Sophia Danenberg - The first African American and first Black woman to climb Mount Everest.


In 2006 Sophia became the first African American and first Black woman to climb Mount Everest in the Himalayas.

Sophia first major climb was at Mt Rainier in Washington State in 2002. Over the next two years she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt Baker, and Mt Kenya.

In 2005 she scaled five peaks: Grand Teton, Mount Katahdin, Mount Denali, Mount Tasman, and Ama Dablam.


During this episode Sophia shares more about her passion for mountaineering and how her climbing evolved. Sophia talks about her Mt. Everest experience and what it was like on the mountain for summit day. She shares advice and top tips to help you achieve your goals.


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Show notes

  • Having an unusual childhood and growing up between Japan and the USA

  • Not being sporty but spending time in the outdoors

  • Not growing up with indoor plumbing

  • Moving to Chicago in the middle of winter at age 6

  • The culture shock of moving countries

  • Going back to visit Japan after college and living there for 4 years

  • Her passion for the mountains

  • Learning to climb outdoors

  • Being inspired by her friend to go and climb Mt. Rainier in Washington State

  • Using all her holidays to climb

  • Why she loves spending time in the mountains

  • 4 years before climbing Mt. Everest

  • Feeling free to fail

  • The challenges faced while climbing

  • Going to climb Cho Oyo (sixth-highest mountain in the world at 8,188 metres (26,864 ft) above sea level)

  • How the Mt. Everest climb came about

  • Making the decision to climb…

  • Giving herself permission to fail

  • The reactions of friends and family

  • Dealing with the paperwork for Mt, Everest

  • The Body Disposal Form

  • What happens if you die on the mountain

  • Fears….. or feeling scared?

  • What summit night was like

  • Reaching the summit of Mt. Everest!

  • Moving at pace on the mountain and using the smaller oxygen tanks

  • Breaking trail through the snow

  • Climbing with International Mountain Guides (IMG) - https://www.mountainguides.com/about.shtml

  • Doing yoga and meditation

  • Dealing with a few back problems

  • Advice for women and girls who want to get into mountain climbing

Social Media

Website www.danenberg.org


Instagram @sophiaclimbs

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