A member of the first all-Black expedition to Mount Everest shared his experiences Wednesday with students in Lake Placid.
Dom Mullins was standing at the top of the world in May of 2022, after reaching the peak of Mount Everest. On the first day of Black History Month, Mullins made the simpler journey to Lake Placid to inspire students at North Country School.
The school’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion helped organize the visit to kick off Black History Month. “The community really values the outdoors and exploring our community and our land and everything that it has to offer. There just so happens to be a gentleman who happened to be a part of the first black expedition team that climbed Mount Everest,” said Yunga Webb.
Mullins said he never experienced the opportunity to get into climbing when he was growing up.
“I came into the outdoor community from a roundabout way. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York so I didn’t have a lot of time or access to outdoor spaces, and I actually only got introduced to the wilderness when I was in the army,” said Mullins.
Mullins joined the Army Reserve in 2000 and served in Iraq after the attacks on 9/11. Mullins climbed his first mountain in 2009 after he returned home from his service.
“I was volunteering time to a veteran’s organization in Colorado and that was the first time that I ever climbed a mountain. It was a 14,000-foot mountain. I went hiking with a buddy of mine,” Mullins said.
Mullins experienced barriers entering the climbing community as a black man including the lack of outdoor space, or “social capital,” where he grew up.
“This idea of people being in your community, in your social network, in your environment, who have skills or knowledge to share about outdoor recreation, about outdoor sporting, and I didn’t have that as a kid,” said Mullins.
Mullins said he only saw one other person of color that was part of a different climbing club the entire hike up Mount Everest.
The hope is for his story to inspire more people of color in urban areas to conquer their version of Mount Everest by seeking the outdoors.