“The summit was a nice bonus, but this trip for me was all about this crew, spending time with these people and creating these new shared experiences,” Taylor wrote on Instagram on May 20, 2022. The Full Circle crew, from left to right: Evan Green, Manoah Ainuu, Rosemary Asap, Eddie Taylor and Dom Mullins. [Photo by Evan Green]

As part of the first all-Black expedition to summit Mount Everest, Eddie Taylor hopes to inspire more people of color to get outside and chase their own personal summits.

By Cree Lawrence

 

Centaurus High School chemistry teacher and track coach Eddie Taylor was among the first group of Black climbers to summit Mount Everest—an amazing feat—but one of his favorite parts of the experience was spending time at base camp and getting to know the Himalayan Sherpas who facilitated the climb.

“That was one of the highlights,” says Taylor of the trek, completed in June. “It was awesome being immersed in a completely different culture than mine.”

Centaurus High School teacher and track coach Eddie Taylor was part of the Full Circle Everest Expedition, a group that summited Mount Everest this summer. [Photo by James Lucas]

Taylor is part of the Full Circle Everest Expedition, a group founded to showcase Black climbers’ tenacity and strength as well as the barriers that keep Black communities from accessing outdoor sports and recreation opportunities. With their historic summit of Mount Everest, Full Circle members hope to inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and mountaineers of color “to continue chasing their personal summits,” according to Full Circle’s website.

Visualizing yourself doing something is challenging when you don’t see other people who look like you doing it, Taylor says. His goal is to make outdoor adventures and climbing more accessible and approachable to everyone, no matter their age, race, background or socioeconomic status.

“Being outside and being an example or a model for other folks goes a long way,” he says, adding that he hopes “we’ll see more people of color out climbing or skiing or spending more time outdoors and that it is a safe space for people to be and recreate.”

Taylor grew up in many places but went to high school in Minnesota. His love and appreciation for the outdoors was sparked at a young age as he explored hiking trails, sports and national parks in the different places where he lived.

As a walk-on to the University of Colorado’s track team, he learned how to train and push himself harder than he ever had before.

Taylor’s experience on the track team gave him the dedication and tools he would later need to persevere in his training for the Everest expedition. “I learned how to show up even when I wasn’t feeling it,” he says.

He discovered climbing after he graduated and especially appreciates the constant reminder that he must be mindful to keep himself safe and calm. “When you’re climbing, you can’t think about anything other than climbing,” he says.

He also enjoys the opportunity climbing gives him to experience new places, such as Nepal.

The Full Circle crew started their summit push with a trek through the Khumbu Icefall using ladders and fixed ropes. “Although we tried to move quickly, something about walking across two ladders tied together with what looks like rope from a hardware store makes you slow down and question your life decisions,” Taylor wrote on Instagram on June 21, 2022. [Photo by Evan Green]

The hardest part of the entire journey was all the prep work it took to be ready for such a long journey, but he’s quick to add, “The summit push is definitely not a walk in the park.”

The weather was unseasonably warm during the team’s climb, making their descent through the Khumbu Icefall—a steep, notoriously dangerous 10-mile-long river of melting glacier ice—“pretty scary.”

The trek took two months. Some days involved hiking; other days required setting up camp or preparing for a long stretch the next day. Spending so much time at that high altitude was exhausting, but the end goal kept Taylor determined and focused.

“I hope to show people that they do not have limits,” he says.

Follow Taylor on Instagram at @alldayeddie and learn more about Full Circle Everest Expedition at fullcircleeverest.com.

Previous articleShock & Awe: The Wim Hof Method
Next articleCool Boulder: Facing the Heat