ExpEdition dEnali inspiring divErsity in thE outdoors
The dilemma. By 2042, people of color will comprise the majority of the U.S. population. By contrast, the participation of this increasingly diverse population in the outdoors is growing only incrementally. Participation rates among African Americans, and especially kids in that demographic, remain the lowest in the nation. Studies show the fitness levels of our African American population are in dire straits. Studies also show that the health and well being of our population of color—and especially our African American population—depend on their remaining active and engaging in nature. The well being of our public lands is also tethered to people of color reconnecting to our wild places. Americans of color are the future stewards of the extraordinary and wild lands we all cherish. As part of America’s up-and-coming majority, they will have a mounting influence on the protection of our wilderness. But without opportunities to experience our great outdoors or role models to inspire them to remain engaged in it, passionate voices from this increasingly diverse constituency won’t be heard.
The plan. To inspire youth of color—and specifically African American youth—to get outside, get active, and become stewards of our wild places, NOLS will run an expedition with African American participants who will attempt to summit Denali, the highest peak in North America, on June, 2013, the 100th anniversary of the first ascent of the peak. More importantly, after the expedition our participants will tour public and charter schools, nonprofit institutions, outdoor outreach organizations, community organizations, and church groups nationwide on speaking engagements. One of the major barriers to participation by youth of color in the outdoors is the lack of role models. Through the post-expedition speaking and media engagements, the Expedition Denali members will serve as those role models to inspire youth of color to connect with America’s wild places and take on outdoor pursuits they never imagined possible.
If we are to protect our wild places, voices from an increasingly diverse constituency must be heard... they must be given opportunities to experience the beauty of our wild places and fall in love with them.
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thE succEss of nols’ dEnali ExpEditions can bE attributEd to thE fact that nols doEs not simply “guidE” participants up thE mountain. wE run our dEnali ExpEdition liKE any othEr coursE, training participants to bEcomE tEchnically vErsEd in mountainEEring sKills.
The mountain. Rising to 20,320 feet above sea level, Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, is the highest peak on the North American continent. Hudson Stuck’s expedition team made the first ascent of the main summit of Denali in 1913. The first woman to summit the peak was Barbara Washburn in 1947. A team of predominantly African Americans has yet to summit Denali.
The leaders. NOLS provides transformational outdoor experiences for individuals from all communities and walks of life. At the heart of our philosophy is the belief that positive, ethical leaders change the world. NOLS teaches and nurtures these leadership skills, which are transferable to any aspect of our students’ lives, in the wilderness setting. We empower our students to feel like they can take on any challenge in the world, and ultimately give back to their own communities and to the wilderness. We inspire youth to fall in love with wild places and work to protect them. And we create positive role models—heroes—whom youth everywhere can emulate. NOLS fosters these leaders by taking students ages 14 and up on extended wilderness expeditions into some of the most spectacular and remote locations, where they learn backcountry living skills, technical outdoor skills, leadership, environmental ethics, and how to enjoy nature responsibly. In 2011 more than 15,000 students enrolled at NOLS locations across the globe on expeditions ranging from 10 days to a full year in length. NOLS was the first commercial outfitter on Denali in 1971 and has regularly run expeditions on Denali since then. The success of NOLS’ Denali expeditions can be attributed to the fact that NOLS does not simply “guide” participants up the mountain. We run our Denali expedition like any other course, training participants to become technically versed in mountaineering skills while they acclimatize and running participants through the leadership progression so that by the end of the expedition, participants who merely followed the instructors become leaders. Today, NOLS runs up to two Denali expeditions every year. Leading the expedition will be a diverse group of NOLS instructors, including instructors of color. NOLS has only three African American field instructors and no African American mountaineering instructors. This was an impetus for this project. However, Kenyan instructor K.G. Kagambi will be leading the group, along with two other experienced mountaineering instructors whom we hope to be either women or international instructors from our India or Patagonia locations.
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The participants. The participants in this expedition are role models in their own right and include diversity champions, change leaders in the youth and outdoors movement, educational reformers, writers, photographers, business leaders, and mountaineers who have made historical ascents. Our participants include Sophia Danenberg, an environmental specialist at Boeing, who was the first African American to summit Everest; Stephen Shobe, director of Pioneer Climbing Expedition, who has led his team up four of the world’s highest peaks in a bid to be the first African American team to climb all Seven Summits; Phil Henderson, a senior NOLS field instructor, who is on an expedition team planning to summit Everest in the spring of 2012; Morgan Dixon, a NOLS graduate, who is a leader in the educational reform movement and founder of GirlTrek, through which African American women and girls nationwide go on treks to fight the obesity epidemic; Rue Mapp, founder of Outdoor Afro, who has reconnected thousands of African American families to the outdoors by organizing family excursions for them; and young Tyrhee Moore and Rosemary Saal, both 18 years old, who are examples of the youth who were transformed by wilderness experiences.
