13-year old boy becomes youngest to summit Everest

100406_Jordan_Romero.jpg 13-year old Jordan Romero became the youngest person to ever summit Mt. Everest today. Romero completed the climb with his dad, his girlfriend, a trusty team of Sherpas; since they couldn't tackle it from the Nepal side due to age restrictions, the team headed to China and ended up summiting via a much more difficult route. He's one away from completing the Seven Summit — the highest peaks on each continent — he climbed Kilamanjaro at age nine, and is planning a trip to the last summit, Vinson Massif in Antarctica, this December.

American boy, 13, breaks Everest Record [CNN]


    1. Not sure that this kid’s rich. From the AP story:

      Helicopter paramedic Paul Romero and his girlfriend have trained Jordan for top-level mountaineering. Romero and Karen Lundgren are adventure racers, competing in weeklong endurance races that combine biking, climbing, paddling and climbing through wilderness areas.

      Granted, a flight paramedic makes decent money, but not the kind of megabucks needed to fund an Everest trip. Jordan’s webpage shows a rather impressive list of sponsors. It looks to me like his dad and girlfriend are themselves adventure enthusiasts who also have a knack for fundraising.

      That’s one helluva free-range kid they’re raising. I hope he continues to be this successful as an adult.

      1. That’s one helluva free-range kid they’re raising.

        Free-range kids get into their own trouble, they don’t tag along while Dad gets the whole family in the same pickle together.

  1. Can we finally collectively agree now that climbing Everest is not as big a deal as it used to be?

  2. What amuses me more than anything else are the charges of child abuse that have been circulating for the past week. Yeah, right. Please, Brer Fox, don’t make me climb dat der mountain. I had a better shot at summitting Everest at 13 than I do now.

  3. There have been a spate of young teens attempting dangerous stunts in an attempt to hit the record books as “youngest” at something or other. Inevitably, one of them is going to get killed. How will we feel about this type of “free range kid” when that happens? Everest is still a dangerous climb. It was horribly irresponsible for the parents to put their child at risk like this when he was so young. I am glad he is okay, but sad about the inevitable tragedy that will follow when, eventually, a child will join the permanent graveyard on Everest’s peak.

    1. I don’t think the kids or their parents take these decisions lightly.

      Be it climbing Everest or sailing around the world solo, there is a helluva lot of training, equipment and time put into it all. Not just a glib decision.

      As for death – it’s a calculated risk, and I’m sure they thought long and hard about the fact that it was a reality to potentially face. And to mitigate the possibility for it to happen as much as possible.

      It’s sad that people are so afraid of losing their lives that they can’t conceive of doing anything that might be risky. People die, all the time. If it’s a freak accident doing something like this – then what can you do? Celebrate a life lost in the middle of actually fully living it. If it’s the result of stupidity or poor planning, then it’s something else all together.

      But the risk of death… we face it every day. Toughen up and deal with it, I say. Part of being free is accepting everything and anything is a possibility. Death included.

      1. Nobody said climbing Everest could be a “glib decision.” Lots of people say it’s an irrational decision, and an irresponsible decision with minors in tow. No matter how long you think about it or how many words you write about it.

        Any discussion of risk, mountain climbing in the Himalayas up where people’s lungs boil, comes down to this: Risk is x. Benefit is zero. It’s like talking about whether some kid is likely to survive a kidney transplant when they don’t need one.

  4. so his girlfriend would be older than him? so maybe she would be the youngest girl to climb it?

  5. His girlfriend (presumably around the same age) was with him and he’s the story??

  6. Looks like a balmy day on the top of the world. I’ve not previously seen photos of climbers so lightly dressed on the top of Everest. No oxygen system, either. Is this photo at the summit? I would think not.

    1. People have been climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen for quite some time now. If he’s scaled five of the other highest peaks in the world, he’s probably got some well-trained hemoglobin. At any rate, you could just take it off for a picture. It’s not outer space.

