This summer, it seems like the great outdoors are even more alluring than usual.
National parks are overflowing with outdoor enthusiasts and breaking records in overall visitors. After a year locked inside and having limited activities, people are swarming to the outdoors with a vengeance. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore new parks or cross items off the bucket list.
One Illinois teen took the opportunity to break an all-new record.
Lucy Westlake Breaks Climbing Record as a Teenager
Lucy Westlake, from Naperville, Illinois, has now cemented herself as the youngest female to summit the highest point in each of America’s 50 states. She is also only 17 years old.
This is a common goal for many climbers and nature lovers. It includes climbing some truly awe-worthy and dangerous summits scattered across the states. The highest summit is Denali in Alaska. It is 20,310 feet in the air. Some of the other summits for the high-pointing mission include Mount Rainer in Washington and Mount Elbert in Colorado. While some states offer some difficult, advanced climbs, others are just a road trip and a little fun.
For example, the Florida “summit” is actually just a slope in Panhandle at about 345 feet above sea level.
Lucy Westlake finished off her high-pointing journey by leaving the hardest for last — Denali or Mount McKinley. She and her father, Rodney Westlake, finally ascended the last 3,000 feet to the top of the mountain on Father’s Day. It was a long journey to get to the top. The iconic duo spent 40 days living in the mountains in order to climb to the top.
According to the Chicago Tribune, she has stripped the title from Kristen Kelliher, who was 18 when she climbed Denali. The father-daughter duo had attempted Denali in the past but had to turn around when their guides were enlisted to help save climbers lost near the top of the mountain. This time they took the journey on their own.
Working Toward the Seven Summits
For part of the time the two met up with climbers from Colorado, but everyone else they were with turned back.
“We started with nine, but ended with two. It was both terrifying and thrilling to lead my dad on a rope, just the two of us, 20,310 feet to the summit of Denali. It was the culmination of 10 years — learning, exploring, and growing together in the mountains … It was an amazing feeling. It was pretty surreal being up there. It was an incredible experience overall; it definitely taught me a lot about myself,” Westlake told the publication.
In order to prove she was ready to conquer Denali, Westlake traveled to Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, which is 19,341 feet up. Besides the summits in the U.S., Westlake has a worldwide vision. She’s also conquered both Aconcagua in South America in 2018 and Elbrus in Europe in 2019.
Her next goal, besides college, is to climb those seven summits.
While someone will surely come along and break her record, since that’s the point, she’s basking in the glory while she can. It will always remain a powerful moment in her life.
“There’s so much more inside yourself than you can ever imagine,” Lucy Westlake said.