There has been a lot of discussion over the past few days about Pemba Dorje Sherpa’s plan to find a younger climber to break Jordan Romero’s record for the youngest person to summit Everest. He hopes to fins an 11 or 12 year old Nepali child to guide to the top of the mountain, but hasn’t ruled out taking his own 10-year old son on the expedition. He’s even already received an age exemption from the Nepali Government, allowing him to proceed with his plan. The country currently requires that all climbers be 16-years of age, or older, to climb the mountain, which is why Jordan Romero went to the North Side to climb. At the time, China had no such age limit.
That is about to change however, as a number of sources, including Alan Arnette, are now reporting that China will indeed institute an age requirement in the wake of Jordan’s climb, which received a lot of press, both good and bad.
The China-Tibet Mountaineering Association now says that beginning this fall, all climbers must be at least 18-years of age to attempt the climb from the North Side. But not content with just setting a minimum age, the Chinese have also elected to set a maximum one as well. Climbers can now be no older than 60 if they want to climb from the North. They did say that climbers outside of the 18-60 age group could be considered as long as they could provide documentation of their good health, although they also said that no one under 16 would ever be considered. Period.
The North Side of Everest has always been a bit more wild and unregulated than the South Side. Nepal has been more at the forefront of these kinds of issues, so it is good to see China stepping up to institute these kinds of requirements. Hopefully this will dissuade any more attempts on the “Youngest” records.
Now, if only we can convince Nepal to stick to that 16-year age limit too.