Seven summit challenge

Scaling great heights for mental health
Found in: Stories

Libby McConnell loves an adventure. She’s a big believer that you don’t need to travel far or spend a lot of money to find one. After she was introduced to the concept of micro adventures by UK adventurer Alastair Humphreys, she was inspired to seek one out in her own backyard.  

“After Covid, I gained a lot of appreciation for my local area. I liked this micro adventure concept and had heard about the seven summits challenge. I wondered what the seven highest peaks would be in the Waikato, did some research and realised I had already done a lot of them so why couldn't I do them again.” 

So, in February 2024 Libby set out to climb the seven highest peaks in the Waikato in 70 hours, and fundraise for the Mental Health Foundation, a promise she made to herself when she was facing her own struggles. 

Mental Health Foundation
Mental Health Foundation
I’ve struggled with my mental health the last couple of years, and the Mental Health Foundation resources helped me get through it. When I was in a tough place, I said to myself it would be cool to give back and raise awareness one day when I'm in a better place. Keeping that promise to myself has been a massive motivator. 

The challenge began on a Friday evening at the base of Mt Maungatautari. On Saturday she scaled Mt Te Aroha, Kohukohunui and Hakrimata. On Sunday, she knocked off Mt Kariori, Mt Kakepuku and ended the massive feat as night was falling on the summit of Mt Pirongia.  

Libby says she’s been blown away by the support people have shown her. 

“It's been heartwarming and has shown me how much support you can get when you put yourself out there.” 

Training for a challenge like this can be tough. Not only does it take physical training, but lots of mental preparation too. Libby’s passion for movement and being out in nature to look after her wellbeing is something that’s also helped motivate her. 

“I think we often think about physical health and mental health as separate things. I work as a physio, so a lot of my job is around physical health, but I think we underestimate the benefits of movement and physical activity for our mental health.” 

Libby is grateful for platforms like Move for Mental Health, where you can easily set up a fundraiser and share your story and has this advice for others looking at micro adventures as a way to support a good cause:   

“Don't overthink it. 99% of people will be really supportive. Knowing you're doing something positive is so well received and the conversations it can start make it so worthwhile.” 

At the time of writing, Libby has raised over $5500. If you’d like to reward her incredible efforts and help her $7000 goal you can click the button to donate. 


Mental Health Foundation

Be Inspired

Libby's Journey to Seven Summits