Emily’s giant climb a mental challenge
A Hamilton woman has decided to climb one of the world’s highest peaks to raise awareness of mental health.
Come September, Emily Webb, 24, will be conquering Mt Kilimanjaro to honour her late father and fundraise for the Mental Health Foundation.
In 2009, Webb’s father took his own life.
Webb said the Kiwi ‘toughenup’ culture didn’t help him over- come his depression, and now she wants to make sure others know it’s okay to not be okay.
‘‘Looking back now, I can see all the triggers and everything that happened along the way. I’m just really passionate about spreading the word and making sure everyone’s aware that’s it’s okay to not be okay.’’
Mt Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and stands at 5,895m.
Webb will be making the climb with 26 other New Zealanders. It’s predicted to be a five day ascend and two day descend. There will be days when the group will walk eight straight hours.
‘‘I studied Kilimanjaro back when I was in highschool and even at the earliest stages, it really fascinated me,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s two things I’m really passionate about. Mental health is so important so I thought why not combine the two?’’
It’s Webb’s first time mountaineering but working at Fastlane Fitness has meant there’s no barrier to her training.
Most of it is endurance training, and Webb wears an altitude mask during work outs.
Altitude masks limit the amount of oxygen going into the body and is the closest thing to replicating what it’ll be like climbing the mountain. Webb said it’s good to be prepared.
‘‘In terms of sickness, you can go downhill very quickly, and no matter how fit you are, or how ready you are for the day, anyone can be hit then and there.
‘‘I keep generally quite fit... but this is on another scale. It’s a mental challenge as well,’’ Webb said.
‘‘I can’t imagine it’s all going to be smooth sailing. I’m definitely nervous, it’d be silly not to be.’’
Webb said the journey will be a healing experience, and emotional once she gets to the summit.
‘‘I’ll most likely be crying happy tears,’’ she said.
Emily Webb is climbing Mt Kilimanjaro to raise awareness for mental health.