Move over, Little Engine That Could. Joshua LoCicero, 8, has little legs that could. The boy from La Cañada, Calif. who has Tourette syndrome climbed the highest peak in California –14,505-foot Mt. Whitney — on August 18 with his mother, Natalia LoCicero, a family friend and a few others.
Not only did the group summit the monster mountain, but they completed the 22-mile hike in less than 24 hours when it takes others multiple days to make the round-trip trek.
“The hardest part of the hike was going up the switchbacks,” Joshua told CBS LA.
The group started the climbed at 12:30 a.m., so Joshua had to fit in four naps during his quest, including a one-hour rest at the summit. They finished the round-trip effort at about 11:00 p.m.
“I have to say I am so proud of my little guy for wanting to conquer Mt. Whitney and succeeding to do so,” Natalia LoCicero wrote on Facebook. “He brought me to tears, ‘happy’ tears.”
According to the L.A. Times, Joshua has been hiking for about two years, but the only other high-altitude climb he’s done has been in Lake Tahoe on a trail that starts at 6,235 feet and peaks at 8,130 feet. To compare, the Mt. Whitney trailhead sits at 8,300 feet.
To train for Mt. Whitney, Joshua did 2-or-3-mile hikes months ahead of the climb.
Joshua isn’t the youngest person to conquer Mt. Whitney. That title is believed to belong to Fletcher Flynn of La Jolla, who was 5 when he climbed the mountain with his father in a speedy 13 hours.
Joshua’s advice for other hikers who want to tackle big peaks?
“Just feel confident and drink lots of water,” he told CBS LA.
Wise words from an experienced third-grader.
Who knows what other hikes are in Joshua’s future, but he can hang his hat on the fact that at 8 years old, he’s already reached a new height, a place not many dare to go.