mt. everest

18-Year-Old Becomes Youngest American Woman to Summit Mt. Everest

Illinois-native Lucy Westlake reached the top of Mt. Everest on Thursday

PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP via Getty Images

On Thursday, Lucy Westlake made history by becoming the youngest American woman to summit Mt. Everest.

At 18 years old, Westlake, of the Chicago-area city of Naperville, climbed the 29,031.7 foot-tall mountain over the course of 26 days. She has been climbing since she was 7 years old, and she will be walking in her high school graduation in fewer than two weeks. On Friday morning, Westlake spoke with TODAY about her impressive feat.

“It’s really just like pushing my limits. I just want to see how far my body and mind can go,” Westlake said.

“And I hope to inspire others to do the same because that’s how you figure out who you are. That’s how you discover yourself and discover more about the world is just seeing how far that your body and mind can go and so far, I mean, I made it to the top of Everest, so I think I’m doing pretty well so far," Westlake added.

Westlake said she has a passion for the world water crisis and hopes to bring attention and raise money for it through her climbing.

"That's one of my big motivations," Westlake said. "But also, on Everest, this specific expedition was to help bring more women into the outdoors because it's just, I was actually surprised, there were a good amount of women on Everest and it made me smile, walking by them, but it's still such a sport that's dominated by men."

Last year, Westlake also became the youngest woman to reach the highest points in all 50 U.S. states.

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