Everest 2012: Dispatch From Phil Henderson – Even Everest is a Small World

NOLS Senior Field Instructor Phil Henderson; Photograph courtesy NOLS

NOLS Rocky Mountain River Base Manager and senior field instructor Phil Henderson sent us a lovely little e-mail from his approach to Everest Base Camp as part of a North Face and National Geographic-sponsored expedition to summit Everest. Before you read his note, let’s set the stage.

As one of few African Americans in the outdoor industry (and NOLS’ first African American instructor), Phil has been paving the way for over two decades for people of color to get more involved in the outdoors. He is passionate about diversity in the outdoors, and hopes to become the first African American man to summit Everest. So without further adieu, here is my friend and mentor Phil’s note from the field:

With this being my fourth trip to the Khumbu region of Nepal, I thought I knew what to expect. I have always come here in the winter, so to see wildflowers in bloom and the Magnolia trees flowering as well is a bit different. NOLS graduate Pasang Chuttin Sherpa has proudly displayed her NOLS diploma on the wall of her mother’s teahouse and lodge. Pasang is joining another expedition to Mount Everest this season so I hope to see her on the mountain. Arrived in Namche Bazaar on market day, which is always a treat. We should end our long trek to Everest Base Camp soon.  Sad to have missed Bahati’s [Phil’s daughter] 4th birthday yesterday. Was able to call though.

Learn more about the scholarship NOLS has given to Nepali climbers in our interview with Phil Henderson.


  1. Katsey Long
    United States
    May 9, 2012, 7:34 pm

    Phil, I”m rooting for you from Wyoming. So glad to be able to come to the blog and get a sense of what is going on. Lots of prayers for the entire group. Stay safe and strong. Can’t wait to hear all about it. Lots of love and admiration, Katsey

  2. paul
    May 16, 2012, 2:27 pm

    Phil, i hope you remember me.You climbed with Kelly Perkins and MB in mt.kenya 2010 in one of our climbs.
    Am so happy that you are doing your virgin Everest- And i wish you and team good Karma! CLIMB ON….Paul Kanja,Summits Africa