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Family believes son youngest to climb Kilimanjaro

January 28, 2019

Last spring, Joel Redmond got an idea while watching a segment on “Good Morning America” about a California girl, Roxy Getter, age 8 — two years older than he was — who had become the youngest girl at the time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

Redmond, then 6, decided that he wanted to make that climb, too.

“He saw the episode in April and we booked our trip April 30,” said his mother, Pasadena resident Jodi Redmond.

On Christmas Day, the whole family, which included Joel, his mom, dad Joel Redmond Sr., 46, and 8-year old sister Charli, left for Tanzania.

With a team of guides and assistants, the Redmond family, which owns and operate Clear Lake mortgage company Legend Home Lending, took the eight-day journey together up the mountain.

The Redmonds were not aiming to set any records. But they believe that Joel set a record on Jan. 3 as the youngest person to climb to the 19,341-foot summit of the mountain and that his sister became the second-youngest female to complete the climb.

Attempts to reach officials with the Guinness Book of World Records regarding Joel’s climb and other information about Kilimanjaro records were unsuccessful as of presstime.

When young Joel put his hands on the tip of the summit, it was relief.

“I was so happy because I wasn’t climbing uphill anymore,” said Joel, who is now 7.

Charli’s response about their feat? “Yay! We made it.”

The family, said Jodi Redmond, has always had an adventurous streak.

Both parents have participated in several marathons, including the New York City Marathon, with their children cheering them on.

To get ready for the Kilimanjaro climb, which requires careful preparation because of potential health risks from the high altitude, Joel and his sister started to join in on runs, including the 13-mile Huntsville Half-Marathon in October, where Joel finished third behind two older children.

In the summer, the family climbed Pike’s Peak in Colorado, but nothing could prepare them for the epic adventure they were about to embark on.

The journey took them through several climates and terrains as they trekked through rainforests and weathered altitude changes.

“At one point we were like, ‘Where are we?’ — it looked like we were on Mars,” Jodi Redmond said. “One day we had to climb a 600-foot wall … my kids are in front of me climbing this wall and it’s raining … it was overwhelming.”

As they reached the summit, they found themselves surrounded by melting ice caps and standing above the clouds.

ForJodi Redmond, 41, standing atop the summit was surreal and spiritual.

“We were so blessed because we had a perfectly clear sunny day … and it was just crisp, deep blue sky,” she said. “It was beautiful. It was a cool experience.”

The Redmonds held prayer before each day’s climb. As they stood atop the summit, the view left them speechless, Redmond said.

“You’re just in awe of everything the Lord made,” she said. “It’s overwhelming, and just crazy.”

Joel and Charli, both students at First Baptist Christian Academy in Pasadena, now have a story tell. Where do they go from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro?

Everest Base Camp, of course, which is a half-way point trek of Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak on Earth.

The hike up Kilimanjaro was a steady incline with a few very steep climbs.

For those who may say that Kilimanjaro was too big an adventure for her children, Redman believes the experience will make every obstacle they face in life seem like a piece of cake.

“As a parent, you know your children better than anyone, what they’re capable of, both mentally and physically and we knew they were capable of it,” she said. “We trusted them, and now they think they can do anything.”

yorozco@hcnonline.com

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