Gill, also known as the Black Sherpa, is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. He moved to Colorado three years ago with his family because of work. He quickly fell in love with Colorado’s outdoors, but considering he was raised at sea level (the highest peak in Maryland is just 3,360 feet, and Baltimore’s elevation is less than 500 feet, even at its highest point), it is no surprise that he faced a learning curve about as steep as the mountains he wanted to climb. “My very first hike, I did everything wrong. I did literally everything wrong,” Gill reflects. He wore denim jeans, a cotton hoodie, and shoes that were not water resistant. He also forgot to bring a first aid kit. As he became a more adept hiker, though, the trauma of 2020—particularly for people of color—resulted in Gill, who is an Army veteran, struggling with depression and anxiety. Hiking served as a physical and mental escape. “No matter what happens in life, that the sun will always rise and set the same way is amazing,” Gill said on a recent sunrise hike.