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The explorers came from all walks of life. One explorer, Erica Wynn, hails from Queens, NY. She was exposed to outdoor activities through a private boarding school and the Girltrek’s Trailblazer Fellowship program for black women. Another, Stephen DeBerry, is a national champion hurdler, an Oxford and UCLA grad and manages an investment firm in San Francisco. Climber Stephen Shobe is a member of the Pioneer Climbing Expedition, a group with the goal of becoming the first African American team to climb the Seven Summits: Aconcagua (Argentina), Elbrus (Russia), Everest (Nepal), Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Denali (Alaska), and the Vinson Massif (Antarctica). Shobe has reached three of the summits on his list.

The team chose June 2013 because it is the 100th anniversary of the first climb attempt up Denali. After a year of training and days of climbing, the Denali team reached 19,600 feet up the mountain, but were forced to turn back because of a lightning storm. Despite their setback, they climbed back down and are using their experience to encourage other black and inner city kids to get involved in outdoor adventures through media tours all over the country.

(Photo: Courtesy of

Little Known Black History Fact: The Denali Expedition Team  was originally published on

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