Illinois girl is youngest to hit 48 states’ highest peaks

NAPERVILLE, Ill. — A 12-year-old Naperville resident is the youngest girl to climb to the highest point in each of the lower 48 states.

The Highpointers Club, a membership organization for hikers climbing the highest peaks in each state, confirmed Lucy Westlake’s record, the Daily Herald reported. The club said the previous record was set by a 17-year-old Kristen Kelliher of Vermont in 2011.

Club member and Highpointers Foundation Lead Director Dave Covill said achieving this goal at an early age is an amazing feat.

“That’s extremely impressive when you consider that the previous record-holder was 17 and the third place was 18,” he said.

Lucy’s first climb was on a more than 1,300-foot mountain in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near her family’s cabin. She ran, climbed and explored on the 6-kilometer route.

When Lucy was 7 and living in Kentucky in 2011, her family climbed the state’s highest location, the more than 4,100-foot Black Mountain. The next year, she tackled 13 more climbs.

She broke the record after climbing Kings Peak in Utah this year. Lucy’s next goal is Denali in Alaska.

“It’s so fun to be able to see the country like that,” Lucy said. “Being the highest thing in the state is cool.”

Rodney Westlake, Lucy’s father, said the family’s well-traveled lifestyle allowed Lucy to climb many mountains without even making it a goal.

“I’ve always had a love of the outdoors and wanted to raise my kids with that love,” said Amy Westlake, Lucy’s mother.

Rodney Westlake said his daughter is very athletic. When her family lived in Kentucky, Lucy competed in state championship races and placed third in a 2015 regional cross-country race. During her first year training as a competitive triathlete since her family moved to Naperville in January, she qualified for the USA Triathlon Youth Elite National Championship.

“She has unlimited endurance,” her father said.

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