First ever all-black team Summits Everest

Almost doubling the number of black climbers to reach the world’s highest point

Read time 2 min

Published May 16, 2022

Base editorial team
BASE editorial team BASE writers and editors who live and breathe adventure every day. We love adventure storytelling as much as we love adventure itself.

Members of the Full Circle expedition team have successfully summited the world’s highest mountain, becoming the first all-black team to do so. Along with ten highly-skilled Nepali Sherpa guides, American climbers Manoah Ainuu, Rosemary Saal, Demond ‘Dom’ Mullins, Abby Dione, Eddie Taylor, Thomas Moore and Kenyan climber James Kagambi proudly reached Everest‘s peak on the 12th May, with all team members and guides safely returning to Basecamp afterwards.

The expedition led by Philip Henderson is a landmark event in Everest’s 60-year history and for mountaineering itself, diversifying the face of expedition and bringing representation to the highest point on Earth. The expedition involved countless hours of dedicated training and acclimatisation over more than 36 days, and the support of guides and Basecamp technicians.

Members of the Full Circle team on a training expedition in 2021. © Full Circle Everest

Prior to the Full Circle expedition, it is understood that out of around 6,000 recorded ascents since the first in 1953, only 10 of those were by black climbers

Former outdoor instructor and expedition leader Henderson did not attempt the summit, but guided the team to Basecamp and directed the push to the top from there. With almost 30 years experience in the outdoors, multiple expeditions including Denali, Kilimanjaro and a previous Everest attempt under his belt, Henderson assembled a strong team of climbers with high chances of a successful ascent, having been involved with the expedition since its formative stages. In a post on the Full Circle Instagram page, he said:

‘I am deeply honoured to report that seven members of the Full Circle Everest team reached the summit on May 12. While a few members, including myself, did not summit, all members of the climb and Sherpa teams have safely returned to Basecamp where we will celebrate this historic moment!’

The initially crowdfunded, grassroots project was shelved back in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic’s implications on travel and Everest being closed for climbing from both the China-controlled and Nepalese sides of the mountain. But as borders began to re-open and the team put their plans into action, the expedition quickly attracted a number of high-profile sponsors and by November 2021 the team were able to place a deposit on the expedition and in January this year, touched down in Kathmandu on a training trip, commencing preparation for the ascent.

Prior to the Full Circle expedition, it is understood that out of around 6,000 recorded ascents since the first in 1953, only 10 of those were by black climbers. The expedition represents ‘a zenith in generational perseverance’, aiming to ‘showcase the tenacity and strength of these climbers, and highlight the barriers that continue to exist for Black communities in accessing the outdoors’, according to the team’s website.

The Full Circle Everest expedition aims to highlight disparities in access to national parks and other outdoor spaces for Black communities, as well as participation levels in activities such as climbing, cycling and winter sports, and to ‘inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, educators, leaders, and mountaineers of colour to continue chasing their personal summits’.

Don’t miss a single adventure

Sign up to our free newsletter and get a weekly BASE hit to your inbox

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • linkedin
  • whatsapp
  • reddit
  • email

Other posts by this author

BASE editorial team • June 23, 2022

New British Dry Tooling record set by Emma Powell

Guardians of the Underworld becomes the first D12 graded climb completed by a woman

BASE editorial team • June 09, 2022

Seven Everests for Men’s Mental Health

A cycling challenge in support of charity Movember

BASE editorial team • June 06, 2022

The Yin and Yang of Gerry Lopez

Patagonia launches film about the iconic surfer, directed by award-winning filmmaker Stacy Peralta

You might also like

Hannah Mitchell • June 24, 2022

‘The Climbers’ premieres at Theatre by the Lake

The play by Carmen Nasr will send shivers down the spines of mountaineering audience members

Hannah Mitchell • June 23, 2022

Fell Runner ‘back from the dead’ after miraculous mountain rescue

Tommy Price survived a cardiac arrest and one of the lowest recorded core temperatures

BASE editorial team • June 23, 2022

New British Dry Tooling record set by Emma Powell

Guardians of the Underworld becomes the first D12 graded climb completed by a woman