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]

16-year old girl climbing tallest mountain in Antarctica

While most girls her age are more concerned about which boys will be asking them out this weekend, Crina Popescu has loftier goals in mind. The 16-year old Romanina girl is currently in Antarctica, where she is climbing Mt. Vinson, the tallest mountain on that continent. If successful, she hopes to go to Everest in the spring and take a shot at becoming the youngest woman to complete the Seven Summits.

Standing 16,050 feet in height, what Vinson lacks in altitude it makes up for in challenge, due in no small part thanks to the extreme weather. Temperatures on the mountain can plummett well below zero, with -30 degrees Faherenheit not being unheard of. Throw in high winds and heavy snow fall and you start to see the difficulty climbers face. Additionally, due to the very low barometric pressure as you get closer to the South Pole, the altitude actually seems much higher than it actually is. Fortunately, the weather is fantastic on Vinson at the moment, which means a number of climbing teams, including Crina’s, are preparing to make summit bids.

The teenager has plenty of mountaineering experience under her belt, despite her young age. She has already climbed in the Alps, the Himalaya, Iran, and beyond. Vinson also marks the sixth mountain in her Seven Summits bid, which is an attempt to climb the tallest mountain on all seven continents. With Vinson out of the way, Everest will remain the only obstacle left in her quest.

If the weather holds, look for the Romanian teen to take her countries flag to the summit this weekend.

[Photo credit: Crina Popescu]

New Antarctic base opens for adventure travelers

Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) has opened a new base of operations in Antarctica that will serve as a launching point for mountaineers looking to climb nearby peaks, explorers skiing to the South Pole, and other adventurous travelers looking to experience the frozen continent. The outpost is located at Union Glacier and replaces a similar base, known as Patriot Hills, that had been in use for more than twenty years.

The new base has been in development for more than four years and includes a runway built out of blue ice. That runway allows ALE to fly Russian built Ilyushin jets from Punta Arenas, Chile to Antarctica, delivering explorers and adventure travelers to the ice. The Union Glacier base has a heated passenger terminal for visitors to stay in while they wait for the two specially designed 4×4 vans to shuttle them to the actual camp, which sits at the foot of Mt. Rossman, roughly five miles away from the airstrip.

The camp itself offers accommodations for 80 guests and includes a complimentary meal service. The base has been built from the ground up to be environmentally friendly and more efficient than the old camp at Patriot Hills, while delivering a more comfortable space for Antarctic travelers. Nearby, there are a series of groomed trails that have been clearly marked to indicate safe and dangerous areas along the glacier, allowing visitors to hike and ski through the remote and scenic area.

If all goes as planned, and weather permitting, ALE will fly its first guests to Union Glacier today. Amongst those first visitors will be adventurers skiing to the South Pole and climbers headed to Mt. Vinson, the tallest mountain on the continent. But clearly the base opens new opportunities for adventure travelers to visit Antarctica as well, offering them a host of new experiences, albeit at a price.

[Photo credit: Laurens via WikiMedia]

12-Year-Old Climber Sets Sights on Seven Summits

The Seven Summits are the tallest mountains on each of the seven continents, and climbing them all is considered one of the premiere achievements for climbers and adventurers the world over. The concept originated with a man named Dick Bass who was the first to successfully gain this achievement back in 1985, and since then, dozens of other climbers have followed in his footsteps.

Currently, the youngest person to have climbed the Seven Summits is Samantha Larson, who accomplished the feat at the age of 18 when she topped out on Mt. Everest back in 2007. But there is another young climber looking to snatch that record, as 12-year-old Jordan Romero closes in on the mark.
Jordan, who was recently interviewed by Outside Online, caught the climbing bug when he reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, at the age of 10. After that, he made it a goal to go after the remaining summits as well, and has now successfully reached the top of Elbrus (Europe), Aconcagua (South America), Denali (North America), and Kosciuszko (Australia). That leaves Mt. Vinson in Antarctica, and Everest in Asia, as the two remaining mountains in the traditional Seven Summits. This summer, Romero will climb a mountain called Carstensz Pyramid in Papua New Guinea. Carstensz is considered the tallest mountain in Oceania, often replacing Kosciusko as the seventh summit. Jordan’s covering all his bases and climbing both, making this a Seven Summits plus One.

If everything goes as planned, the young climber will be on Everest by the time he’s 16, and finishing off his quest. Jordan says that the most difficult challenge is actually fund raising, and he estimates he’ll need roughly $180,000 to complete the Seven Summits, the bulk of which will be used on Everest and Vinson. Good luck Jordan!