James Kagambi, a retired Kenyan teacher, has made world history by sumitting world’s highest mountain, Mt Everest, in a 40-day expedition.
Kagambi embarked on the mission with his team, Full Circle, a group of Black climbers and mountaineers, who were determined to reach the highest peak in the world.
The retired teacher, who is the founder and owner of KG Mountain Expeditions, became the first Kenyan native to reach the peak of Mt Everest on Thursday, May 12.
“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 at Shangri-La Nepal Treks, confirmed to the Himalayan Times.Kagambi embarked on the expedition together with Phil Henderson, Manoah Ainuu, Fred Campbell, Abby Dione, Thomas Moore, Desmond “Dom” Mullins, Rosemary Saal, and Eddie Taylor.
When the team stood on the world’s highest peak, it nearly doubled the overall number of Black Everest summiteers.
Kagambi joined National Outdoor Leadership School as a field instructor in 1987. According to his expedition company, he has worked in Africa, Chile, and the United States as backpacking, climbing, and mountaineering instructor, spending over 700 weeks (13 cumulative years) as an outdoor educator.
Prior to embarking on the journey to climb Mt Everest, Kagambi has also completed three of the Seven Summits and in 1992 represented Africa in the UN Peace Climb for the world on the Eiger. “KG has summited the Eiger three times, was the first black African to summit Denali in 1989, and was the ﬁrst black African to summit Aconcagua in 1994. He has led other climbs including Expedition Denali – First African-American expedition to Denali,” his expedition describes him.
On December 12, 2013, he was among five people who made it to Mt Kenya’s point Batian, the second-highest point in Africa. He hoisted the Kenyan flag to mark 50 years of independence.
Others on the expedition were Evans Mwiti, Simon Thumuni, Kenneth Kimanthi, and Laban Wanjohi. They later met with President Uhuru Kenyatta to celebrate the feat.
Kagambi is currently involved in training Kenya’s mountain rescue teams and has also completed three of the world’s seven highest summits.
His patience and teaching ability grew from his experience as a school teacher, coaching sports, and teaching traditional African music.