In honor of Black History Month, this Photo Friday showcases the first all-African American team of climbers to ascend the highest point in North America, the daunting and mesmerizing Denali in Alaska. Sponsored by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Expedition Denali aimed to inspire minority communities to look outdoors for life-enriching experiences. Another goal was to bridge the “adventure gap,” that is how “minority populations are much less likely to seek recreation, adventure, and solace in our wilderness spaces,” according to the Joy Trip Project.
The expedition took place in the summer 2013, 100 years after the first ascent of the mountain. By marking this anniversary, the team set out to forge a new historical moment in mountaineering and “build a legacy by paving a way for young people of color to get outside, get active, get healthy, become passionate about America’s wild places, and chase their own Denali-sized dreams,” according to the official website. Ultimately, with demographics in the United States rapidly changing, this legendary team hopes to become role models for our nation’s future generation, comprised mostly of people of color, to be the stewards of the world’s extraordinary and increasingly vulnerable landscapes.
In 2014, directors George Potter and Andrew Adkins produced an award-winning documentary film on this groundbreaking journey titled An American Ascent. Check out the trailer for it below: