11-Year Old Climber Summits Elbrus in Quest for Seven Summits

Elbrus North 195

Last week I posted a story about Tyler Armstrong, the 11-year old mountaineer who has designs on climbing Everest next spring. In that article I questioned whether or not such a young climber should be attempting to climb the world’s tallest peak which is dangerous enough for full-grown adults. But while I was busy pontificating about Tyler’s ambitions to become the youngest to accomplish such a feat, he was in Russia adding another mountain to his resume. The young man – climbing with his father – successfully summited Mt. Elbrus, the tallest mountain in Europe.

Tyler’s expedition took five days to complete, culminating with a successful summit day on August 9. This was the third of the Seven Summits that he has climbed, with Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua already under his belt. The 5642 meter (18,510 ft) peak was seen as a bit of a warm-up for Everest next spring, as it gave Tyler the opportunity to work on more technical aspects of mountaineering, including rope skills and walking with crampons.

In order to climb Everest in 2016 Armstrong will need to get special permission from the Nepali or Tibetan governments. Both countries instituted minimum age requirements back in 2010 when Jordan Romero became the youngest person to climb Everest at 13 years old. Before Tyler can even start to climb the mountain, he’ll need to plead his case just to get a permit. It will be interesting to see how officials from either country react to the petition.

Regardless of whether or not he gets to climb Everest, you do have to respect and admire Tyler’s drive. While he is of course hoping to climb all of the Seven Summits at some point, he isn’t doing it just to selfishly try to reach that goal at a young age. The young man is using these climbs to raise funds to fight muscular dystrophy, and he hopes to eventually reach a goal of $1 million for the Cure Duchenne organization.

Incidentally, yesterday I wrote a story about how Jon Krakauer admitted that climbing Everest was the “biggest mistake” of his life. In that post I wrote that Krakauer’s reveal came after he received a question about climbing Everest from a young climber. It turns out that climber was Tyler, who was inquiring about Krakauer’s experiences on the mountain back in 1996. I’m guessing he wasn’t expecting the response that he got from the best selling author, who did just about everything he could to dissuade the 11-year old from climbing the mountain. We’ll see if those words had any impact on Tyler, or his ambitions to climb in the Himalaya next year.

Kraig Becker