Naperville 18-year-old becomes youngest American woman to reach summit of Mount Everest
Lucy Westlake did it.
The 18-year-old Naperville native became the youngest American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, according to a post on the Instagram account of the expedition group she's climbing with.
The Xtreme Climbers group made "an official announcement" at about 7:30 p.m. Central time that Westlake "successfully stood on the summit of Mount Everest 8848.86m on 12.May.2022 at 5:36 am Nepali time."
After spending a couple of minutes "on the top of The World," Westlake and her sherpa, Mingma Chhiring, began the descent back to lower camp, expected to take four to five hours, the expedition group said.
Earlier Lucy's mother, Amy Westlake, posted on Lucy's Instagram account that Lucy left the lower camp more than nine hours earlier, starting at 8:15 p.m. Nepali time. So she climbed Everest through the night and arrived at the summit just after daybreak.
The expedition group posted an image of several people, carrying bright lights, making the final snow-covered climb to the Everest summit.
Reaching the highest point on the planet -- at an altitude of more than 29,000 feet -- is the latest goal achieved by Westlake, whose bigger plan is to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. That's a challenge to reach the North and South poles and climb the highest mountains in each of the seven continents, also known as the Seven Summits.
Westlake has ascended Denali in Alaska, Europe's Mount Elbrus, Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua in South America, and now Mount Everest in Asia. The remaining sites on the list are Mount Vinson in Antarctica, Carstensz Pyramid north of Australia and both poles.
Westlake had hoped to complete the Explorers Grand Slam by the time she entered college in the fall, but that won't happen because of expenses and COVID-19 restrictions that created roadblocks. Shortly after she returns home, Westlake will head to the University of Southern California, where she'll be on scholarship to compete in cross country and track and field.
Westlake, a recent Naperville North High School graduate, said she still aims to become the youngest adventurer to complete the Explorers Grand Slam, topping a Japanese woman who was 20 when she completed it in 2017.