Published January 25, 2024
Breaking Barriers and Discovering Possibilities at The Adventure Summit
Chemistry teacher, coach, college athlete and professional climber Eddie Taylor is challenging people to take a different look at their perceived limitations by finding fulfillment, community and joy in the outdoors.
Taylor is one of three featured speakers at The Adventure Summit, presented by Wagner Subaru, on Friday, Feb. 9, from 5 to 9:30 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 10, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Wright State University’s Student Union. This free event celebrates outdoor skill, experiences, adventure and culture – a culture in which Taylor hopes to see more Black individuals find happiness and community.
Taylor is part of a small percentage of Black professional climbers – and STEM educators, for that matter – in the United States. However, by sharing his story and continuing to embark on outdoor adventures, he wants to inspire people to see new possibilities for themselves.
“Most of our limitations are self-imposed,” said Taylor. “There was a time in college basketball when there was an unwritten rule you could have very few Black people on a team. Now, people don’t see this as a limitation. It’s a possibility.”
Before Taylor became part of the first all-Black expedition to summit Mount Everest in 2022, he grew up simply enjoying being outside with his family.
Now a resident of Boulder, Colorado, Taylor moved from the Midwest to northern New Mexico as a child. Because his family was unfamiliar with the area, they spent a lot of time in the region’s national parks, where Taylor fell in love with the mountainous terrain. The elevation also allowed Taylor to take on snowboarding and skiing, in addition to other competitive sports.
After a brief stay in the Midwest, he returned to the mountains as a walk-on to University of Colorado (Boulder)’s track and field team.
After college, the intensity Taylor had for track shifted to climbing. His favorite is technical rock climbing, which includes scaling long, remote walls. Taylor skied North America’s tallest peak, Denali, located in Alaska, and climbed Yosemite National Park’s El Cap in just one day (most people take 4 to 6 days to climb the peak). He also has spent time across the world climbing from Canada to Kenya and beyond.
Through climbing, Taylor has also found a community and enjoys the mental and physical nature of outdoor sports.
“Outdoor sports are more experiential,” he said. “It’s about the experience more than the competition. Climbing is also a group sport – you work with other people to help you problem solve.”
While climbing is Taylor’s passion and part of his career, he also wants to impart the benefits of simply experiencing the outdoors and being present in nature – even for those who don’t have dreams of summiting mountains.
“There’s such a variety of reasons why people can benefit from the outdoors,” said Taylor. “When I climb, there’s nothing I can think of except climbing. Camping in the backcountry or somewhere you don’t have cell phone service is similar. Your focus becomes so minimal. Something deep in our minds really likes the simplicity of life and focus.”
Taylor’s presentation, scheduled for Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. in Wright State University Student Union’s Apollo B room, kicks off The Adventure Summit.
Featured presentations the following day are:
- A Journey of Illumination by Paddling into the Heart of America by Neal Moore, who recounts his 675-day journey on 22 rivers in 22 states covering 7,500 miles. He became the first known person to complete a continuous solo paddle from Pacific to Atlantic in a canoe.
- Joy Drive: An Intergenerational Adventure to Every U.S. National Park by Dr. Brad Ryan with special appearance by Grandma Joy. A simple weekend camping trip with Dr. Ryan’s grandma, Joy, turned into an inspirational journey to all 63 parks. Learn how they found connection, grace and healing on the open roads of America.
Additionally, more than 40 regional and local presenters will share stories, planning and preparation tips, and regional destination ideas from their adventures both near and far.
Additionally, guests are invited to Party with the Pros after Taylor’s presentation at the Holiday Inn from 9:30 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9. Supported by Bonbright Distributors, this is a chance to mingle with fellow adventurers, create new connections and share stories.
The Adventure Summit offers an expo featuring more than 25 outdoor recreation vendors, local clubs, organizations and more.
The full schedule of events and presenters can be found at www.theadventuresummit.comn/schedule.
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