Silverton girl climbs Africa’s Kilimanjaro

Keywords: Silverton, Climbing,
Nine-year-old Helen Berenyi of Silverton on Jan. 10 summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest spot in Africa. Here she stands at the Kersten Glacier. Enlargephoto

Courtesy of Cokie Berenyi

Nine-year-old Helen Berenyi of Silverton on Jan. 10 summited Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest spot in Africa. Here she stands at the Kersten Glacier.

Engineer Mountain probably would be a difficult and scary first climb. Handies Peak, a nearby Fourteener, might be just as hard, but a bit less scary.

But check this out: A 9-year-old Silverton girl topped out Jan. 10 on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, at 19,340 feet the highest spot on the African continent.

Helen Simons “HS” Berenyi, a fourth-grader at Silverton School who has since turned 10, reached the peak at 10:08 a.m. Tanzanian time, said her mother, Cokie Berenyi, in a news release. Although the Berenyis have lived in Silverton for three years, and she’d been as high as the box car on nearby Kendall Mountain (about 11,000 feet), this was Helen’s first-ever mountain summit.

The seven-day climb was sponsored by She Climbs, a nonprofit group Cokie Berenyi launched to build the self-esteem of girls and women of all ages. This was She Climbs’ first trip. Cokie Berenyi climbed Kilimanjaro in 2010.

“I want all 10-year-olds out there to know that you can do just about anything you want to,” Helen said at the summit.

The Berenyis are not aware of a younger girl who’s reached Kilimanjaro’s summit.