There’s no stopping 7-year-old Montannah Kenney. In mid-March, the second-grader from Austin, Texas became the youngest girl to ever climb 19,341-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro.
As for Montannah’s motivation for taking on such a big climb with her mother, Hollie Kenney, who is a former professional triathlete? To honor her father, who passed away shortly after she turned three years old.
“I wanted to be closer with my dad,” Montannah told CBS News. “I wanted to do fun adventures with my mom and learn about Mt. Kilimanjaro.”
Normally, there’s an age limit (10 years old) enforced on climbers, but the Kenneys obtained a permit that would allow Montannah to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro three years before she was “legal.”
The two put in long training hikes around their home in Texas, but they didn’t get a taste of true oxygen deprivation until they arrived in Africa. That, combined with wicked weather featuring rain and snow for the duration of their week-long climb, made for an especially difficult trek.
“It was way steeper than we thought.” Hollie said. “We didn’t know what was a cliff and what was a cloud. That was big eye opener.”
But, the climb toward the sky was worth it.
“She knows that her daddy lives in heaven and that she is a lucky girl and she has an angel looking over her,” Hollie told the Houston Chronicle. “She knew that she would be closer to him by climbing the mountain, but mainly wanted to do it because she loves adventures.”
They took on the mountain with an experienced guide and a support team of about 20.
The family also set up a Go Fund Me page ahead of the trek to raise money for “EMDR research and funding for those who can not afford the therapy.”
According to the page, Montannah’s father battled PTSD and was starting EMDR therapy (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) before he died.
As for any future climbs, Montannah doesn’t have one on her radar yet. She’s just enjoying the sweet taste of victory from this one.