13-year-old becomes youngest to top Mount Everest
By CARA ANNA
Associated Press Writer
BEIJING — A 13-year-old American boy became the youngest climber to reach the top of Mount Everest on Saturday, breaking the former record as part of his quest to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents.
A spokesman for Jordan Romero said the boy's team called him by satellite phone from the summit of the world's highest mountain, 29,035 feet above sea level.
"Their dreams have now come true. Everyone sounded unbelievably happy," a new statement on Romero's blog said Saturday morning.
The teenager with long curly hair — who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was 10 years old — has said he was inspired by a painting in his school hallway of the seven continents' highest summits.
"Every step I take is finally toward the biggest goal of my life, to stand on top of the world," Romero said in an earlier post on his blog.
The record for the youngest climber to scale Everest had been held by Temba Tsheri of Nepal, who reached the peak at age 16.
"I'm just very proud of him," Romero's mother told The Associated Press by telephone just before he reached the peak, as she watched his progress online on a live GPS tracker.
When asked what she would say to him once he reached the summit, she started crying: "I can't really say that. It's just emotional."
Romero, from Big Bear, Calif., 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.
Everest was Jordan Romero's first challenge above 26,240 feet.
Unlike neighboring Nepal, the other approach to Everest, China has no age limit for climbers. Romero registered with Chinese officials in April, said Zhang Mingxing, secretary general of China Tibet Mountaineering Association.
No interview with Romero will be possible until he returns to advance base camp, which could take a couple of days, said Rob Bailey, the U.S.-based spokesman for the teenager's climbing team. Climbers stay overnight at three or four camps before the summit, depending on their route and pace.
The team planned to do something special for Romero at the mountaintop but was keeping it a surprise even from him, Bailey said.