Nairobi, Kenya 13th May, 2022… At 9:30 am Nepal time on May 12, 2022, James Kagambi of Naru Moru Kenya, a retired teacher, became the first native Kenyan to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth.
James Kagambi set out to put Kenya on top of the world by climbing Mt. Everest as part Full Circle Everest as the only Kenyan in an all-American expedition group that made their final assault on the summit after spending about 40 days on the mountain, and a fitful night at 27,900 feet. News of their achievement broke around the world on May 12th, 2022, at 2300 hrs when they safely reached Everest base Camp.
Kenya’s top sports gaming firm, Betika extended support through their initiative “Betika Na Community” towards the Kenyan teacher James Kagambi early in the year and helped him to prepare his historic climb alongside veterans from the United States of America on a 70-day trip. KG had faced an uphill task trying to secure a sponsor for his climb with mountaineering yet to be considered a sport in Kenya, until Betika took a leap of faith and decided to place their bet on the 62-year old.
Mount Everest sits on the crest of the Great Himalayas in Asia, lying on the border between Nepal and Tibet. The summit of Everest reaches two-thirds of the way through the air of the earth’s atmosphere at about the cruising altitude of jet airliners and oxygen levels there are very low, temperatures are extremely cold, and weather is unpredictable and dangerous.
“For KG, what has been an enriching but purely personal pursuit for the last 34 years turned into another avenue for him to influence and inspire alongside a diverse, but unified team of expedition members. We are so proud of him for putting Kenya on the map again. KG has made history today by being part of an all-black team to summit Everest.
Thank you for taking Betika on the journey with you, we have seen every inch of the mountain and we were fascinated by the team’s spirit. KG, you have achieved your wildest dreams, you can do anything you set your
mind to achieve. For us as a brand, you have challenged us to go the extra mile and to believe that we are extraordinary.
We hope that this expedition will change the future of Mountaineering in Kenya, bringing representation to the highest point on earth and to the global outdoor community,” Said Nicholas Mruttu, CEO Betika.
Betika shares a common value with sportsmen and sportswomen- a need for continuous improvement. Through Betika Na Community, the firm has supported outstanding athletes to achieve their highest dreams so that they can inspire others to go for theirs.
Speaking to KG through a Satellite phone he said “I made it. I was on top of the world just a few hours ago. I did it, we did it and I cannot thank Betika enough for believing in my wild dreams! Every Mountain is different. I respect Mountains and Everest has favoured us and we summitted, we have made history as the first all-black team. It’s not about the point reached but how I got there. This was fun and I hope this expedition is a spectacle for that seed of aspiration. Because for me, I didn’t know that I would make it this far with my old age and my weak knees, but I pushed myself to the next level.
Africans should know that this space exists for them too. Thank you to everyone who has supported and prayed for me. I am humbled by Betika for supporting me. They have given me immeasurable support. I was able to do this because Betika supported me from the very beginning and gave me zero pressure. I am now motivated to do better, to keep the fight and to pass on my skills through my training school, KG expeditions.” Of the team’s nine members, at least six tagged the summit along with their guides. When the team stood on the world’s highest peak it nearly doubled the overall number of black Everest summiteers.
This expedition was to showcase the tenacity and strength of these climbers and highlight the barriers that continue to exist for black communities in accessing the outdoors. This historic attempt will inspire the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts, educators, leaders, and mountaineers of colour to continue chasing their personal summits.