Only one mountain –- albeit a very tall one -- stands between Kristen Kelliher and an amazing accomplishment.
Last September, the 17-year-old from Norwich, Vt., became the youngest female to “highpoint’’ -- or stand atop the tallest mountains in -- each of the 48 contiguous United States. Last week, she climbed into the record books again when she conquered Hawaii's Mauna Kea (13,976 feet), her 49th summit ... in spite of 15 inches of snow!
If all goes according to plan, she will conquer North America's highest peak -- Alaska's Mount McKinley -- in May, thereby reaching the apex of all 50 states.
An all-state field hockey goalie who also competed interscholastically in basketball, crew and downhill skiing, Kelliher graduated a semester early from Hanover (Hanover, N.H.). And she has been working to raise $17,000 to finance her travel to Alaska and a guided trek up the 20,320-foot Mount McKinley. "I've had several neighbors of family members want to help support me, but I'd rather do this on my own," she said.