Full Circle Everest - Inspiring Others to Get Outdoors

Full Circle Everest - Inspiring Others to Get Outdoors

An Uphill Battle

The man in the picture below, that is Phillip Henderson. Mr Henderson is slowly but surely becoming a legend in the climbing/mountaineering industry. After suffering a severe injury that put an end to his potential career in sports, Phillip had a change of mind and realized that "You know, Life is short. You should do whatever you want in life." So Phillip headed for the hills.
Three decades later, Henderson has an array of impressive accomplishments under his belt including an Everest summit, as well as Denali, Kilimanjaro, and Mt. Kenya. Notably, Henderson's Kilimanjaro summit in 2018 was with an all African-American crew. Henderson's knowledge and experience has led him to a career as an educator for National Geographic where he has led expeditions to Everest.

@phil_henderson on Instagram


Phillip Henderson is the lead climber for Full Circle Everest. He is in the process of building something that absolutely should be celebrated for Black History Month. Including himself, Phillip has brought together 10 black and brown climbing professionals who will attempt to summit the 29,032 foot tall Mt. Everest in the spring of 2022. 
At the current moment, Philip and the team are training at high altitudes in Nepal. They find it important to spend time together in high altitude not only so their bodies can adjust and adapt to the change in oxygen levels but also so that they can bond as a team. As Henderson puts it: "The process doesn't start when you get to the mountain. We're in the process now. The preparation you have, the team building, the training." Surely there is a lot to that goes into summiting the worlds tallest mountains, but why is this a first for an all black team to attempt?


Restructuring and diversifying an Industry

Black people are under-represented in the climbing industry, as well as the outdoors industry as a whole, and Full Circle Everest is actively working to change this. The team's leader stated "There is so few of us at this level that it is 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% of people who visit national parks, forests, and wildlife preserves are white and the smallest group of visitors are black according to the national health foundation report. Parks that are situated in predominantly white areas tend to be bigger, cleaner, and less crowded than their smaller counter parts in areas with more diverse demographics. These are issues that can no longer go on.

Other Organizations supporting the cause

Full Circle Everest is working to make a change, but they are not the only ones. 
An organization named Black Outside aims to diversify the outdoors. 
@blackoutside_inc on Instagram


Outdoor Afro helps black people across the country who are interested in nature and outdoors to orchestrate meetups and connect with each other. 

@OutdoorAfro on Instagram

Black Girl Trekking inspires thousands of black girls and women each year to get outside and connect with nature. 

@blackgirlstrekkin on Instagram


The Full Circle Everest Team

 The Full Circle Everest Team is constructed of 10 incredible, strong, and inspiring individuals. A group with such unique qualifications, experiences, skill sets, and will to make a difference make them a power to be reckoned with. 


@playswithmountains on Instagram

Abby Dione (pictured above) is a key part to Full Circle Everest's qualified team of outdoors people. Abby lives in Fort Lauderdale Florida where she owns and operates Coral Cliffs climbing gym. With over 12 years of experience, Abby has built up an overly-impressive resume including publications in The Alpinist and Rock&Ice as well as becoming a board member for The Access Fund. Some of Abby's most important work has come from something you may expect, giving back to the community she cares about. Abby has taught her skills to thousands of children and younger people at outdoor climbing festivals such as Color the Crag and Flash Foxy. She is a true legend in the making!



James "KG" Kagambi is one of those legendary figures that you're going to see movies about one day. His life story seems unreal, so much experience and accomplishments. James began his guiding career in Kenya. He learned to have a high amount of patience during his time as a grade school teacher, music teacher, and a sports coach. While his days of teaching seem like a lifetime ago, James "KG" Kagambi has been busy honoring his home country of Kenya as he was the first black African to summit Denali and Aconacagua. He is actively involved in training Kenya's mountain rescue teams and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kenya's independence he was a part of the team to bring the countries flag to the top of Mt. Kenya.


@Adreadedclimber on Instagram

Manoah Ainuu is one of the younger members of Full Circle Everest but that does not mean he lacks experience, skill, and determination to make a difference. Manoah hails from Compton, California which compared to the highlands of Nepal is a concrete jungle. Manoah met future member of Full Circle Everest at a climbing gym where the two became friends and began to push each other to exceed their limits in climbing. Manoah has climbed infamous routes such as The Rostrum and Lurking Fear in Yosemite, Liberty Ridge on Mt. Ranier, and the regular northwest face of Half Dome. Noah spends time teaching his skills to the youth in Memphis and Atlanta. 


@Fred_climbs on Instagram

Fred Campbell has shown his love for problem solving and challenges ever since he was a kid, excelling on the football field and in the math classroom. He built on these skills throughout college, but an injury on the football field put that part of his career to an end. Since then, Fred has found a passion for all things climbing and he now has 10+ years of experience climbing in the snow, ice, and rocks. His journey has brought him to amazing places such as Killamanjaro, The Alaska Range, The Bugaboos, and more. Fred has spent time teaching introductory climbing classes to the youth in Houston and Seattle. 


@Domthesoulifugid on Instagram

 Demond "Dom" Mullins has a resume that is as thick as they come. Dom is a combat veteran who served in Iraq as an Armor Crewman. After serving, Dom then became a spokesperson for Iraq Veterans Against The War while also working as a United States Senate staffer on veterans health and education issues. Demond now spends time conducting research on the benefits of outdoor recreation, particularly mountaineering.



Rosemary Saal currently works as a backpacking and mountaineering field instructor. Much of her life prepared her to teach others the ins and outs of mountaineering as she began taking lessons at quite a young age growing up by the mountains of Seattle. It wasn't until 2016 that Rosemary became a licensed instructor but since then she has not missed a beat.



Eddie Taylor grew up as a mid-western kid who dreamt of the mountains. He now is fortunate to enjoy climbing of all types. Shared experiences and community building help build his passion for what he does and the goals he sets for himself. Eddie has impressively climbed the dreaded El Capitan in one day and Ski'd down Mt. Denali. When not on the ascent, Eddie works as a high school chemistry teacher as well as the track and field coach.



Thomas Moore probably has the least amount of mountaineering experience on the team, but that does not put him at a disadvantage. Thomas made a life of traveling to different countries and soaking up new cultures, he enjoyed the life he lived. One day during his travels a friend asked him to fill a spot on a Killamanjaro summit attempt and he tagged along with little to no experience. He successfully summited and realized he had a knack for withstanding the rough conditions and here he is today!


Making sacrifices to make a difference 

These amazing individuals are attempting to do something that only about 4,000 people have ever accomplished. The death rate is higher than most outdoors activities, and those who don't make it often don't even have their bodies recovered. This a cold and grueling task. The average temperature year-round on Everest is an unbelievable 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The average person may experience altitude sickness from elevations above 8,000 ft tall. Everest is a whopping 29,032 feet tall. These skilled climbers have to train for years to be able to endure the lack of oxygen at that height.

The Full Circle Everest team is doing this almost unfathomable journey not just for themselves, but to inspire generations of others of years to come. Black boys and girls will read the stories, see pictures, and watch the films of their incredible journey to the top of the world. This adventure will give millions of people the confidence, motivation, and beliefs that they too can achieve their dreams and do extraordinary things in their lives.

For donations to the Full Circle Everest team use the link below.


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