Backpacker Magazine has an interesting story and editorial asking the question Should 13-year-old Jordan Romero Climb Everest? This seems a fitting question, considering the young man is planning on making an attempt on the world’s highest mountain next spring, which would cap his quest to become the youngest person to climb all the Seven Summits, assuming he knocks off Vinson on schedule later this year.
I’ve been following Jordan’s climbs fairly closely these past couple of years, updating his progress every time he managed to summit another one of the seven, which consists of the tallest mountains on each of the continents. This story from Backpacker is great for introducing Jordan to anyone who hasn’t been following him thus far however, and it talks about how he became captivated with the idea after seeing a mural of the Seven Summits at school. The article also emphasizes the parental support he has gotten from his dad, as well as other adults in his life too.
Backpacker also goes into the criticism that Jordan and his father, Paul, have had to endure. There are plenty of people who think it’s just plain wrong for a child to be climbing these mountains, and that the teenager is at risk every time he goes up. They also accuse Paul of being the kind of dad that pushes his son into doing things that he doesn’t necessarily want to do. Reading the story you can tell that the criticism has stung on more than one occasion.
The family has plenty of supporters as well however, and chief amongst them are mountaineers who have climbed with Jordan or spent time with him in camps on the five mountains he’s already completed. Others say that if nothing else, the teenager has goals and aspirations, and he’s not sitting on the couch playing video games like so many other kids.
All in all, this is a good story about a good kid, who happens to have very big dreams. Everything I’ve read or seen on Jordan seems to indicate that he is a level headed climber, wise beyond his years, with a great support system around him. You have to admire his determination and toughness, that much is certain.
And what do I think about a 13-year old climbing Everest? Personally, I don’t think its a very good idea. The mountain is challenging enough at any age, and sending someone so young up there just seems like it’s asking for trouble. The mountain is fraught with dangers, and a death on Everest is always tragic. It just seems like it would be even more so for a climber of this age.
That said, I feel like if anyone can do it at 13, it is probably Jordan. I also know that his family won’t put him into a position where he’ll be going up higher than he should. But, as I said when 13-year old Laura Dekker was planning on circumnavigating the globe solo, I’m against these kids doing these things to earn a “record” for being the youngest to accomplish something. And if it isn’t about a record ,then why not wait a few years? The mountain will still be there when Jordan is 16 for instance, and that three years can make a big difference in his physical maturity.
Either way, I wish him the best of luck. To find out more about Jordan, check out his website at JordanRomero.com
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