Eva Luna Harper-Zahn (6) at Mt. Whitney Summit , July 2018 (Photo Credit: Dr. Oliver Zahn)

My daughter is 6 years old and she just made it to the summit of Mt. Whitney in the USA. I believe she may be the youngest girl to have done this on record. Research shows that a six year old boy did it in 2016.

This is the tallest mountain in the contiguous USA at 14,505 feet. 22 miles, but the high elevation and thin air make it grueling and feel like twice as long. She persevered through altitude sickness. She woke up at midnight to start the ascent with headlamp and with her daddy and nine year old brother. It took them nine hours, half in the dark. I can’t emphasize enough, how much here older brother Sun Harper-Zahn (9 years old) delivered as “big brother”. Our 9 year old gave her continued support and encouragement to let her know that she can do it when she was trying to manage altitude sickness. My husband told me that Sun never complained and his words of encouragement were like “gold” to Eva Luna’s ears. Eva Luna didn’t do it alone, as her brother and papa were there to support her dream.

The next photo is she on my back while we hiked Yosemite when she was a baby. Learning about hiking all the time from our many adventures from Utah to Yosemite, and other places with great long trails. She thought it was normal that I had a 25lb baby on my back while hiking up mountains and other places for miles. My favorite was her on my back for ten hours while we hiked Bryce Canon in Utah when she was 8 months old.

Eva Luna on my Back when she is not quite 2 years old. Yosemite National Park 2013.

In that photo in 2013 I am pregnant with Kiki but trying to hide it. Luna sees me hiking while pregnant and saw me hiking while having Kiki on my back and pregnant with Miro (who was born in 2016). We have 4 kids now.

And her daddy is a mountaineer. It is part of our family culture. He was an amazing mentor and lead as he took Sun and Eva Luna to Whitney and handled business.

Eva Luna (6) and Sun (9) Starting the hike, July 2018 (Photo Credit: Dr. Oliver Zahn)
Descending Down Mt. Whitney, July 2018 (Photo Credit: Dr. Oliver Zahn)

On a side note, my husband posted about my daughter’s achievement and noted the significance of her being both a girl and Black and notice on Reddit how her gender isn’t a problem but my husband mentioning her racial identity becomes problematic. Everyone seems okay that my husband notes she is the youngest girl but when he also adds that she is a person of color, a significant number do not like that he said that…and there are quite a few who have to explain the history of race and racism and public spaces in the : USA: https://www.reddit.com/r/Mountaineering/comments/90ytba/my_6year_old_daughter_on_top_of_mt_whitney/