Teen mountaineer completes Seven Summits

15 year old mountaineer Jordan Romero has completed his quest to climb the Seven Summits, the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents, and in the process became the youngest person to achieve that feat. On Christmas Eve, Jordan, along with father Paul and stepmother Karen, reached the top of the 16,050-foot Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, the last of the mountains on his list.

Jordan first dreamed of climbing the Seven Summits after seeing a mural on the iconic peaks in his grade school. He was just ten years old at the time. Later that year, he would bag his first summit, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa. He would follow that up with successful climbs of Kosciuszko (Australia), Elbrus (Europe), Aconcagua (South America), Denali (North America), and Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania).

But it was his successful summit of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain on the planet, that grabbed headlines around the globe. At the time, Jordan was just 13 years old, and his bold expedition sparked debate in the mountaineering community over how young is too young to climb the world’s biggest mountains.

The logistics and location of climbing in Antarctica forced Jordan to wait another year and a half to climb Mt. Vinson, but now he has claimed that summit too. Last Friday, the teenager, along with his parents, moved up to High Camp on that mountain, and on Saturday – Christmas Eve – they continued on to the summit itself. Weather conditions, as you would expect, were challenging, with high winds and sub-zero temperatures dogging them all the way. But int he end, they topped out at about 1 PM local time. They then safely descended back down the mountain and skied back to Base Camp, where they enjoyed Christmas dinner.

Congratulations to Jordan on completing his quest to climb the Seven Summits. Well done young man!

[Photo courtesy of Jordan Romero]

Teen climber Jordan Romero prepares for final Seven Summit

When we last checked in with teenage mountaineer Jordan Romero, he had just finished climbing Mt. Everest and in the process, setting a record for the youngest person to accomplish that feat. Jordan was 13 at the time, and razor focused on becoming the youngest person to reach the top of the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. Now, a year and a half later, with one mountain still on his list, he is preparing to achieve that goal as well.

Next week, Jordan, now age 15, will leave the U.S. for Antarctica, where he and his father Paul, along with step-mom Karen Lundgren, will attempt to climb Mt. Vinson, the highest peak on the continent. If all goes according to schedule, he’ll arrive in the Antarctic on December 16 and start the climb the following day. Over the following two weeks, Jordan and his team will face brutally cold temperatures, high winds, and the threat of avalanches, all for the chance to stand on the summit of the 16,050-foot mountain. If successful, Romero will become the youngest person to complete the Seven Summits.

Jordan first conceived of the idea of climbing the highest mountains on each of the continents when he saw a mural of the Seven Summits in his elementary school. That was back in 2005, when he was just nine years old. The following year he was off to Africa, where he trekked to the top of Kilimanjaro, which only fueled his desire to climb those mountains. In 2007 he checked Kosciuszko (Australia), Elbrus (Europe), and Aconcagua (South America) off of his list, and summitted Denali (North America) and Carstensz Pyramid (Oceania) in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Last year, he gained recognition worldwide for his successful climb of Everest, igniting a debate in the mountaineering community in the process. Many climbers began to wonder just how young was too young, which later prompted Nepal and China to set strict age limits, requiring Everest climbers to be at least 18 years old. The move was applauded by many, although some felt that Jordan was proof that young climbers could do well on the world’s tallest mountains.

[Photo courtesy of Jordan Romero]

China sets age limits for climbing Everest

Last month 13-year old American Jordan Romero climbed Mt. Everest amidst a flurry of media coverage and controversy, with many debating the wisdom of letting a boy his age climb the world’s highest mountain. At the time, Romero was forced to climb from the Chinese controlled Tibetan side of the mountain, as Nepal has a strict age requirement that forbids anyone under the age of 16 from making the attempt. China had no such restrictions in place, and as a result Romero and his team were able to proceed with their successful expedition.

This week the China-Tibet Mountaineering Association made a move to block future climbs such as Jordan’s. The CTMA, which is in charge of issuing permits to climb Everest’s North Side, has amended its requirements to now include age limits, both on the high and low end. The new regulations say that all climbers wishing to climb on the Tibetan side of the mountain must now be between the ages of 18 and 60. The move marks the first time that there have been a maximum age restriction placed on either side of Everest.

Those that fall outside of that age range have been given a slight glimmer of hope however, as the CTMA has said that they will consider other climbers, both older and younger, if they can provide sufficient proof of their good health. This move is likely to have the most impact on older climbers though, as officials have said they will not consider anyone under the age of 16 at all, matching Nepal’s age restriction.

In case you’re wondering, the oldest Everest climber ever is Min Bahadur Sherchan, who reached the summit at the age of 76 back in 2008.

13-year old Jordan Romero summits Everest

13-year old Jordan Romero reached the summit of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, earlier today, setting a new record for the youngest person to achieve that feat. The successful summit also leaves him just one peak shy of his ultimate goal, to become the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits.

For much of the week, high winds buffeted the mountain, preventing climbers from going to the summit. But today, as predicted, a new weather window opened, granting access to the peak once again. This change in the weather has spurred another round of summit bids from both the north and south sides of the mountain. Jordan, and his team, topped out on the north, or Tibetan, side of Everest.

With Everest now added to his resume, Jordan can now turn his attention to the one mountain that remains on his list of the Seven Summits. This fall, he’ll travel to Antarctica to climb the 16,050 foot tall Mt. Vinson, the tallest peak on that continent. While not nearly as high as Everest, which stands at 29,029 feet, the extreme cold and harsh Antarctic conditions give the mountain its own unique challenges.

Jordan’s summit of Everest wasn’t the only one of note today. Climbing legend Apa Sherpa claimed his 20th summit of the mountain, extending his own record in the process. Apa first climbed Everest back in 1990, and has not failed to reach the top of the mountain in any year since then, an impressive feat of skill and endurance.

Congratulations to both Jordan and Apa on their amazing accomplishments.

13-year old eyes Everest, Seven Summits

13-year old mountaineer Jordan Romero set off for Kathmandu yesterday, where he hopes to not only become the youngest climber to ever summit Mt. Everest but the Seven Summits as well.

We first mentioned Jordan more than a year ago. At the time, he had already well into his quest to climb the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, having completed Kilimanjaro (Africa), Elbrus (Europe), Aconcagua (South America), Denali (North America), and Kosciuszko (Australia). He has since added Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea, considered the highest peak in Oceania to his resume. That leaves just Everest and Mt. Vinson in Antarctica. left to conquer. If successful on Everest, he’ll go for Vinson in the fall.

Jordan and his team, which includes his father, will be climbing from the North Side of Everest, located in Tibet. The South Side falls under the jurisdiction of Nepal, who enforce an age requirement of 16 years or older on all climbers, but the Chinese have no such restrictions on their side of the mountain, which is why Jordan and company have elected to take on the mountain from the North. Curiously, the team is also making the climb with out the support of guides.

A few days back, we had a little fun here at Gadling with a host of April Fool’s Day travel posts. My contribution to those posts was written in the spirit of good fun of course, but was also meant as a bit of social commentary. While I completely respect what Jordan has accomplished as a climber already, I’m not a huge fan of the recent trend to have younger and younger kids attempting dangerous things in order to claim some dubious “youngest” record. Climbing Everest will be unlike any of the other mountains that he has summitted, and spending time above 26,000 feet, dubbed the “Death Zone” in popular culture, is dangerous for a full grown man or woman. It could be potentially disastrous for a young, still developing teen. Hopefully everything will go well, and he’ll come home safe and sound. Reaching the summit is optional, coming back home is not.