19 year-old Melbourne resident Gabby Kanizay graduated from high school just last year, yet this week, she became the youngest Australian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Kanizay accompanied her mother Jane, 52, both employing the vital assistance of Sherpas to make the 8,849 metre summit, where they spent an hour watching the sun rise.
Kanizay told Nine News the experience of being at the summit was the most amazing feeling.
“Just to know that you’re literally on top of the world and there is nobody higher than you at this point,” she said.
“We definitely helped each other stay strong and helped each other get to the summit,” she said, referring to her mother, who has accompanied her daughter as a mother-daughter team for several years.
“I do not feel 19 years old. It was really challenging for me, it was 10 times harder than I thought it would be.”
“Now it’s this experience, we will be able to share together for the rest of our lives which is awesome.”
Kanizay and her mother made four trips to the Himalayas between 2018 and 2019 to acclimatise, before their plans were interrupted by the global pandemic.
Jane commended her daughter, saying, “I think she gets things done quickly, she listens and learns, and then she just applies whatever skill she learns. While I have to show five times.”
Kanizay has spent several years training with her mother. The pair trekked to Everest Base Camp in 2018 — a journey which was inspired, according to Jane, by father-son duo Guy and Zack Stayner. Since that trip, Kanizay had set her sights on the summit.
Kanizay’s father Jarrod, told Nine News he was incredibly proud of his daughter’s determination.
“She’s very courageous and she’s very sporty,” he said. “She has an energy about her that does allow her to stick to her guns and follow through.”
“It’s very special because Gabby and Jane have done it together over four years now,” he added.
“To have had these incremental efforts over the four years come to fruition now is just mind blowing. Gabby brings a spirit of happiness and complete joy to any room that she enters so for her to achieve this, it is amazing.”
Kanizay, who graduated from Caulfield Grammar School last year, made history in 2019 when she became the youngest female to climb Cho Oyu, the sixth-highest mountain in the world, located in the Tibetan, Nepalese Himalayas.
Her latest achievement breaks the previous record, held by Australian Alyssa Azar, who climbed to the summit as a 19-year old (and a few months older) in 2016.
According to Laki, Azar has written to Kanizay, congratulating her on her achievement.
Kanizay’s ultimate goal is to complete all 14 peaks across the world.
Image: ABC, Tendi Sherpa