At age 8, Roxy Getter trekked 19,341 feet to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro this summer, making her the youngest female to climb Africa’s most famous mountain.
“I didn’t think I would make it to the top, but I did,” Roxy told All The Moms.
Roxy had open-heart surgery when she was 1, Sarah said. Roxy’s brother, Ben, 10, also had heart issues. Both see a cardiologist for regular check-ups but are doing great. No issues. Still, before traveling, Sarah insisted both children see a cardiologist. Both were cleared for the trip.
Besides, the family had never even camped overnight before.
Roxy, Ben, Sarah and her husband, Bobby, trained over three months by running stadium stairs, bike riding and taking long walks.
The family started on July 6 at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, where altitude sickness can inflict on climbers dizziness, vomiting and headaches, and temperature changes are extreme.
The first day’s hike was the worst, Roxy recalled.
“It was up and down, up and down, up and down. The whole time,” she said. “Your legs were just so tired.”
They hiked four to eight hours a day. During the day, the temperature was in the 60s, but at night, it dropped into the 30s. But it would get colder at night the closer they got to the peak.
On a four-hour hiking day, they would stop, eat and make camp, but their hiking team would have them up within a few hours. They would hike again for another two hours higher up the mountain so they could acclimate to altitudes for climbing the next day before retiring for the night.
The family began the final stretch to the top at 11 p.m. They hiked through until they reached the peak at 6 a.m. July 11. The temperature was 6 degrees. Ben, Roxy’s brother, was the one who cheered the family, who shivered along the way.
“We could barely walk. We could barely talk,” Sarah recalled. “It was rough. But he was amazing, talking and leading the way.”
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro website, which tracks record climbs, has Roxy down as the mountain’s youngest female climber. Keats Boyd, who climbed in 2008, was 7.