As we watch young and old desecrate the lawns of Supreme Court justices, cosplay a book claiming this is our reality, and cry out for their right to murder their children, it’s always inspiring to find young visionaries and thirsty for life. Lucy Westlake is one such person, and the subject of this late-night Friday.
Just 10 days before graduating from high school, 18-year-old Lucy Westlake became the youngest American to summit Mount Everest.
The Naperville, Illinois teenager reached the summit of Everest – around 29,032 feet – on May 12 at 5:30 a.m. according to an Instagram post on Friday morning, after an expedition that lasted 26 days.
“Looking at the summit from Camp 4 the day before our summit push, it really seemed impossible, but that night at 9 p.m. we started our ascent and 8.5 hours later we did it! ! she wrote in a caption on Instagram along with a series of photos documenting the impressive feat.
Westlake is currently working to complete the “Grand Slam of Explorers” – a challenge that includes summiting the seven highest mountains on each continent (Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Vinson Massif and Puncak Jaya and Kosciuszko) and visiting the North and South Poles.
Slim. My biggest accomplishments these days are getting out of bed and writing. Hashtag #Goals
Westlake is also a runner and plans to attend the University of Southern California as part of his track team. It gives a new definition to a kinetic learner. Another part of its focus: drinking water, which is the Millennium crisis that elected leaders around the world seem to ignore. Unlike Greta Thunberg, who read climate change talking points given to her, as a WaterStep Ambassador, Westlake uses her accomplishments to raise awareness and funds for clean water and proper sanitation. She traveled to Uganda to install a WaterStep system there. The system now supplies 3,000 people a day with drinking water.
Greta Thunberg is still trying to solve climate change. Maybe she should take some lessons from Lucy Westlake.
Speaking of lessons, here are takeaways from her story that are inspiring and replicable:
- Westlake credits his faith in God to his accomplishments.
Westlake’s father encouraged her sense of adventure, and on a Sports & Spectrum podcast, she explained how her parents would take them on missions to learn service.
Faith, family and a purpose beyond oneself have taken Westlake far. Returning to these first principles could also help other young and old people.
- Westlake’s first major ascent occurred when he was 12 years old. She climbed Black Mountain in Kentucky, at a height of 4,145.
Westlake became the youngest woman to reach this peak, one of the highest points in each of the lower 48 states. In 2021, Westlake broke that 50-state record, reaching the top of Mount Denali in Alaska. At 20,310 feet,
Denali is the highest point in North America.
Big accomplishments require small plans. You have to start somewhere, and Westlake fearlessly chose a 4,000 foot peak. Once that was done, the other peaks didn’t seem that difficult. Lesson: one obstacle at a time is the path to greatness.
- Westlake has a sense of purpose, and not only fulfills it, but inspires others to find theirs.
From the Sports & Spectrum podcast:
“I really hope I inspire other people to climb their own mountains,” she said on the Sports Spectrum podcast recently, shortly before she set off on her climb. “I hope they see me as someone who has a lot of faith in God, someone who will push forward and who really wants to push their limits. It’s kind of my mantra that I try to live by – that limits are seen.
“I hope to inspire this in other people as well. Maybe they can’t do it by themselves, but by God they can. When they reach the end of what they think is possible, there is so much more beyond.
Thank you, Lucy Westlake, for teaching this old dog that there is still life and fulfillment at any age. We need more young people setting real goals, dreaming big dreams and pursuing them with that passion.
Hopefully Westlake will continue to achieve great things and inspire others to do the same.