7-year-old girl climbs Kilimanjaro and breaks world record

Montannah Kenney hiked the famous mountain in honour of her deceased father and has become the youngest female ever to successfully reach the summit

Seven-year-old Montannah Kenney from Austin, Texas, had quite an adventurous start to spring.

From 10 March to 16 March she and her mother hiked the almost six-kilometre-high Kilimanjaro in Tanzania – making her the youngest female to ever reach the summit.

Holly Kenney, Montannah’s mother and a former triathlete, said the idea came a year ago when the Montannah overheard her conversation with her friend saying she would love to climb the peak.

“She said to me, ‘Mommy I want to do it too,'” Kenney told ABC news. “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.”

“I was very real with her, explaining that people can get very sick, that we’d have to train very hard and it wouldn’t be an easy task.”

While doing her research, Kenney learned that the minimum age required to climb the mountain was 10 years old. She then thought there was enough time to prepare Montannah for her dream properly.

But then she noticed news about younger hikers that climbed Kilimanjaro successfully and decided to rethink her strategy.

She saw news about an eight-year-old Florida girl who managed to hike it in late January and started planing to beat the record.

Mount Kilimanjaro is 5,895 m and  Montannah Kenney is the youngest femal climber to ever reach the summit — Shutterstock record
Kilimanjaro is 5,895 m and Montannah Kenney is the youngest female climber to ever reach the summit — Shutterstock

“I woke up Montannah the next morning and said, ‘If you want this record, we have to go when you’re still seven,'” Kenney recalled. “I knew she had spring break in March and we planned the entire trip in a month-and-a-half.”

“When she decided to do this, I knew what kind of training she needed to do and I didn’t want to rob her of her childhood over that month and a half,” Kenney said of her daughter.

As Montannah realised how high the mountain actually is, she started to associate it with clouds and heaven which reminded her of her father, who had passed away one week before her third birthday.

“She loved that idea of being closer to her dad and asked me if she was going to be able to see him,” Kenney said.

After the exhausting but successful hike, Montannah received a certificate that she reached the top and broke the record. The Kenney ladies then spent two weeks in Africa visiting safaris and a local beach.

“This was really a cool thing for her and it’s kind of setting her up in life for some pretty amazing things,” Kenney said. “To be able to provide the ability for Montannah to follow a dream that she wants to do, there’s no price tag.”