BEIJING (AP) — The youngest climber to reach the peak of Mount Everest hugged his tearful companions and told them he loved them. Then 13-year-old Jordan Romero took the satellite phone and called his mom. “He says, ‘Mom, I’m calling you from the top of the world,’” a giddy Leigh Anne Drake told The Associated Press from California, where she had been watching her son’s progress minute by minute on a GPS tracker online. “There were lots of tears and ‘I love you! I love you!’” Drake said. “I just told him to get his butt back home.”
With Saturday’s success on the world’s highest mountain, at 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) above sea level, Jordan is just one climb from his quest to reach the highest peaks on all seven continents. » Don’t miss a thing. Get breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox. The teenager with a mop of long curly hair — who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was 9 years old — says 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,” Jordan said earlier on his blog. Before him, the youngest climber to scale Everest had been Temba Tsheri of Nepal, who reached the peak at age 16. Also Saturday, officials said a Nepalese Sherpa who lives in Salt Lake City broke his own world record by climbing Everest for the 20th time.
Apa, who goes by one name, went up to collect garbage, a growing environmental problem on the mountain. Several climbers took advantage of Saturday’s clear weather to reach the summit, Mountaineering Department official Tilak Pandey said. May is the most popular month for Everest climbs because of more favorable weather.
Jordan had never climbed above 8,000 meters (26,240 feet), but his team climbed quickly along the final ridge to arrive at the peak hours ahead of schedule. “The first thing, they all hugged each other and said, ‘I love you, I can’t believe we’re finally here’ and started crying,” said Rob Bailey, the team’s spokesman, by phone from the United States.
”I don’t think it ever dawned on them to say, ‘Oh my gosh, Jordan, you’re the youngest to get up here,’” Bailey said. “It’s never been about setting a record, besting anybody else.” Jordan, from the San Bernardino Mountains ski town of Big Bear, California, was climbing Everest with his father, his father’s girlfriend and three Sherpa guides.
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. Before the group set out for Nepal in April, Paul Romero said he wanted nothing more than to make his son’s dreams come true, even as the quest raised questions over how young is too young to scale Everest, a mountain where harsh conditions have caused scores of climbers’ deaths
. “It’s my dream we are following to the highest points on every continent,” Jordan says on his blog. “I know it’s a big goal and lucky for me my family is supporting me every step of the way.” Jason Edwards, a guide with the Seattle-based International Mountain Guides, said the outfitter has a minimum age limit of 18 for Everest expeditions because of liability issues. Still, he applauds the 13-year-old’s feat. “When a unique person with that spirit comes along, we have to encourage it,” Edwards said. “I’m excited he made it.” The group, dubbed “Team Jordan” on the teen’s blog, approached the peak along the technically more difficult, less-traveled northern route from the base camp on the Chinese side.
Unlike neighboring Nepal, the other approach to Everest, China has no age limit for climbers. Jordan registered with Chinese officials in April, said Zhang Mingxing, secretary general of China Tibet Mountaineering Association.
Budak 13 tahun cipta rekod tawan Everest
KATHMANDU 22 Mei – Seorang budak lelaki rakyat Amerika, Jordan Romero, 13, hari ini menjadi pendaki termuda Gunung Everest setelah berjaya menawan kemuncak tertinggi dunia itu, sekali gus mencipta rekod dunia baru yang mencetuskan kontroversi.
Romero dalam laman webnya berkata dia merupakan salah seorang daripada 50 pendaki yang berjaya sampai di puncak gunung tertinggi di dunia itu awal hari ini.
Satu kenyataan dalam laman webnya, www.jordonromero.com memberitahu bahawa Romero yang berasal dari California kelihatan sangat gembira ketika membuat panggilan dari puncak gunung itu melalui telefon satelit.
Romero tiga tahun lebih muda daripada pemegang rekod sebelum ini, Temba Tsheri, Nepal yang menawan puncak Everest ketika berusia 16 tahun.
Selain Romero, seorang pendaki lain, Apa Sherpa, 50, dari Nepal berjaya menawan puncak Everest bagi kali ke-20 mengatasi rekod dunianya sendiri.
“Dia sampai di puncak Everest pagi ini dan berada setengah jam di atas gunung tersebut. Dia dilaporkan sihat dan kini mula menuruni gunung itu,” kata jurucakap Kementerian Pelancongan, Laxman Bhattarai kepada AFP.
Sherpa yang pertama kali mendaki Everest pada 1990 dan digelar ‘Sherpa Berkuasa’ kerana dilihat mudah memanjat gunung itu, mendedikasikan kejayaan terbarunya itu untuk kesan perubahan cuaca di Himalaya.
“Saya bersyukur kerana mampu mendaki Everest untuk kali ke-20.
“Saya juga memanjat Everest pada kali ini untuk memberi kesedaran kepada kerosakan yang berlaku di Himalaya kerana perubahan cuaca dunia,” ujarnya dalam satu kenyataan yang disiarkan di laman webnya.
Beribu-ribu orang sudah mendaki Everest sejak Edmund Hillary dan Tenzing Norgay menjadi individu pertama berjaya menawan gunung yang mempunyai ketinggian 8,848 meter itu pada 1953. – AFP