First All-Black Expedition to Everest

A contingent of Black mountaineers from the U.S. is on its way to attempt Everest this spring.

The group of 11 is guided by Himalaya Asuka Treks & Expedition and led by Phil Henderson, a veteran mountaineer and National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) instructor.

Should they reach their objective, the number of Black Everest summiters will more than double immediately.

Full Circle Everest team

Phil Henderson, Expedition Leader – Colorado

Henderson has nearly 30 years of experience in outdoor leadership and mountaineering. Previously, he participated in and co-led The North Face/National Geographic Everest Education Expedition in 2012, summited Denali in 2013, led an all-African American ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2018, and received the Outdoor Afro Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.

Social account: @phil_henderson

Abby Dione – Florida

Abby Dione is an AMGA-certified climbing instructor and U.S. climbing coach. Dione is one of a mere handful of Black female gym owners in the States. In 2011, she opened Coral Cliffs Climbing Gym in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Social account: @playswithmountains

James “KG” Kagambi – Kenya

KG Kagambi is a NOLS field instructor with experience in training Kenyan mountain rescue teams. He has climbed three of the Seven Summits. Kagambi became the first Black African to summit Denali and Aconcagua in 1989 and 1994, respectively. He represented his home continent by climbing the Eiger in the U.S. Peace Climb for the World in 1992. Kagambi carried the Kenyan flag to the summit of Mt. Kenya to mark his nation’s 50th year of independence.

Manoah Ainuu – Montana

Manoah Ainuu is a member of The North Face team and is a children’s climbing instructor and protegé of Conrad Anker. Twenty-five years old, Ainuu has several notable ascents in Yosemite and on Mt. Rainier.

Social account: @adreadedclimber

Fred Campbell – Washington

Fred Campbell is a statistician, indoor climbing instructor, and The North Face ambassador with 10 years of mountaineering experience. His tick list includes ascents in the Alaska Range, Bugaboos, Cascades, Sierra Madres. He also climbed Kilimanjaro.

Social account: @fred_climbs

Demond “Dom” Mullins – New York

Dom Mullins is a mountaineer, sociologist, and combat veteran who employs his field experience and Ph.D. in sociology to conduct research into the benefits of outdoor recreation. He led an ethnographic study of fellow combat veterans during a Denali summit bid in 2015 and has summited both Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya.

Social account: @domthesoulifugid

Rosemary Saal – Washington

Rosemary Saal is a NOLS backpacking field and mountaineering instructor. Her climbing education began at the age of 12. She summited Denali in 2013.

Social channel: @everywhere.rose

Eddie Taylor – Colorado

Eddie Taylor is an accomplished climber, mountaineer, and skier. His list of achievements includes skiing Denali and a one-day ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite. Taylor’s bio states that “he enjoys climbing in all forms, but he finds himself most excited by moving efficiently on long rock routes.”

Social channel: @alldayeddie

Thomas Moore – Colorado
Thomas Moore is an advocate for diversity in mountaineering and the outdoors. He has summited Kilimanjaro.

Social channel: @thomasdmoore

Adina Scott, Expedition Tech and Researcher – Washington

Adina Scott is a climber, skier, and electrical engineer for the U.S. Antarctic program. She is also a volunteer outdoor educator. Her most notable ascent is Denali.

Social channel: @sardina.s 

Evan Green – New Mexico

Evan Green is an outdoor photographer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Rock & Ice, Outside, and Climbing magazines, among others. His experience in mountaineering comes from years spent summiting Colorado’s 13’ers and 14’ers.

Social channel: @thegreenevan

 

“Our goal here is to help folks aspire to have a profound and respectful relationship with the outdoors and feel not entitled to it, but welcome to it,” Dione said.

Sponsorships from Smartwool, TNF, MSR, and other notable brands helped raise the more than $500,000 needed for their climb.

To learn more about the team, head to its website or follow its Instagram account.

Eddie Taylor training for his trip to Mount Everest. Photo: Full Circle Everest/Amrit Ale

Eddie Taylor trains for Everest. Photo: Full Circle Everest/Amrit Ale

Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life. She now works as a contributor, an editor, and a gear tester for ExplorersWeb and various other outlets within the AllGear network. She is based out of Austin, Texas where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.


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Victor
Victor
29 days ago

Alan Arnette did an interview with them last year: https://youtu.be/wE-_6NesmTQ

Jmaf
Jmaf
29 days ago

So is Henderson leading them as an independent team or will they be joining the queue behind another sherpa led team once they get to Everest? The former makes this a bit interesting as it doesn’t appear that Henderson has any previous experience on Everest or leading anywhere in the Himalaya. If they are going to be guided by sherpas as part of another large group of tourists then this headline is very deceiving because it won’t be an all black expedition at all.