Earlier this year American Jordan Romero climbed Everest at the age of 13, becoming the youngest to accomplish that feat, amidst a lot of media hoopla which helped to spark a debate amongst the climbing community about how young was too young. Not long after Jordan’s success, well known Everest guide Pemba Dorje Sherpa announced that he intended to have his own nine year-old son break that record, saying that he felt all Everest climbing records should belong to Nepali climbers. Despite the fact that Nepal has a ban on anyone climbing the mountain under the age of 16, the nine year old boy continues to train in hopes that he’ll be given an opportunity to climb.
According to this story in the Hindustan Times, Tseten Sherpa, Pemba Dorje’s son, has recently climbed the 5925 meter (19438 ft) Ramdung as a training exercise for Everest, which he hopes to summit in the spring. But the Nepal Mountaineering Association says that they will strictly enforce the 16-year age limit, and will move to block the boy’s attempt to climb the tallest mountain on the planet. They say that they will not issue a permit for the climb, and that any attempt to climb Everest without a permit will result in a fine that is double the price of a permit. Such a permit currently costs $70,000.
The 16-year age limit was in place when Jordan climbed Everest as well, which is why he made his ascent from the North Side of the mountain, in Tibet. Since his successful summit however, China has issued an age ban of its own, preventing anyone under the age of 18 from making the climb. That means that Tseten won’t have any more luck on that side of the mountain either.
So does this mean that we’ve seen the end of these young climbers on Everest? It would seem so, at least for now. Pemba Dorje was well aware of this rule before he started to train his son for the climb however, and was hoping to get a special reprieve to make the attempt. At the moment, that seems very unlikely, but that could change in the future.
Personally, I’m glad that they are stepping in to prevent such a climb. While I greatly respect what Jordan was able to accomplish, I have spoken out on more than one occasion about the dangers of having these young kids on an 8000 meter peak. The mountain will still be there when they get older and the dream won’t be any less fulfilled if they climb it when they are 16, 18, or any other age.
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