At first, Hollie thought they had quite a while until Montannah would even be old enough to attempt the feat, considering everything she found in her research said that the minimum age to make the hike is 10.
But then Hollie started seeing that children younger than 10 hiking the mountain and was debating that Montannah could do it after all. The final push came when she saw in late January that an eight-year-old from Florida broke the record as the youngest to reach the summit over the summer and she knew Montannah would want to beat the record.
Hollie began using her triathlon contacts and was able to secure a special permit for her daughter to make the hike. The catch was to break the record, they would have to move fast as Montannah’s eighth birthday is in May so they decided to go to Africa for her spring break.
As the mother and daughter were talking about how high the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is, Montannah began to think of her father, who passed away shortly after she turned three.
“When we talked about the mountain being above the clouds, she immediately associated that with heaven and it resonated with her,” Hollie said. “She loved that idea of being closer to her dad and asked me if she was going to be able to see him.”
It took six days, but the duo reached the summit on March 16th. Once they got there Hollie said that Montannah “was really looking” for her dad.
They stayed in Africa for another couple of weeks, going on safari and taking in the sights. Hollie was proud of her daughter, not just for the record, but for her will and especially the reasoning behind it.
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