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James Kagambi: Retired Teacher Who is First Kenyan to Summit Mt. Everest

James Kagambi
Former teacher James Kagambi PHOTO/Instagram

In 2022, James Kagambi, a retired teacher made history after becoming the first Kenyan to summit Mount Everest, world’s tallest mountain.

It took the former teacher three years of preparations and 40 days to summit the mountain in a bid to encourage black people to participate in outdoor activities.

This is not the first time Kagambi made history, he is the first black African to summit Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Here is his story as told by EAFeed.

Kagambi is also the founder of KG Mountain Expeditions, which he began in August 1994.

The organisation teaches and guides people on how to climb Mount Kenya, Kilimanjaro, and Mount Ruwenzori, among other East African mountains.

Kagambi began his career as a schoolteacher, sports coach, and traditional African music tutor before leaving to follow his passion for mountain climbing.

He began his mountaineering career in 1987 as a field instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).

Kagambi went on to work as a climbing, hiking and mountaineering instructor in several places including Chile, Kenya and the United States.

In his mountaineering career totalling over 13 years, he has taken part in various mountaineering programmes in among other places, Patagonia, Alaska and India.

James Kagambi
James Kagambi PHOTO/Instagram

Additionally, Kagambi represented Africa in the 1992 United Nations Peace Climb for the World on the Eiger.

He has climbed three of the world’s tallest mountains, including the Eiger three times, and was the first African to summit Denali in 1989.

Further, Kagambi was the first black African to summit Aconcagua in 1994, and also led several mountain climbs, including Expedition Denali, the first African American expedition to Denali.

As if that was not enough, he set another record in 2022 by becoming the first Kenyan to summit Mount Everest which stands at 8,849 meters.

The adventure began in February 2022, when he revealed his intention to walk the world’s tallest mountain after 3 years of preparation.

He began his 70-day challenge with the uphill chore of finding a sponsor for his trip, as climbing is not yet recognised as a sport in Kenya.

Kagambi was fortunate to receive a last-minute sponsorship from sports betting operator Betika through their project known as Betika na Community.

The adventure would later commence on Monday, April 4, 2022, with the entire squad named Full Circle.

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