  7. Nice.

    “David Hillebrandt, medical adviser to the British Mountaineering Council, questioned whether Romero was mentally mature enough and then went on to say, “It is totally against the spirit of true mountaineering. This sounds like it’s about mass marketing, money and it’s verging on child abuse. Nowadays, people are effectively being winched up [the mountains], using ropes that sherpas have put in for them. It will all be done for him [Romero]. He’s a token passenger.”

  8. Not outerspace but a severe environment nonetheless, even on the best day. He has a pack on. I just don’t see that he would remove his Os, down jacket, mitts, overmitts, balaclava; then put his pack back on for the photo. It is also windy (evidenced by the flag) making these activities even less likely.

    If he climbed without oxygen, then his dad and guides are irresponsible in the extreme. They would be placing him in considerable additional danger and lessening his chances of success. Most climbers, even with oxygen, are a mess when they reach summit and thinking only of the descent.

    I’m not saying that he didn’t reach the top of Everest, just that I doubt that this photograph records that moment. That photo is likely from some other summit.

  9. Anyone with 60,000 bucks, minimum, can summit Everest. Those Darn Accordions have a song that summarizes it pretty well, “There’s another Dumbass on the Mountain” I can’t find the lyrics online.

    Next the kid says he wants to climb the highest peak in Antarctica. I wish I had that much money to burn when I was a kid. I’d have been up to my neck in Star Wars action figures.

  10. It’s pretty stupid IMHO.

    A super rich kid, with resources to mount a expedition. (Okay, reading the previous post from the submitter, he might not be ‘superich’).

    But still this type of showmanship puts emergency teams at risk to haul their asses back down when they mess up.

    I saw the IMax “Everest” movie and it was sad; people putting others at risk for their own pride–some lost their noses due to frost bite and had to put rescue teams at risk to haul them back. And images of the top of the Mountain was full of trash.

    Would we praise that if those people were having unprotected sex climbing their own personal. “Everest”?

  11. This kid is only 13, he has a much better mass to muscle/lung ratio than a big 40 y/o yuppie.

  12. “…and is planning a trip to the last summit, Vinson Massif in Antarctica, this December.”

    Then what?

  13. Angry cubicle-dwellers with torches and pitchforks always gotta hate on anyone who goes out and does something interesting in the real world.

    1. While I appreciate your prejudiced comment against people that work in offices, I think it overlooks that many people who are actual mountaineers are making some of the most informed and critical comments about this stunt. But it was a good dig none the less, congrats mr. moderator.

    2. Are you seriously saying that the circus around Everest Climbing is “real life” compared to people trying to make a living? I hope you aren’t saying that.

      Good for the kid he made it, but “real life” it aint.

  14. According to Catholic doctrine, having sex on the summit would bring the youngest possible person to the summit. Someone should try.

    My favourite newspaper has a place for this kind of stunt – they have a small article on the front page labeled ‘Prominently ignored’ to simultaneously keep one updated on pop culture and the latest PR stunt, while alo acknowledging that it is pretty meaningless.

  15. When a child is raised in an environment that offers challenges and tough decision making, it’s no surprise for the child to become highly independent and mature far earlier than his “average” age group.

    I think children are capable of doing so much more than we expect at a younger age. We just keep putting them in boxes.

  16. Then what? Olympus Mons, baby, and even then, people will hate on the lower gravity and say it’s no big deal.

  17. Imagine if he’d put all that effort into something that would help others, rather than this selfish stunt.

    1. Imagine if you spent your time for the good of others, instead of your selfish complaining.

  18. The debate about “extreme sportsman” doing generally stupid things and then risking ERTs and tying up resources is a different issue all together, mind you.

    Everest climbers really just need to be told, past this point, you’re on your own and will probably die.

    I don’ think every human life should be put on such a high tier of priority when they’re willingly entering into something so dangerous. They shouldn’t be guaranteed that others’ should be willing to do the same to save them, no matter how much money is involved.


  19. It needs to be noted that on mount everest there is one death for about every ten successful ascents. We are not talking about every day kind of risks. This is a huge risk. How many of the commenters here would allow their child to have a *vaccine* that had a 1/10 or 1/20 risk of death??? How about letting your child test pilot an aircraft? Not only is it irresponsible to take a child up on the peak, but anyone who HAS children should be ashamed for taking such a risk with their own life while their children are young.

  20. I was gonna make that Olympus Mons suggestion, but someone beat me to it. Inspired by Dan Simmons ‘On K2 with Karakanedes’ heehee

    I say fuck it, the kid and family had the money, they took the shot. Yep, he could have died. He could have died in a school shooting too, or in a car crash, or from a pokemon induced seizure.

    I could understand the hate if this kid had dragged YOU up the mountain, but he didn’t put your life at risk. He risked his own life. The sherpas are professionals, noone forces them to work on the mountain. It’s just a thing some people do.

    I wouldn’t do it though. To cold, to dangerous, no flush toilets!

  21. I plan on taking my 10 yr old next year. The record’s not going to last too long. And all you haters out there, he wants to do it.

    1. I’m taking my 10 yo later this year, hope he gets the record. All prepped and ready to go. Yes, $150,000, but it is paid 4.

  22. BFD — that’s nothing. When I was thirteen, I knew **ALL** the words to Led Zeppelin II, AND I could take the train all by myself.

  23. First and foremost: THIS IS 100% full of Awesome! Another amazing kid bucking the trend of the sedentary youth culture and their overprotective parents who grew up on cable television, fast food, and video games.

    All this bickering back and forth about parents being irresponsible and he’s too young, along with the case of the Australian girl with her pink boat – all is such nonsense. Just because an average American 13 year old is assumed to be eating Ding Dongs and playing their Playstations doesn’t mean that young people can’t do awesome things.

    Who are any of us to tell a young motivated person that they can’t do something because of, gasp, their age. Why take away from this kid’s awesome achievement? An achievement that he did with his dad. When we’re old and cranky talking about the stuff we did with our fathers we might mention a neat trip here or a ballgame there. Jordan Romero can say, “Yea I got you all beat. I stood on top of the world with my dad.” That’s pretty freaking cool.

    Don’t hate on this kid and his father. We should celebrate it. I know I will.

  24. Yes, it’s awesome that a young kid is doing amazing things and bagging all seven peaks is a massive achievement. However, Everest has become a carnival freakshow at this point. There’s every kind of stupidity, crime, and poor judgment going on up there and every year there’s a huge percentage of climbers who show up with neither the technical skill nor the technical infrastructure to deal with the mountain. This puts everyone at risk and the life that gets lost may not belong to the person to blame. You screw up up there and you may kill people.

    I’m glad Romero managed to pull it off, but he’s another big flashing sign that says “Attention Thrillseeking Idiots: Climb Here!” I’m much more impressed by his other climbing credentials.

    For those interested, Ed Douglas’s article about the death toll for the 2006 season is a good read. The books “High Crimes” and “Dark Summit” are also worth a look.

  25. People have opinions and sometimes disagree without “hate” playing any factor in the discussion. It’s the word the Palinistas use as a retort to ant criticism of her politics or so-called values. It shows a lazy thought process and an immature one. I’m sort of surprised to see it pop up so often in these comments.

  26. Pretty exciting for the kid and his family – I don’t have much of an opinion of it one way or another. But I do hope that he doesn’t peak at 13 or 14 and spend his adult years wondering why he can’t top his childhood achievements. I hope he goes on to do many more great things.

    And…can you imagine what his college application essay will be like?

  27. How come is that there’s an age restriction in the Nepal side? Is it because the oxigen/pressure is harmfull for yung kids.

    All this discovery channel documentaries say that it is kind of bad for the body and brain, all that lack of air, etc.

    Can somebody that knows make a comment about that. Maybe not 13 but it says that at age 9 he was already doing things like this. That is still age for development. I remember that I coudn’t even do weight lifting at that age in the gym.

    And about the way of using the commas. “His dad, his girfriend…” is totally putting “the girfriend” in the same context than “the dad”.

  28. I think the reason some people are putting the kid down is that he’s got opportunities that few other kids have. It’s the same reason we don’t like the rich kids who get into Ivy League schools without the high-school grades to back it up, because of their parents.

    It’s not to say that any 13-year old kid could do this if given the opportunity (though I bet it would be surprising how many could), but that the rest of us never have a chance to do “great things” like this (and I use that term loosely here) at any point in our lives, much less at thirteen.

    You can carve out your own opportunities to “live life to the fullest”, to a certain extent, with a lot of effort. If that’s what someone does, that’s impressive. This kid’s dad may even fall in that category.

    It’s not quite as impressive if you’re handed every opportunity on a silver platter.

    I have done similar (obviously much smaller-scale) things in my life for personal development rather than selling my soul to an office job. To do so, I’ve sacrificed a lot. I’m doing something in a couple of weeks that I’ve been fantasizing about my whole life – living for half a year in a foreign country with a girl that I met there.

    It’s not a particularly grand goal in life, but even then it’s far more than most people can ever hope to do. Everyone else won’t be penniless and jobless like I will be when I get back, though, and that’s part of the price I’m paying.

    The point is it takes sacrifice for other people to be at all impressed in accomplishments like this. This kid’s been handed an incredible life. Can’t help that he’s lucky, I guess, but that doesn’t mean we have to like him :)

  29. I find it very disturbing that people would set their priorities for child-rearing and life choices in such a radically different way than I would, were I similarly situated, and a parent. Without the sensible, measured approach that I advocate, their pursuits are futile, and their accomplishments are hollow. They may think that they are giving their child a unique opportunity to do, see, and participate in challenges that very few will ever have, no matter what their age. In fact, they are sadly deluded, and don’t realize they are crippling, maybe killing their child rather than helping him to achieve what most people can only imagine. I am available to help them correct the unfortunate direction they have taken by life coaching.

  30. Honestly, there is only one reason that this kid is doing this–his college application essay. Having read a fair number of them, I hope that the admissions staff sees through this stunt.

  31. So, did this kid get to have a rest stop at the cave that contains the bodies of David Sharp and Green Boots? (David Sharp was the climber who was left to die by his own climbing party and another one. People literally stepped over the dying man in order to continue an ASCENT, not the descent, towards the summit.)

    At this point, taking a kid up Mount Everest is more than just dangerous. It is corrupting the morals of a minor.

    1. True. But the kid in the photo is nowhere near dressed enough. Look at some real summit photos. Just look at them. Most climbers might just pull there mask aside for the photo op. This kid got undressed. Again, I’m not saying he didn’t climb Everest; just that this isn’t a photo of that moment.

      1. Ah. I use the Shorter Oxford as my dictionary, and the only verb form of summit that it contains means ‘to take part in summit meetings’. Obviously another one of those left/right-pondian things.

  32. This kid is too cool. Not only has he climbed the highest point on Six of seven continents but he informed his Mom that he made it via Sat hone by quoting a Cagney Movie “I’m on top of the world, Ma”

  33. I think the only thing that bothers me most about “youngest” achievements (or other such things) is that it’s an achievement partly made up of luck or availability, rather than an achievement purely of effort, intelligence, etc.

    I am sure there are plenty of children around this boy’s age who could have also made it to the top of Mt. Everest, however they have not due to not having a chance, the money, or maybe not even knowing what/where Mt. Everest is.

    Still, his feat has taken effort on his part and his family’s, so I congratulate him for that.

  34. I think it’s amazing to challange children. Or at least,set an example to all the lazy parents and children out there. However, Everest, to me, seems like a life long acheivement. Doing something so great, so young I fear will only set him up for disappointment later in life. He’s summited the highest peak, nowhere else to go but down from here. I can just see this kid on a job interview, ” I sat on the roof of the world with no oxygen, and you’re telling me I’m not right for the position?!’

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