The first expedition of Black mountaineers to attempt to summit Mount Everest is sitting on top of the world — literally.
Seven members of the Full Circle Everest Team successfully summited Mount Everest on Thursday, May 12, including Manoah Ainuu, Eddie Taylor, Rosemary Saal, Demond “Dom” Mullins, Thomas Moore, James “KG” Kagami, and Evan Green.
“I am deeply honored to report that seven members of the Full Circle Everest team reached the summit on May 12,” team leader Phil Henderson wrote in a statement. “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!”
As the first all-Black climbing team to attempt the summit of Mount Everest, the team’s success nearly doubles the number of Black climbers who have summited Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world above sea level.
Known as Full Circle Everest, the crew completed the treacherous adventure up the world’s highest peak after more than 36 days. The team was supported by The North Face and the VF Foundation, among other sponsors.
“We’re all Black people … there is a lack of representation of Black people in mountaineering and in high-altitude mountaineering,” Henderson told 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.”
Nearly 70 years ago, New Zealand explorer Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first confirmed climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Since then, just over 10,000 others have completed the feat with only a handful that have been Black.
The team was supported in their climb to the summit Sherpa guides, including Pasang Nima Sherpa, Lhakpa Sonam Sherpa, Phurtemba Sherpa, Dawa Chhiri Sherpa, Sonam Gaylje Sherpa, Nima Nuru Sherpa, Chopal Sherpa, Chawang Lhendup Sherpa, Tasha Gyalje Sherpa, Amrit Ale, Pemba Sherpa (camera crew) and Nawang Tenji Sherpa (camera crew).
Read more about each member of the expedition here.