I’m sure just about everyone has heard of Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s the highest free-standing mountain and the highest point in Africa. So naturally, it is a frequent destination for thrill-seekers and experienced mountain climbers. Every year thousands of people make the trek up this huge mountain if for no other reason than to say they did. But it’s not for the faint of heart. You need a strong mind, body, and soul to make the journey. That’s why it’s so amazing that a 7-year-old girl pulled it off.
When Austin, Texas native Montannah Kenney hear her mother, Hollie Kenney, talking about climbing the famous mountain she only had one thought: I wanna do it too. Naturally, Hollie was hesitant at first. She was a former professional triathlete, so she knows how much hard work and training goes into achieving something like this. But she didn’t want to take her daughters wishes lightly. “I didn’t discount what she said but I knew she didn’t know the magnitude so we started researching it and looking at videos,” Hollie said in a quote to ABC News.
She made sure that Montannah truly understood what this trip would entail. Mount Kilimanjaro was far more than just your average hike. It would be very cool and it would be very difficult. But even after all the risks and dangers were laid out in front of her, Montannah didn’t back down. She wanted to do this with her mother. But there was more than that. There was another reason Montannah was determined to take the risk.
It turns out, when Hollie first started to explain Mount Kilimanjaro to Montannah, she described the mountain as being “above the clouds.” That was all Montannah needed to hear. You see, sadly, Montannah’s father had recently passed away. And what would any child associate with “above the clouds?” That’s right… heaven. She missed her father and she believed that by reaching the top of the mountain, she would be close to him again, at least one more time. She had even asked her mother if she would be able to see him once they were up there. Hollie was nearly heartbroken, but she was now determined to help her daughter get to the top of the mountain.
So the mother-daughter duo went to work. They were going to have to be prepared if they were going to pull this off. They started training every weekend for six weeks. They would go on hikes that last anywhere from four to eight hours. Hollie began to truly see what her daughter was capable of, and she was truly blown away. “Every day I asked Montannah if this was harder or easier than she thought it would, and every day she answered, ‘easier,’” Hollie said.
Early in the morning of March 16th, Montannah Kenney achieved the previously unthinkable: she reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. She was the youngest person to ever do so. “Regardless, it put my daughter in the clouds closer to where her dad is and that just made her happy,” Hollie said. “To be able to provide the ability for Montannah to follow a dream that she wants to do, there’s no price tag.”
What an incredible story and what an inspiring young lady! Stories like this really put things in perspective. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna get off my lazy butt and go on a hike!