'I made it': B.C. teen becomes youngest climber to reach Canada's highest peak
Naomi Prohaska, 15, trained for two years before attempting climb of Mount Logan
The day after Naomi Prohaska reached the top of Yukon's Mount Logan, she woke up in her tent with a blister on her face.
The 15-year-old had frostbite on her cheek, nose and ear, caused by frozen air seeping through cracks between her mask and goggles.
She wasn't too bothered, though — she'd just become the youngest person to reach the top of Canada's highest peak.
Prohaska, who lives in Pemberton, B.C., decided to climb the 5,959-metre mountain two years ago.
She got to the top on May 24. Most people would have been ecstatic, being a record-setter on the highest spot in the country.
But Prohaska was all business.
"When I was at the top, I was super happy and super excited but I couldn't be relieved because you're only halfway. You still have to go down. It's a different feeling than other sports where you cross the finish line and you're done," she told CBC North.
"When I got to base camp was when I could sit back and go, 'Whoa. I made it all the way up there.' Then I was so excited — just sitting in my tent smiling."
Prohaska made the trip with a team led by her father. They took the King's Trench route up the mountain, stopping at half a dozen camps along the way. Each climber was responsible for lugging his or her own gear in a backpack or on a sled.
The round trip took three weeks. Temperatures near the peak dropped as low as –40C. Prohaska's father, an experienced mountaineer who has completed a climb of Mount Logan eight times, also had frostbite.
Prohaska, a Pemberton Secondary School student, trained for the trip by running, cross-country skiing and going out into the backcountry whenever she could — but she said the mental aspect of the trip was the most gruelling.
"The biggest challenge was the end of summit day. We were coming down after a long day and it was windy, I was getting really cold, and bad weather was coming in. I was exhausted, and we actually had to go back uphill to get to camp. That was a challenge — keeping my mental game strong through that."
Weather and avalanches were also a concern. In April, a pair of avalanches left a solo Argentine climber stranded on the same mountain for four days until she could be rescued.
Luckily, Prohaska said, those slides didn't affect the King's Trench route.
The teen and her dad returned from their trip earlier this week, reuniting with her mom and siblings.
Prohaska said the scale of her accomplishment is starting to sink in.
"I'm just relaxing. I'm happy to be off the mountain, safe. I know what can happen when you're up there. There was such a big buildup for me.
"Right now I'm just glad I'm down."
With files from CBC's Steven Hossack