Filmed 2 summers ago, and previously titled “Expedition Denali,” the now-titled “An American Ascent” follows 9 mountaineers who attempted to become the first all-African-American team to climb Denali (a.k.a. Mount McKinley) in Alaska, which rises to 20,320 feet above sea level.
The short version of the story goes… In the summer of 2013, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) brought together a group of men and women who made history as the first team of African Americans to blaze a trail up America’s highest peak – Denali – in part to mark the 100th anniversary of the peak’s first ascent, but also to build a legacy by paving a way for young people of color to get outside, get active, get healthy, become passionate about America’s wild places, and chase their own Denali-sized dreams.
Organizations such as GirlTrek, Outdoor Afro, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and various YMCA’s rose to the challenge, ultimately activating over 2,000 young people to take 10,000 Steps to Denali, in solidarity with the team on the mountain. Since the expedition the mountaineers have continued to engage young people during a yearlong national speaking tour to Outdoor Nation Summits, historically black colleges, ethnically diverse universities, churches, schools, nonprofits, and outdoor outreach organizations in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, the D.C. metro area, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. By 2015, Expedition Denali will have directly engaged 10,000 people across the nation.
The mountaineers include Scott Briscoe, Stephen Deberry, James Kagambi, Billy Long, Ryan Mitchell, Tyrhee Moore, Robby ReChord, Rosemary Saal, Adina Scott, Stephen Shobe, and Erica Wynn.
The feature documentary film that will tell the story of the incredible expedition, will screen at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles next month.
2 years ago, the team raised $111,125 via Kickstarter to help finance the project.
Check out the documentary’s *cool* trailer below: