17-year old mountaineer Johnny Collinson of Snowbird, Utah has become the youngest person to climb all the Seven Summits by topping out on Mt. Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica. The teenager reached the summit, which stands at 16,067 feet, on Monday, completing a quest to reach the top of the highest peaks on all seven continents.
Collinson is still in Antarctica and hasn’t posted to his website yet, but he was climbing with a team led by guide service Mountain Madness who updated their own blog with the news of the team’s success. Johnny was joined on the summit by three other climbers as well as well known guide Willie Benegas. And as if reaching the summit wasn’t enough, the young man elected to ski back down the mountain to their campsite.
The Seven Summits have become one of the top goals for climbers and adventurers around the planet. Besides Vinson, the peaks consist of Kilimanjaro in Africa (19,340 feet), Elbrus in Europe (18,510 feet), Denali in North America (20,320 feet), Aconcagua in South America (22,841 feet), Carstenz Pyramid in Oceana (16,023 feet), and of course Everest in Asia (29,029 feet). That tallest mountain in Australia is Kosciusko, but that peak is just 7310 feet in height and is a simple walk-up, so the list was expanded to include the taller and more technically challenging Carstenz Pyramid, located in Indonesia. Most of the climbers who complete the Seven Summits actually go for all eight peaks just to cover their bases.
Collinson may not hold on to this record for long. 13-year old Jordan Romero will be going to Everest this spring to make his bid on that mountain, and if successful there, he’ll head to Vinson in the fall as well. If he nabs both summits, he’ll be just 14-years old when he is done.