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The First Ever All-Black American Expedition Team Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro

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black American expedition that climbs mountains, Mount Kilimanjaro

A group of 11 climbers have made history as the first ever all-black American expedition team to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest mountain. Located in Tanzania, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a legendary adventure that attracts climbers from around the world.

The unique group, ranging in age from 25 to 60, met through Outdoor Afro, a national non-profit organization founded on creating a network that inspires black connections and leadership in nature. With groups located in 30 states around the U.S., the organization has helped connect black nature lovers.

The training to climb Africa’s tallest mountain took the group a year. “I would go on 6.5 to 10.5-mile hikes carrying packs with weights on my back once per week,” said Olatunde Gholaha, a father of two from Austin, Texas. Olatunde was the only man in the group to reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, along with four women.

The team climbed four to six hours each day for five days, climbing through the south-western slopes of the mountain. They embarked on the summit at 11 p.m. and climbed through the dark, walking up a 45-degree incline. Out of the 11 climbers, only five made it to the top.

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“I’m going to make it, the sun will come up– I just kept repeating that to myself. I had to make it to the top for my family, my support system, the people back in Boston — I’m doing this for my team,” says Chaya Harris, one of the five to reach the top and make history! 

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