a complete circle

On May 12, seven members of the Full Circle group, Dione and Saal, visited the summit of Mount Everest.

“The Full Circle Everest group led by Philip Henderson from California has made history as the first black group to stand on the summit of the summit, the highest mountain in the world,” said Jiban Ghimire, director at Shangri-La Nepal Treks, certified in the Himalayan Times.

In addition to Dione and Saal, Manoah Ainuu, Frederick Campbell, Eddie Taylor, James Kagambi, Desmond Mullins, Thomas Moore and eight Sherpas led the climbers to the top. Henderson led the team from camp but did not attempt the top.

The mountain is the epitome

One of the highlights of Full Circle’s work is the appreciation of the local Nepalis and Sherpas who accompany the climbing groups as they climb.

Take the famous climb of Everest, for example – Sir Edmund Hillary who discovered the lion of the mind in 1953, with his guide Sherpa and his colleague Tenzing Norgay not included in the books history for many years.

In addition, Hillary has been called the first person to climb Everest, although there are many stories of Sherpas reaching the summit before the foreigners came to the land.

Dione explains that Full Circle intends to “de-colonize” the ascent of Everest. It’s not about increasing the awareness of mountain climbers of color but about using the word inclusive.

“Our goal here is to help people who want to have a deep and respectful relationship with the outside and the outside. responsibility to him, however Welcome to him. If you know you can do it, you can do it right. “

Saal, who is biracial, said he was one of the first to rekindle his childhood interest in sports and the outdoors in his community.

“When I was young, I took my first rock climbing boards, mountain climbing boards, everything. I would tell family or friends or all sorts of people about My life is about what I do. Don’t do that. That’s the White side. Black people don’t go skiing. People don’t go skiing. black on the climb. “

Fortunately, there are community groups in his hometown of Seattle that have helped young Saal pursue his interests. In these groups he saw educators from all walks of life and economies, and they helped to silence the voices that told him it was impossible.

For Dione, there were more questions about women out there that he couldn’t get good answers to.

“What does it mean to menstruate at 6,000 meters and above?” he asked.

The journey of the hero

The two women hailed Phil Henderson, founder of Full Circle, as a great motivator.

Uncle Phil is Henderson’s nickname, after the character who taught Will in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

And his avuncular name is well earned. Henderson was a pioneer in California for black men and women abroad. He led a group of black climbers to Mount Kilimanjaro and was a longtime instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Wyoming.

Members of the Full Circle go for a walk on low ice conditions.  Henderson is in the center row, far north.

Members of the Full Circle go for a walk on low ice conditions. Henderson is in the center row, far north.

Everest is a complete circle

Like many young blacks, Henderson was encouraged to participate in team sports. Football got better, but an injury ended his NFL dreams. From there, he pivoted to a love of outdoor sports.

In 2000, Henderson led an all -black climbing group to the summit of Kenya. The experience has changed – he is leading not only a real journey but a new generation of Black Outreach professionals.

“There’s a show of black people climbing mountains, climbing and the whole outdoor industry,” he wrote on Instagram, “but our stories aren’t told.”

He is the only member of the group to have Everest experience before: In 2012, Henderson was the only Black member of an American climbing expedition to the highest peak in the world, where he said his Tibetan name is Chomolungma.

Start the journey

The group of nine climbers arrived in Nepal in January 2022 to begin the high -level expansion process.

If all members of the Full Circle finished their climb, the number of black people who reached the summit of Mount Everest would soon double.

Costs that come with rising to the highest peak in the world can be prohibited.

Full Circle Everest currently has a group of sponsoring organizations such as North Face, Summit Coffee, Smartwool and Mountain Safety Research (MSR).

But the cost of burning the trail is worth it.

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