Accomplished mountain climber and outdoor education advocate Tyrhee Moore, BS ’15, Sport Management, found his passion for the outdoors early in life. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Moore was a member of the first all-African-American team to climb the highest mountain peak in North America, Denali, in 2013. Moore founded Soul Trak Outdoors, a nonprofit organization that connects underserved communities to inclusive, diverse outdoor spaces, activities and leadership.
In what ways did growing up in Washington, D.C., mold you into the outdoorist you are?
I believe growing up in D.C. helped create my own narrative of what it means to be an outdoorist and what nature means to me as an individual. I believe that society has created a mold or a defined image of what wilderness is, and far too commonly that image does not include individuals that look like me or come from places where I grew up. Since I have frequently been excluded from that depiction, I approach the outdoors with my own sense of style and perspective. I have created a much wider lens around what nature is to better validate my experiences. That can be a tree growing out of concrete next to a basketball court or the ridged Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho.
How did you first get interested in climbing?
I first became interested in climbing at a summer camp back when I was 13 years old. It was a very transformational summer camp because it was the first time that I had left D.C., took an airplane across the country and stepped into a completely new landscape to try traditional outdoor activities for the first time.
You were the youngest member of Expedition Denali, the first African-American group to reach the summit of Denali, the tallest peak in North America. What did this mean to you?
Being a part of Expedition Denali was a pivotal moment for me in my outdoor career. It was the first moment that I realized that my presence in the outdoors was necessary for others and not just myself. I was also extremely validated by both meeting and then climbing alongside so many incredible leaders who had existed in this space far before me. Not to mention that this still remains one of the most challenging physical feats that I have taken on as an outdoorsman.
How did you prepare for the expedition? What kept you going when it got tough? What did you learn on this expedition about yourself that you still hold true today?
So I actually was still a student at West Virginia University at the time, and I would train right on campus. I would drag a tire attached to my backpack up the street where I lived. I hiked many of the trails in Morgantown and worked out at the Rec Center, which typically consisted of CrossFit-like regimented workouts. I’m a naturally competitive person, so there were many tough moments but in many ways that is what I look forward to the most.
I learned that with a good community, great preparation and a purpose bigger than myself, there is nothing that can stand in my way.