A 6-year-old Albuquerque boy has set a world record being the youngest person ever to climb Africa’s highest peak on his own two feet, without being carried.
Coaltan Tanner, who turned 6 in September, just returned home from a trip to Tanzania, Africa, where he reached the 19,341-foot summit of Mount Kilimanjaro while alongside his parents.
“If you don’t give up, then you can do anything,” said Tanner, in an interview with KRQE News 13 Wednesday, less than 10 days after he reached the top.
Coaltan’s feat tops the previous record, set by Montannah Kenney, a 7-year-old girl from Austin, Texas.
It was a news story about Kenney’s accomplishment that ultimately inspired Coaltan to climb.
“I thought, oh I can do that,” said Tanner. “I wanted to break the world record and see a lot of nature too.”
Coaltan’s mom and dad, Caitlyn and Ethan Tanner, were with him the entire journey up and down Kilimanjaro. The parents say Coaltan’s interest in climbing started years ago as they read an exploration book to Coaltan.
Caitlyn says Coaltan latched on to a part about climbing Mount Everest.
“He was stuck on this climbing Mount Everest thing and we were like, ‘that’s a little bit too dangerous for a kid your age.’” said Caitlyn Tanner, Coaltan’s mother.
But they say Coaltan never stopped talking about mountain climbing and hiking. Eventually, the family began taking Coaltan on hikes in the Sandias. Coaltan’s first excursion was an eight-mile roundtrip hike up to the site of the TWA plane crash.
“We went to the plane wreck in the Sandias and Coaltan was 4, and yeah, he went and hiked up all the way by himself,” said Ethan Tanner, Coaltan’s father.
Eventually, around April 2018, Coaltan saw a news story about Montannah Kenney’s accomplishment and posed the idea.
“For sure, I thought it was just a lofty dream, I mean a lot of kids think they can put a cape on and jump off the roof and fly,” said Caitlyn.
The family says Coaltan didn’t let go of the idea.
“You know he did it all of his own and we just kind of wanted to support him,” said Ethan.
Coaltan’s parents helped make it happen through months of training and eventually getting special approval from the Tanzanian government. Coaltan’s climb to the summit was actually his second attempt after government officials denied his climb to Kilimanjaro’s peak over the summer because of concerns about his age.
“We worked really hard and we finally got to the top and saw that it was going to be a reality for him,” said Ethan, who watched his son summit Kilimanjaro.
Coaltan says next on his list is to climb Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador. He’s still interested in Everest, too.
Click here to view an extended video clip of Coaltan’s climb up Kilimanjaro.