‘I’m calling from the top of the world’

2010-05-22 10:42

A 13-year-old American boy became the youngest climber to reach the

top of Mount Everest today, surpassing the previous record set by a 16-year-old

Nepalese teen.

Jordan Romero called his mother from a satellite phone at the

summit of the world’s highest mountain, 8.8km above sea level. He is now one

climb away from his quest to conquer the highest peaks on all seven

continents.

The boy’s mother, Leigh Anne Drake, said: “He says, ‘Mom, I’m

calling you from the top of the world’. There were lots of tears and ‘I love

you! I love you!’ I just told him to get his butt back home.”

The teenager with long curly hair – who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro

when he was 9-years-old – says he was inspired by a painting in his school

hallway of the seven continents’ highest summits.

Romero posted earlier on his blog: “Every step I take is finally

toward the biggest goal of my life, to stand on top of the world.”

The former record for the youngest climber to scale Everest had

been held by Temba Tsheri of Nepal. He reached the peak at age 16.

Californian Romero was climbing Everest with his father, his

father’s girlfriend and three Sherpa guides. He left for the peak from the base

camp on the Chinese side.

Unlike neighbouring Nepal, the other approach to Everest, China has

no age limit for climbers.

Romero carried a number of good luck charms, including a pair of

kangaroo testicles given to him by a friend who has cancer.

At the summit, Romero left behind his lucky rabbit’s foot and

planted some seeds that a Buddhist monk at a local monastery had given him for

luck on his journey.

Earlier this month, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson became

the youngest person to sail around the globe solo, non-stop and unassisted.

Thousands lined Sydney Harbour to cheer as she cruised past the finish line in

her pink yacht.

A Dutch court late last year blocked an even younger sailor,

14-year-old Laura Dekker, from pursuing a similar round-the-world voyage,

ordering her to prepare more and wait at least until this year before

starting.

And in January, 17-year-old Johnny Collinson of Utah became the

youngest person to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents.

Just one mountain remains in Romero’s own quest to climb those

peaks, the Vinson Massif in Antarctica. His team leaves for Antarctica in

December.

“A piece of cake,” his mother said.

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