100% success Mt Kinabalu Mum Teen Dream Team: Let's Celebrate!

BY DI WESTAWAY | CEO and Founder of Wild Women On Top
“I didn’t sleep a wink, sick with worry, listening for her every breath; hoping and praying that she would be better in time for our 2am summit attempt,” said Erica.

Wild Women On Top’s Most Inspiring member, Erica Beaton, suffered greatly watching helplessly as her daughter Molly, 13, struggled with altitude sickness. Like the other mums, she was agonising about her decision to bring her to climb this mountain; wondering if she’d made a terrible, terrible mistake.

But while you were sleeping on Tuesday 25th June, a team of 6 mums and 6 kids, aged 11 – 14 achieved an extraordinary goal: They ALL summited the highest mountain in South East Asia, Mt Kinabalu, 4,095 meters TOGETHER.

This is truly a remarkable achievement.   

Mt Kinabalu, in Borneo, made famous by David Attenborough’s life changing climb, is challenging. In the space of 32 breathless hours, climbers cart themselves and their gear from tropical to artic and back to tropical conditions.

The mountain has a 60% success rate for adults; much less for kids. It is known for its unpredictable weather and rapid ascent, making acclimatisation impossible: suffering normal.

But the Wild Women On Top Teen Dream team of Sarah Cossi & Lachie Vaughan, Lisa Murphy & Chess Smee, Erica Beaton & Molly Bachelor, Cath & Isabel Craven, Anje & Paddy Flannery and Di & Ruben Westaway stood on top of this spectacular granite peak at dawn on 25th June, 2013.

This achievement is astonishing. It’s a credit to the training, preparation and commitment of the six mums, and the trust, obedience and resilience of their children.

But it was not without its challenges: watching your child suffer physically and mentally, from an activity that you have encouraged, is torture.

Coach Lisa Murphy also had an agonising 4 hours as her daughter Chess gasped for breath and fought back tears on the way up the granite slabs in the dark. “You can’t cry Chess,” she said bravely. “Truly, it will just take too much energy. You need every bit of breath to climb.”

Stoic Chess obeyed; frightened of going up but more frightened of turning back.

And Isabel, 15, coming to the rescue of vomiting mum Cath at the summit ridge in the pre-dawn light. “Help. Mum needs help. She’s being sick on the rocks over there,” she said as guides raced to assist.

And mum, Sarah Cozzi, with recently broken and sprained ankles, was also amazing. Not considering for a second that she wouldn’t be with son Lachie, 13, all the way to the top and back, she suffered through the gruelling climb without complaint.

But what a result! When Ruben and Paddy ran the last 50 meters up the jaggered summit tower, followed by the entire team, I knew that we had done it. The first ever Mum/Teen Team of 12 to summit the highest mountain in South East Asia.

What we learned: Just do it with your kids. It will transform your relationship; give you a common goal and connect you in the most amazing way forever.

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