It was an honor to do this video interview with three of the nine members, seven male, and two female, of the Full Circle Everest team. They hope to make history as the first Black climbing team to attempt to summit Everest. As of late 2021, there have been 10,184 summits but only eight Black climbers have stood on the top.
According to the Himalayan Database, South African Sibusiso Vilane became the first Black to summit on May 26, 2003, and returned in 2005 to summit from the Tibet side, both times with UK operator with Jagged Globe. American Sophia Danenberg became the first Black female to summit on May 19, 2006, with IMG. However, they were with standard commercial teams as there has never been an all-Black only team.
The team is quite diverse with several members holding a Ph.D. One, Abby Dione, is an AMGA certified climber and runs a climbing gym. The leader, Phil Henderson is a longtime NOLS leader and attempted Everest in 2012 with Conrad Anker reaching Camp 3. Two are North Face-sponsored athletes, Frederick Campbell and Manoah Ainuu. Rosemary Saal is a NOLS instructor who led the first all-Black American team to the summit of Africa’s Kilimanjaro in 2018. Demond “Dom” Mullins is is a combat veteran of the Iraq War, where he served as an Armor Crewman. After service Demond became a National Spokesman for Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and worked as a United States Senate staffer on veterans health and education issues. See the entire team at their site,
I spoke today with Phil, Rosemary, and Dom about the expedition. We discussed their “why”, who they are trying to reach and of course, all things Everest including their acclimatization and training efforts.
The Full Circle Everest team is asking for financial help at their GoFundMe site. They’ve reached $21,368 of their $50,0000 goal as of this podcast, September 21, 2021. Any amount will help. I donated.
Memories are Everything
The Podcast on alanarnette.com
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