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18-year-old girl from Illinois becomes the youngest American woman to ever summit EVEREST

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18-year-old girl from Illinois becomes the youngest American woman to ever summit EVEREST

An 18-year-old from Illinois became the youngest American woman to ever summit Mr. Everest when she reached the top of the 29,032ft mountain in Nepal on Thursday morning.

Lucy Westlake, who has been an avid climber since age seven, summited the highest mountain in the world at 5:40 a.m. local time, following 26 grueling days of climbing.

With the help of her sherpa, Mingma, and thousands of dollars in donations on GoFundMe, she set the record on May 12.

‘It was absolutely incredible,’ she said on the Today show this morning, describing the moment she reached the summit. ‘Being at the top, I just couldn’t imagine that I was at the top of the world. Like, I looked down, and there’s no other — there’s nothing higher.’

At just 18, Lucy Westlake from Naperville has become the youngest American roman to reach the top of Mt. Everest

She reached the top of the 29,032ft mountain in Nepal on May 12 at 5:40 a.m. local time

She reached the top of the 29,032ft mountain in Nepal on May 12 at 5:40 a.m. local time

'It was absolutely incredible,' she said on the Today show this morning, describing the moment she reached the summit

 ‘It was absolutely incredible,’ she said on the Today show this morning, describing the moment she reached the summit

Westlake has been free to climb since graduating a semester early from Naperville North High School in December and skipping out on her graduation ceremony and prom to dedicate herself to mountain climbing.

She began the treacherous trip of Everest on April 18, making it through the Khumbu Icefall, a 1.62-mile continually moving glacier that is considered to be one of the most dangerous sections of the climb.

On Wednesday night, she and her sherpa — who has climbed Everest 16 times — began the last push. 

‘Looking up at the summit from camp 4 the day before our summit push, it truly looked impossible, but that night at 9pm we began our climb and 8.5 hour later we did it!!’ Westlake wrote on Instagram.

‘I thought I was gonna cry at the top. But I actually cried like an hour before the top… I just knew I was gonna make it right then,’ she admitted on the Today show.

Summiting Everest can cost individuals anywhere from $30,000 to $160,000

Summiting Everest can cost individuals anywhere from $30,000 to $160,000

'I really have a passion for the world water crisis, so I hope to raise attention and money through my climbing for that. That's one of my big motivations,' she said

'I really have a passion for the world water crisis, so I hope to raise attention and money through my climbing for that. That's one of my big motivations,' she said

‘I really have a passion for the world water crisis, so I hope to raise attention and money through my climbing for that. That’s one of my big motivations,’ she said

'I thought I was gonna cry at the top. But I actually cried like an hour before the top... I just knew I was gonna make it right then,' she admitted on the Today show

‘I thought I was gonna cry at the top. But I actually cried like an hour before the top… I just knew I was gonna make it right then,’ she admitted on the Today show

Westlake admitted that her parents were nervous about the hike, but said they ‘have a lot of trust’ in her.

In fact, she has done most of her climbing with her father, who got her interested in the hobby when she was just seven years old.

The hardest part of climbing Everest was that he wasn’t with her — but luckily, she had Mingma.

‘I love my sherpa. He was amazing, he was my stand-in dad,’ she said.

She also knew she had the backing of friends and family who made donations for her climb on GoFundMe. Climbing Everest is pricey, costing an average of about $45,000 — though it can cost individuals anywhere from $30,000 to $160,000.

Westlake’s passion for climbing adventures began at an early age when she climbed Black Mountain, Kentucky’s highest point, with her dad in 2011.

The hardest part of climbing Everest was that her dad wasn't with her - but luckily, she had Mingma, her sherpa

The hardest part of climbing Everest was that her dad wasn’t with her – but luckily, she had Mingma, her sherpa

At age 17, Westlake became the youngest female to climb to the highest points in all 50 US states

At age 17, Westlake became the youngest female to climb to the highest points in all 50 US states

She started climbing mountains with her dad at age seven and graduated from high school a semester early to be able to do this climb

She started climbing mountains with her dad at age seven and graduated from high school a semester early to be able to do this climb

‘I learned about this thing called highpointing, which is climbing to the highest mountain in a state — or the highest spot since some don’t have mountains,’ she told WLS in April. 

Me and my dad started to highpoint when I was 7. Ever since, we’ve been climbing together.’

She continued highpointing, and in 2016, when she was 12, she became the youngest female to climb the lower 48 state highpoints. 

In 2021, when she was 17, she became the youngest female to climb all 50 US state highpoints. 

Her next goal is to complete the Explorer’s Grand Slam, which involves climbing to the highest point on every continent, plus the North and South Poles. 

She has already summited Everest is Asia, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Denali in North America, Aconcagua in South America, Kosciuszko in Australia, and Elbrus in Europe.

Her next goal is to complete the Explorer's Grand Slam, which involves climbing to the highest point on every continent, plus the North and South Poles

Her next goal is to complete the Explorer’s Grand Slam, which involves climbing to the highest point on every continent, plus the North and South Poles

She has already summited Everest is Asia, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Denali in North America, Aconcagua in South America, Kosciuszko in Australia, and Elbrus in Europe

She has already summited Everest is Asia, Kilimanjaro in Africa, Denali in North America, Aconcagua in South America, Kosciuszko in Australia, and Elbrus in Europe

Remaining are the North and South Poles, Vinson Massif in Antarctica, and Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia.

‘I’ve always been adventurous and I’ve always loved the mountains,’ she explained to Today. 

‘But as the mountains grew and it got harder, I really had to find a deeper motivation to still want to do them. And it’s really just pushing my limits. I just want to see how far my body and mind can go. And I hope to inspire others to do the same.

‘I really have a passion for the world water crisis, so I hope to raise attention and money through my climbing for that. That’s one of my big motivations,’ she added.

Westlake also wants to inspire more women to get into climbing. She thinks one reason that many don’t is because the idea of carrying a 40-pound backpack and pulling a sled with 60 pounds is daunting.

'I've always been adventurous and I've always loved the mountains,' she said

‘I’ve always been adventurous and I’ve always loved the mountains,’ she said

Westlake also wants to inspire more women to get into climbing. She thinks one reason that many don't is because the idea of carrying a 40-pound backpack and pulling a sled with 60 pounds is daunting

Westlake also wants to inspire more women to get into climbing. She thinks one reason that many don’t is because the idea of carrying a 40-pound backpack and pulling a sled with 60 pounds is daunting

‘Mountaineering is a sport dominated by men twice my age and size who can shoulder 75 pounds of gear with ease,’ she wrote on GoFundMe. ‘And I’m ready to fight to change that. To show this generation of young girls that we belong in the mountains. 

‘It is a challenge, of course, but just being in the mountains is an absolutely incredible experience that everyone should be able to dream about and to pursue,’ she told the Chicago Tribune. 

‘You don’t need to be to weigh 200 pounds or to be 6 feet tall in order to summit these mountains.’

But she won’t be climbing full-time in the future. In the fall, she’ll be enrolling as a freshman at  USC, where she’ll be on the track and field team as a distance runner.

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