On Father’s Day, June 20, 2021, Lucy and Rodney Westlake summited Denali, the highest point in North America. With this accomplishment, Lucy, 17, set the world record as the youngest female to have climbed all 50 of the U.S. highpoints.
It took the team 19 days to reach the top of the mountain and Lucy and Rodney proudly carried their WaterStep flag up to the summit, achieving a feat Lucy had dreamt of for many years. At just seven years old, Lucy set the goal of reaching all 50 U.S. highpoints when she and her father climbed Black Mountain in Kentucky. “My father introduced me to mountain climbing and it cannot be more fitting that we reached the top of Denali together on Father’s Day,” said Westlake. “It was a culmination of 10 years of learning, exploring and growing together in the mountains.”
Lucy got connected with WaterStep when she was just 12 years old and wanted to help her pen pal, Faith, get safe water for her village in central Uganda. Lucy and her family came to WaterStep to get trained on the M-100 ChlorineGenerator, which is a piece of equipment that uses salt and a power source to make up to 10,000 gallons of water safe to drink each day. Equipped with knowledge and the necessary equipment, the family traveled to Uganda in early 2017. They spent two days in the village working with local leaders and successfully installed the M-100 for the village of 500 people (pictured below).
Once this special project was complete, the family moved on to the next goal of the trip: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. At this point, Lucy had already set the record for the youngest female to climb all lower 48 U.S. highpoints. The last mountain to climb to achieve all 50 was the biggest: Denali. In order to be permitted to join a climb team for Denali, Lucy had to prove that her body could handle a mountain more than 19,000 feet high. Kilimanjaro stands at 19,314 feet. So the family made the day long drive from Uganda into Tanzania and began the next part of their adventure.
Lucy and Rodney also successfully completed this part of their mission, carrying their WaterStep flag up to the summit. Lucy is passionate about finding solutions to the global water crisis and is a big supporter of WaterStep through her mountain climbing endeavors as well as being a teen leader for WaterStep in the Chicagoland area. Lucy has organized several community shoe drives and hopes to do more during her upcoming senior year of high school.
Lucy is referred to as a hero by our WaterStep team and we are continually amazed by her accomplishments. Thank you Westlake family for all you do to make this world a better place and a huge congratulations to Lucy for accomplishing her dream of climbing all 50 U.S. highpoints!