Emily’s gi­ant climb a men­tal chal­lenge

Hamilton Press - - FRONT PAGE - KEL­LEY TANTAU

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.

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