Everest 2010: What is the “Right” Age to Climb the Mountain?

mount everest north face02
In his preseason 2010 Everest coverage, Alan Arnette has posted another great story, this time taking a look at the “right” age to climb the mountain. This is sure to be a topic of debate in the season ahead, as we all wait, and watch, with bated breath for 13-year old Jordan Romero to make his bid on the mountain later this year.

Alan talks about the current record holders for youngest and oldest to summit the mountain, something that continues to be pushed forward on a seemingly yearly basis. The youngest person to summit is Miss Ming Kipa, a 15-year old Sherpani who went up on the North Side back in 2005. As Alan points out, Nepal bars anyone under the age of 16 from climbing Everest, thus forcing the young lade to climb on the Tibetan side. The record for oldest summiteer goes to Min Bahadur Sherchan, who made the climb back in 2008 at the age of 76. That record may be in jeopardy this year however, as 80-year old Sailendra Kumar Upadhyaya, the former Foreign Minister of Nepal, will make his bid. Alan also points out that oldest woman to summit is 63-year old Tamae Watanabe of Japan.

In the article, we get insights into the risks at climbing at various ages which included possible impeded development in younger climbers, and stamina and speed issues in older ones. Alan even discusses the “enablers”, or the factors/people/groups that are encouraging younger, and older, people to attempt Everest, which has turned into a media circus in recent years as everyone and their dog attempts to set some kind of new, and often dubious, record on the mountain.

Kraig Becker

6 thoughts on “Everest 2010: What is the “Right” Age to Climb the Mountain?”

  1. I'm not a climbing or health expert… but I think it should be discussed that a climber should be of age 18 in order to summit Everest. The body is still developing (especially in men) at ages 15 and 16. The lungs aren't fully grown at those ages.

  2. A lot of people would definitely agree with you Blue Alpine, and I know this debate is going to rage over the next two-three months, thanks to Jordan Romero's Everest attempt. I'm fairly open minded, and really respect what the kid has accomplished, but 13 seems just too young.

  3. 13 is entirely too young. It's disgraceful on the part of the guide and the parenting.

    I have no respect for any climbing guide that would agree to guide a 13 year old up Everest.

    I also have no respect for the parents that would allow their 13 year old to attempt this climb.

  4. Carl, he is not guided. They are using a logistics company for climbing Sherpas and base camp services only.

  5. Wow. So the 13 year old and his entourage are climbing Everest WITHOUT the aid of an experienced Everest guide? I don't know what to say…

    I guess it isn't too surprising… what guide would want to risk his reputation by guiding a 13 year old up the highest peak in the world?

  6. Just read an article in the Outside magazine about the new phenomena ( "Into Teen Air" I think it's called)…

    In my opinion, there shouldn't be any restrictions/age limits or any limits whatsoever ( I can't climb Everest if I can't afford 60K ? or Kili without 3K? I need a special permit to walk up a freaking mountain ? )…

    I am only amazed at what kind of opportunities those kids got ! It was Romero's dream to climb Everest since he was 6-7 ! Let him ( or anybody else) have it !

    Child's development ? At this age a child is developing not only physiologically. I'd rather have my kid going through rigorous training then …nothing at all, or hanging out at malls, watching TV and smoking pot.

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