Sunday, April 11, 2010

13 Year Old To Attempt To Climb Everest

California 13-year-old to attempt to climb Everest

LOS ANGELES — A 13-year-old California boy plans to try to climb Mount Everest in a quest to reach the summits of the highest peaks on all seven continents.

If Jordan Romero succeeds, he'll become the youngest person to conquer the world's highest mountain.

Jordan will attempt the ascent to 29,035 feet with his father and his father's girlfriend, both experienced outdoors people who have helped train the teenager for top-level mountaineering.

When Jordan was only 9, a school mural of the seven summits inspired his ambitious goal.

"I told my dad about it and he didn't say no. He just explained the difficulties and what I'd have to do. We started training right away," said Jordan, who was scheduled to depart for Nepal Monday night.

At age 10, he became the youngest American to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. He's steadily checked off four of the tallest peaks since then, including Alaska's Mount McKinley, which many climbers consider to be a more technical climb than Everest.

Despite his penchant for tall mountains and thin air, friends and family describe Jordan as unusually grounded for a 13-year-old. He said he understands the risks of climbing Everest, which kills climbers almost every year.

"Mountain climbing requires a lot of mental training and making smart decisions. It's a metaphor for life," he said, sounding wiser than his years.

The teenager's planned Everest ascent is making the mountaineering community think hard about how young is too young to climb such a dangerous mountain.

Jordan's father, Paul Romero, said he wants nothing more than to make his son's dreams come true.

"It's his quest and we're just along for the ride," said Romero, a helicopter paramedic who lives in the San Bernardino Mountains ski town of Big Bear Lake. "We may or may not reach the summit this time. It might be a dress rehearsal."

Romero and girlfriend Karen Lundgren are adventure racers, competing in weeklong endurance races that combine biking, climbing, paddling and climbing through wilderness areas around the world.

Jordan's mother, Leigh Anne Drake, said she supports her son but she also sees her ex-husband's influence in the project.

"He went to his dad's for a weekend and came back with a new goal," to be the youngest to reach the top of Everest, she said. "If you're going to do it, you have to foot the bill. But if you set a record, you can get sponsorship."

The trio's Everest expedition is costing $150,000. Jordan, his father and Lundgren will be making the ascent with three sherpas.

If you put your mind to it and think positive. You can do it!
If this boy climbs the Mountain, he will set a new record of being the youngest to climb Mt. Everest!

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