The participants in this expedition include educational reformers, writers, photographers, business leaders, and mountaineers.
The media. NOLS intends to enlist at least one media partner in connection with this expedition. Furthermore, Pioneer Climbing Expedition’s media team plans to take footage of the team and potentially provide coverage of the expedition via live-feed. Adventure writer James Mills plans to blog and write about the expedition on his blog Joy Trip Project and national publications. Both James Mills and NOLS plan to publicize the project through National Geographic Adventure magazine and other media outlets.
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tEam mEmbErs will taKE a 10-day mountainEEring coursE in thE wind rivEr rangE to bond, lEarn thE nols lEadErship progrEssion, and mastEr tEchnical mountainEEring sKills.
The expedition budget. NOLS, a nonprofit educational institution, will raise funds in the amount of at least $285,000 through corporate sponsorships and media partnerships. NOLS also intends to make a significant investment of $20,000–30,000. The breakdown of expedition costs is as follows, with detailed explanations of each phase below. Teambuilding Event (May 5–6, 2012)
Summer Outdoor Retailer Show Expedition Roll-out (Aug. 2–5, 2012)
Wind River Training Trip (Aug. 6–15, 2012)
Base Camp Media Management
Mobilization, Part I: “10,000 Steps to Denali”
Summer 2013 Outdoor Retailer Show Project Inspiration Roll-out
Mobilization, Part II. “Project Inspiration.” (2013-2015)
May 2012 Teambuilding Event: Team members will meet in person for the first time, get some exposure to the technical skills involved in high-altitude mountaineering, commit to a training plan with Steve Bechtel of Climb Strong, and be filmed and photographed by the media team. Summer 2012 NOLS Mountaineering Courses: Not everyone can climb Denali. Per NOLS protocol, participants must have a certain level of mountaineering experience and must demonstrate exemplary expedition behavior. The less experienced members of the team will take two-week to month-long NOLS mountaineering courses in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest in the summer of 2012. Summer 2012 Outdoor Retailer Show: NOLS will secure all corporate and media partnerships by this date and hold a press conference event at the show to announce the expedition. Team members will convene in Salt Lake City for this announcement. August 2012 Wind River Training Trip: Team members will take a 10-day mountaineering course in the Wind River Range to bond, learn the NOLS leadership progression, and master technical mountaineering skills.
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not EvEryonE can climb dEnali. pEr nols protocol, participants must havE a cErtain lEvEl of mountainEEring ExpEriEncE. thE lEss ExpEriEncEd mEmbErs of thE tEam will taKE two-wEEK to month-long nols mountainEEring coursEs in alasKa and thE pacific northwEst in thE summEr of 2011.
June 2013 Denali Expedition: The team will fly to Anchorage and spend 22 days attempting to summit Denali. A base camp team will monitor the team’s progress, providing live video, photo, and written coverage. Mobilization: Part I: “10,000 steps to Denali.” The longest and most strenuous day on Denali will be the summit day, a five-mile round trip up and back to High Camp. Five miles is roughly equal to 10,000 steps. NOLS will partner with organizations such as Big City Mountaineers, SOS Outreach, Outdoor Outreach, and GirlTrek to mobilize youth of color nationwide to go on their “10,000 steps to Denali” on the day the team will attempt to summit the mountain. Equipped with pedometers, youth will hike 10,000 steps in wild places near their homes to commemorate this historic event. Summer 2013 Outdoor Retailer Show: Immediately following the expedition, the team will convene once again at the summer 2013 Outdoor Retailer Show to celebrate making their mark on history and initiate the most important phase of this expedition: “Project Inspiration.” Mobilization: part II: “Project Inspiration.” More important than the expedition itself, or its members, is to address the dilemma underlying this mission: the dearth of youth of color participating in the outdoors. In this phase, expedition members will go on tours of public schools, outdoor outreach organizations, community organizations, church groups, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and other organizations to speak about their expedition and inspire youth attendees to get more involved in the outdoors. NOLS plans for at least 10 weeklong tours with at least four expedition members per tour. Specifically, team members will tour the KIPP schools, a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. These schools were recently featured in a New York Times Magazine article on successful educational programs and have won national educational awards. NOLS is now partnering with 11 KIPP high schools across the country.
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This is what we bring to the table. These are the words over 2,000 NOLS graduates used in response to the question, “What did you find most rewarding about your NOLS experience?” The bigger the word, the more frequently it surfaced.
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It’s ABOUT Our Future. The goal of the expedition is to engage a broader constituency in a public dialogue about diversity in the outdoors, specifically in the field of outdoor recreation and education—to raise awareness of the value of diversity in the outdoors and build a coalition in the outdoor industry that is dedicated to addressing the cultural challenges head-on. The goal is not the summit—the journey is more important than the peak. This journey will involve a group of role models in the African American outdoor community learning and using valuable leadership skills, including expedition behavior, communication, and tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, to work together toward achieving a common goal. The vision is that this expedition will inspire youth of color to take on outdoor pursuits—whether in recreation, education, policy, conservation, land management, or government. As our nation’s demographics change and our next generation—comprised mostly of people of color—take the reins, their comprehension of the benefits of outdoor recreation to their quality of life and to the stewardship of our wilderness is vital, making Expedition Denali an unprecedented opportunity.
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Team Bios Elliott Boston III
Elliott is the cofounder of Pioneer Climbing Expedition (PCE). Elliott started rock climbing in 1992 after he saw the movie K2. He enrolled in a rock climbing class and after that, he was out every other weekend rock climbing. Elliott was hooked! He would spend most of his free time climbing throughout Southern California. Elliott started winter mountaineering in the spring of 1995 after he saw a National Geographic show on Mount Everest. After reading the book, Seven Summits, he began climbing all of the highest mountains in southern California. Elliott’s climbing adventure has led him to rock and ice climbing throughout the United States, Canada, South America, and Europe. Elliott has also been featured in Dudley Edmondson’s book, Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places. In his free time, Elliott enjoys climbing, mountain bike riding, trail running, Brazilian Jiujutsu, eating great food, and spending time with his wife, Andrea, and their son, Miles.
Mashawn hails from the beautiful city of Tallahassee, Fla. After graduating from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in apparel design and technology, Mashawn traveled and worked all across the United States. She has been a naturalist and assistant education director for New Hampshire Audubon, an expedition guide for Lake Valley Camp in Wisconsin, an environmental instructor for Sierra Nevada Journeys in Nevada, and an outdoor Educator at Sheridan Mountain School in Virginia. She is currently enrolled as a graduate student at the University of Washington pursuing her Master’s in education and development and is a Fellow at the BOLD Mountain School.
Sophia grew up in a family that can be described as “indoorsy.” She wasn’t introduced to hiking or camping until college when she signed up for a backpacking trip across New Hampshire’s Presidential Range with the Harvard Freshman Outdoor Program. Since then, she has continued to explore the outdoors. Her introduction to glaciers came in 2002 when she climbed Mount Rainier and Mount Baker. Sophia’s love of the mountains has taken her all over the world, from the Matterhorn and Chamonix in the Alps to Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya in Africa to Ama Dablam and Mount Everest in the Himalayas. With her summit of Everest in 2006, Sophia became the first African American to summit the highest mountain in the world. In addition to climbing, Sophia enjoys trying new outdoor sports such as mountain biking, snowboarding, and surfing, and is currently embarrassing herself trying to learn to ski. In the future, she would like to pursue more technical mountaineering routes and to try her hand at ski mountaineering. She loves sharing her passion for athletics and the outdoors, volunteering in the past with Special Olympics, Passages Northwest, and the Sierra Club Inner City Outings.
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T. Morgan Dixon
When Stephen, a member of the Pioneer Climbing Expedition, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, in 1997, it was his first organized hike and his first of the Seven Summits. He is the newest member to the Pioneer Climbing Expedition. Despite his lack of climbing experience, he is known as a disciplined athlete and businessman. He is a former national champion hurdler and the son of a U.S. Marine. He has dabbled in surfing, snowboarding, cycling, and snowball throwing. Stephen manages an investment firm in San Francisco that focuses on delivering strong financial returns while generating positive social impact. He is a Marshall Scholar with a Master’s degree in social anthropology and an MBA from the University of Oxford. He completed his undergraduate degree at UCLA, where he graduated with highest honors and represented the Bruin track and field team. It wasn’t until the summer of 2011 that Stephen even heard of the Seven Summits. He learned of the famous climbing feat from an alumni email from the University of Oxford. He spent the next several weeks researching the Seven Summits voraciously and found the Pioneer Climbing Expedition. The rest, as they say, is history.
Pushing boundaries means a lot to Morgan in the context of her family history. The granddaughter of sharecroppers, and the daughter of a woman who desegregated an Oklahoma high school in 1955, Morgan was the first in her family to graduate college. She earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and African American studies at the University of Southern California and a master’s in education policy at Seton Hall. She served on the board of directors for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Scenic Byway and spent a summer as a park ranger with the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Morgan now leads GirlTrek, a national nonprofit health organization with an active network of 50,000 African American females. She’s one of the top education consultants in the country—she was recently featured on an education reform panel at Yale and interviewed by NPR. She trains principals and deans as Director of Leadership Development at Achievement First, New York City’s largest charter school network. This combination of experiences—in health and education—as well as her passion for human rights, has positioned Morgan as a leader in public health. Her hope is to inspire physical fitness and emotional health in low-resource communities. To this end, she earned certification as a yoga instructor and completed the NOLS Outdoor Trip Leader Course and guides hikes and yoga classes for free.
Dudley Edmondson is a nature photographer, filmmaker, author, and allaround outdoor enthusiast. As a seasoned photographer, he has spent the last 20 years of his life traveling and working with wild subjects in wild places. Dudley has a great deal of interest inspiring people of color to participate in the outdoors. He has worked on a number of video projects to that end for clients such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and REI. Dudley also spent four years traveling the nation to complete his book: Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places. His search for other African Americans who were equally passionate about the natural world was part of his effort to create a set of “outdoor role models” for the nation’s African American community. Dudley feels the future of conservation in America is tethered to people of color reconnecting to their outdoor cultural traditions. As part of America’s new up-and-coming majority, it is their influence and political power that will determine the sustainability of America’s environmental protection policies, which influence an entire planet. Dudley has cycled, fly fished, camped, backpacked, cross-country skied, snow shoed, kayaked, canoed, swum, and rock climbed for the past 30 years. He is also an avid triathlete.
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As a young woman, Chelsea dreamed of the mountains and going camping. Unfortunately, she lived in suburban Chicago and her family just did not do that sort of thing. Chelsea eventually found her way to the outdoor world through rock climbing in 1993. At that time, she also began backpacking as a means of getting to backcountry rock. Before she knew it, Chelsea had amassed significant experience in both. Chelsea moved to Yosemite in 2001 to be close to the rock climbing mecca and became the first African American woman to climb El Capitain in Yosemite that year. She has mountaineered to the summit of several 14,000-foot peaks and is a two-time NOLS graduate. Chelsea has also been featured in Dudley Edmondson’s book, Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places. Chelsea is currently the founder and Executive Director at Los Angeles Wilderness Training (LAWT). She brings to LAWT her enthusiasm for getting city kids outdoors, as well as her expertise in both the office and outdoor worlds. LAWT trains adults who work with youth to safely take their kids camping and backpacking and supports their trips. Outside of her work with LAWT, Chelsea co-leads the only backpacking trip for women of color in the country (that she knows of ) through the Balanced Rock Foundation. The course features backpacking, yoga, and creative writing.
Phil Henderson, senior NOLS field instructor, has worked for the school for the past 18 years. He has been in his current position as NOLS Rocky Mountain River Program Manager for 11 years. Phil has worked most his adult life in the recreation industry, and his career stops have included 16 months at NOLS East Africa, guiding Denali in 2005, and three tours in Nepal. Phil was born and raised in San Diego, Calif., and he has always been involved in the outdoors. Fishing was his first hobby, and he started skiing at age 20. Due to a football injury in college in 1987, he started gravitating toward hiking, climbing, and other non-traditional sports. In March 2012, he will embark on a Mount Everest expedition with an elite team of climbers. Phil has also volunteered his time to outdoor programs all over the world and sees that as an important role he has played as an outdoor professional. Some of his most memorable experiences were during the time he spent in East Africa. For the first time in his life, he was not considered or treated like a “minority.” This experience gave him the greatest insight for the need to disperse personal time, resources, and education worldwide to hungry minds.
