Full Circle Everest is the first all-Black team to summit Mt. Everest
Team Full Circle Everest, pictured here on Mt. Rainier in July 2021, summitted the world's highest peak on May 12, 2022; (photo/Full Circle Everest)

Mt. Everest History: First All-Black Expedition Team Summits World’s Highest Peak

Full Circle Everest broke new ground in the mountaineering world.

In the early hours of May 12, 2022, an American/Kenyan team of climbers became the first all-Black group to summit Mt. Everest. News of the pivotal ascent broke around 1 a.m. CDT (GMT-5).

“The Full Circle Everest team led by Philip Henderson from California has made history as the first all-Black team to stand atop the summit, the highest mountain on earth,” Jiban Ghimire, managing director of Shangri-La Nepal Treks, told The Himalayan Times.

Ghimire told France24, “at least six from the team reached the summit along with their guides.” It is unclear who from the team has made the summit — we will update this story once there is confirmation.

Everest’s First All-Black Ascent

Nine Black mountaineers (seven men and two women) make up the expedition’s climbing team: Phil Henderson, Manoah Ainuu, Fred Campbell, Abby Dione, James “KG” Kagambi, Thomas Moore, Demond “Dom” Mullins, Rosemary Saal, and Eddie Taylor.

Eight Sherpas guided the summit push, according to Ghimire.

Expedition photographer Evan Green, as well as expedition technician Adina Scott, who did not partake in the climb, round out the Full Circle roster.

By successfully scaling the world’s highest peak, the team nearly has doubled Everest’s all-time number of Black summiteers. According to the team’s website, just 10 Black climbers have ever summitted the mountain.

Their historic achievement follows nearly 40 days of acclimatization, months of fundraising, and years of preparation.

“There is a lack of representation of Black people in mountaineering and in high-altitude mountaineering,” Henderson told NPR. “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.”

The crew here at GearJunkie sends its warmest congratulations to the Full Circle Everest team — that’s how you send it.

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Jilli Cluff
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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 — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.