COLORADO, USA — A group of mountaineers is hoping to make history by becoming the first all-Black team to summit Mount Everest. Three Coloradans are part of the team, including Centaurus High School science teacher Eddie Taylor.
"We’re really excited with all the community support, and like the kids at schools and people around the country that don’t have that big of a connection to mountaineering and are just excited for this project," Taylor told 9NEWS via Zoom from Nepal. "That gives everyone the energy -- just a bunch of excitement to be here and hopefully all summit the mountain."
After months of training, Taylor and the rest of the team called Full Circle Everest are at the mountain's base camp. The group is waiting for a window of good weather to start their climb. In the meantime, they have been able to train, learn about the area's culture and soak in the impact they are having on people across the world, who look just like them.
"Hopefully us coming here sets another step in the right direction and really helps that next generation have things to look up to and people to see," Taylor said. "We’re not trying to get every single person to climb Mount Everest or climb a mountain, but I think just as a culture we don’t have a heritage of going into the mountains and climbing and camping or even going hiking, and so I think hopefully doing something like this at this level can kind of trickle down to people who need some inspiration to go on a hike or be active."
Jacquelyn O’Brien's fourth grade class at Birch Elementary School is filled with students inspired by Taylor's adventure.
"The kids are engaged and they're excited and they really want to share in this historic moment," O'Brien said.
Birch Elementary and Centaurus High are both part of Boulder Valley School District. O'Brien heard about Taylor's journey from another teacher. She speaks to her students every morning about the expedition.
The students even do an Everest run club every morning, where they exercise and add up their miles to try to run the length of Mount Everest.
"We had a couple of our students of color just so excited to see the Black community represented in sports and maybe in other ways they haven't in the past," O'Brien said. "They may have not heard of mountaineering before and now they’re learning about it. This whole world is open, and especially students of color are able to see someone who looks like them is up on this mountain. So I think we absolutely need more of this, and just the celebration of Black excellence and people doing really wonderful things is really great for the students to be able to see."
The team is waiting on good weather to start their journey. They hope to begin in the next week. Once they start, it will take about five days to reach the summit. The team is posting updates on their Instagram.
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