James Kagambi (KG) KG, 51, joined NOLS as a field instructor in 1987 after completing a Rock Climbing Course in 1984 and a Semester in Kenya in 1986. Prior to joining the NOLS team, KG taught in Kenyan grade schools for seven years, also instructing in traditional African music and coaching soccer and other sports on the side. Since 1987, KG has worked in Africa, Chile, and the United States as a backpacking, climbing, and mountaineering instructor, spending over 600 weeks (12 cumulative years) as an outdoor educator in the backcountry. A senior mountaineering instructor, KG has regularly worked in NOLS’ mountaineering programs in Patagonia. He has also completed three of the Seven Summits and in 1992 represented Africa in the U.N Peace Climb for the World on the Eiger. KG has summited the Eiger three times, was the first African to summit Denali in 1989, and was the first African to summit Aconcagua in 1994. In his home country of Kenya, KG has guided on Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro since the 1990s and today trains search and rescue teams on Mount Kenya, Kilimanjaro, and Rwenzoris. KG’s longtime contributions to the field of rock climbing and mountaineering in Kenya have led to recognition and honors in his country. KG currently owns KG Mountain Expeditions, which regularly leads backcountry expeditions in East Arica. While not enjoying his favorite activity— high altitude mountaineering—KG enjoys spending time with his family and three children in Naromoru, Kenya.
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James Edward Mills
Rue, founder of Outdoor Afro, participated in both President Obama’s conference on America’s Great Outdoors and the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign. In 2010, she was appointed Youth Investment Program Officer at the Stewardship Council, where she manages its grant-making program to connect underserved California youth to the outdoors. She serves on the Board of Advisors for the Children and Nature Network and is a fellow with the Center for Whole Communities. She was also distinguished as one of the Wilderness Society’s five “Faces of Conservation” and was recently named the National Wildlife Foundation’s “Wildlife Champion of the Month.” Her blog, Outdoor Afro, won a 2011 Black Weblog Award for Best Green/Nature Blog and is now an official partner of the American Camp Association. Rue is a graduate of UC Berkeley and proud mother of three children. The last time Rue climbed a mountain was nearly 20 years ago in California’s Sierra Nevadas on a mountaineering course in which she pushed herself beyond what she thought was physically possible. On that trip, she learned to “trust her feet.” This is a metaphor she uses to this day to advance in life and inspire her work.
James Edward Mills is a freelance journalist and an independent media producer. He specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving, and practices of sustainable living. James has worked in the outdoor industry since 1989 as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, and now a writer and sometimes photographer. His experience includes a broad range of expeditions, from mountaineering and rock climbing to backcountry skiing and kayak touring. He has summited Mount Whitney twice, once solo, backpacked through the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains as well as the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado, and paddled a significant portion of the high altitude Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Most recently, he helped to establish six sport-climbing routes on the Gheralta Mastiff, a series of sandstone cliffs in the Tigrai region of northern Ethiopia. Based in Madison, Wisc., James is currently a contributor to numerous publications. With skills in audio storytelling, James also has radio production credits. He’s also the producer of a weekly blog and podcast series that focuses on adventure culture called The Joy Trip Project.
Tyrhee is a freshman at the University of West Virginia working toward a bachelor’s degree in visual journalism and is currently in the top 5 percent of his class. He has graduated from two NOLS courses, including an Outdoor Educator Course in the Pacific Northwest that included mountaineering in the Cascades. Tyrhee came to NOLS via the Gateway Partner Program, through which NOLS partners with organizations that provide opportunities to underserved communities to grant full tuition scholarships to attend NOLS courses. Tyrhee’s sponsoring organization was City Kids Wilderness Project in Washington, D.C. In addition to spending two months with NOLS in the Alaska’s Talkeetna Range and Washington’s Cascade Range, Tyrhee has also been a kayaking instructor at Rendezvous River Sports in Jackson, Wyo. and has worked at a wilderness camp with the City Kids Wilderness Project teaching teamwork, leadership, and outdoor skills. At a little over 18 years old, Tyrhee will be one of the youngest members of Expedition Denali.
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Robby is a backcountry skier and whitewater boater. He is a senior field instructor with NOLS; he was inspired to take his Instructor Course after meeting Phil Henderson. Robby is now NOLS Teton Valley program supervisor. His NOLS field time has taken him to the wildest parts of Utah by raft, canoe, kayak, and foot; to the Brooks Range in Alaska; down the Ganges River in India; and skiing all over Wyoming. His latest accomplishments in the NOLS winter program were teaching the NOLS professional level one avalanche course and Winter Instructor Seminar. This spring he will be the first African American to lead a NOLS instructor course. Robby grew up in Chicago and was introduced to the outdoors when his grandfather took him fishing. At Colorado College, he discovered his true passion—skiing the untrammeled slopes of the backcountry on telemark skis with friends. This led to him settling in Jackson, Wyo. in 1994. Robby has committed himself to skiing in the backcountry and avalanche education, specifically looking at communication around risk. Dubbed “The Right Reverend Robby RipChord of the first Church of the Open Slopes” by coinstructors, Robby enjoys nothing more than getting someone to the top of a pristine slope and offering them the first line down.
Dr. Nina Roberts is an associate professor at San Francisco State University and director of the Pacific Leadership Institute. An educator in the field of parks and recreation in varying capacities for nearly 30 years, Nina is nationally recognized for her research regarding race/ ethnicity, culture, and visitation to national parks and other public lands. With a mixed race background (white, East Indian and West Indian) she is constantly inspired to both speak and write about the value of cross-cultural connections. She currently serves on the Advisory Council for GirlVentures as well as the Center for Park Management. She is also a member of the National Park Service Centennial Steering Committee and research co-chair of the National Parks Promotion Council. Nina has been featured in Dudley Edmondson’s book, Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places. Nina is a Fulbright scholar, and her work provides leaders and managers in outdoor recreation, natural resource management, and environmental education with ideas and resources needed to respond more effectively to changing demographics, as well as cultural shifts and trends across the U.S. A NOLS alumnus, she loves hiking, camping, biking, kayaking, rock climbing, and playing the djembe during her leisure time.
One of the youngest members of the team, Rosemary was born in Seattle, Wash. in 1993. She is multiracial, her mother being of Caucasian descent and her father of African American descent. She has always loved the outdoors and being active; before climbing real rocks with Passages Northwest at the age of 12, she was constantly climbing trees, buildings, and pretty much anything else she could get her hands and feet on. Between 2005 and 2006, Rosemary took three rock climbing courses with Passages Northwest. She also served on the Passages Northwest Girls Advisory Board, a group of alumni who helped organize events for the female Passages Northwest community. And this was all before the age of 13. At 13, Rosemary moved from living with her mom in Seattle to living with her dad in central New Jersey. It was a pretty big adjustment at first, but she eventually settled in. Unfortunately, she lost touch with Passages Northwest for the first few years of living on the East Coast, but after reconnecting with them in late 2009, was able to be a part of their first mountaineering course in the summer of 2010. Rosemary is currently attending a community college and pursuing a degree in studio arts.
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Adina Scott was raised in Tacoma, Wash. Her childhood interests included music, reading, science, and investigating her backyard and the dirt under her porch. Her parents introduced her and her brother to hiking and backpacking at a young age with the aid of chocolate bribes. Adina went to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio to study engineering and music. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in electrical engineering and music. Adina later enrolled in graduate school at Purdue University to continue research in electronic materials and nanotechnology. She was awarded several fellowships, published a number of papers in scientific journals, and was engaged in mentorship and outreach activities. She connected with mentee students through the Minority Engineering Program and the Women in Engineering Program. She completed her Ph.D in electrical engineering, then traveled to India for a research exchange program in the development of materials for alternative energy technologies. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher in the Bioengineering Department at the University of Washington where she develops instrumentation to study brain development. She also enjoys hiking and climbing, volunteering for the BOLD Mountain School, and playing in her band.
Stephen Shobe is the Managing Director of Pioneer Climbing Expedition (PCE), whose goal is to be the first AfricanAmerican team to climb the Seven Summits: Aconcagua (Argentina), Elbrus (Russia), Everest (Nepal), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Denali (Alaska), and the Vinson Massif (Antarctica). Stephen’s thirst for adventure started at an early age, when he found himself searching the labyrinth of subterranean caves, which turned out to be open storm drain construction sites, with candles and flashlights in hand. At the age of 16, he was an advanced scuba diver certified by multiple agencies, fought fires for the U.S. Forest Service, and eventually learned to fly helicopters. Fast forward to 1989 when Stephen’s thirst for the exploration of the vertical world began. His interest in climbing was sparked quite by accident when he saw others taking a class and wondered if he could do what they were trying to do. As it turned out, he could. Stephen’s climbing ability and expertise has gained international attention. As a result, he was employed by the French government as a technical climbing instructor for The Corsican Mountaineering Team. With Stephen at the helm, PCE has successfully completed three of the Seven Summits: Aconcagua, Elbrus, and Kilimanjaro. The team has yet to summit Denali.
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ExpEdition dEnali inspiring divErsity in thE outdoors
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