Jordan Romero is an American climber known for being the youngest person to have reached Mount Everest. He was only 13 years old when he had completed his expedition to Everest with his father, stepmother, and three Sherpas in May 2010.
Along with Mt. Everest, Jordan has successfully climbed all the highest mountains of each seven continents. He broke the record of being the youngest climber to have conquered all the seven summits after completing his expedition to Mount Vinson Massif in December 2011. He was only 15 years old during the time of his historical achievement.
Currently, Jordan Romero is pursuing his B.I.G. tour, where he is touring around the United States while climbing the tallest peak in each of the fifty states.
Jordan Romero Early Life
Jordan Romero was born on July 12, 1996, in California to Paul Romero and Leigh Anne Drake. He mostly spent his childhood years in Big Bear Lake, California.
Jordan sparked an interest in mountaineering when he was just 9-years old. He revealed that he was fascinated by a mural of Seven Summits placed in his school’s hallway when he was in fourth grade. And since then, he always wondered what it would be like to stand on top of the mountains.
Romero finally changed his wonderment into reality when he decided to climb his first summit to Mount Kilimanjaro when he was only ten years old.
Jordan Romero Mount Everest Expedition
Before starting his expedition towards Mount Everest, Jordan Romero and his team had spent over a year preparing and researching every scenario that they could face during their climb. Furthermore, to avoid any risk, Jordan and his team spent about 50 days in the Himalayas to acclimatize and prepare for their journey.
It is not an unknown fact that climbing Everest can be quite expensive. But to make his dream come true, Jordan was awarded a Polartec Grant, a $10,000 grant awarded to teams looking to produce low impact and cost-effective expedition that is both culturally and environmentally friendly. Furthermore, Jordan also sold t-shirts to raise more funds for his trip.
Jordan was accompanied by his father, Paul Romero, his stepmother Karen Lundgren for his Everest expedition. His father is an experienced helicopter paramedic and a trained rescue and high-altitude medicine tech. At the same time, his stepmother is a professional adventure racer who played the role of handling all the logistical details of their trip.
Instead of hiring Western guides, the Romero family had hired three altitudes savvy Sherpas named Ang Pasang Sherpa, Lama Dawa Sherpa, and Lama Karma Sherpa to scout the routes and help them carry their gear and set up their camps when necessary.
For his expedition to be successful, Jordan had carried a rabbit’s foot, a good luck Tibetan prayer necklace given by his grandfather, and a pair of kangaroo testicles gifted by a friend.
Jordan and his family had completed the expedition from the technically challenging and less used northeast ridge route of Everest. He could not do it from the Nepalese side as there is an age restriction for the younger climbers younger than 16. To make it to the top of the mountain, Jordan and his team had to use fixed ropes to pull their body up the windy route, then scale a 10-foot rock slab before climbing a 30-foot Chinese ladder, which was kept by a Chinese climbing party in 1957.
Furthermore, Jordan was also carrying a satellite phone and a G.P.S. tracking, which allowed him to set up a live update about his whereabouts in a map posted in his blog while he was scaling the mountain. He even held a Skype interview and called his mother, Leigh Anne Drake, after reaching Everest’s top on May 22, 2010.
To talk about his experience in more detail, Jordan partnered with award-winning author Katherine Blanc and published a book called “The Boy Who Conquered Everest: The Jordan Romero Story.” The book contains several photos, quotes, and physical, emotional, mental, and financial challenges Jordan had to go through to make his expedition possible.
Jordan other Mountain Expeditions
Before his climb to Everest, Jordan Romero had already climbed the world’s five highest peaks out of seven of them.
He had first climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was just ten years old. He revealed in an interview he did not have any plan of climbing all the seven highest peaks in the world before he had climbed Kilimanjaro.
He said, “Before we reached the top, we had no intention of climbing the seven summits, but when we got there, we said, “Alright, let’s just go for them all!”
Jordan revealed that he had a tough time climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as he was only ten years old back then. Although he and his team had only spent four days climbing the mountain, Jordan suffered a lot throughout the climb and was about to stop in the middle of the expedition. However, he stayed determined and gained his stride, leading him to sprint towards the summit’s last few yards in the end.
After a year, Romero climbed Mount Kosciuszko, Mount Elbrus, and Mount Aconcagua, the highest peaks of Australia, Russia, and Argentina. Jordan had set a world record of being the youngest person to have climbed Mount Aconcagua in 2007.
And he continued to pursue his aim in 2008 by climbing Mount McKinley or Mount Denali, which is the highest peak of North America when he was just 11 years old.
In 2009, Jordan completed his sixth expedition when he climbed to Mount Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. His father, who had accompanied him, stated that climbing Mount Carstensz was one of their most formidable challenges as their journey to the top of the mountain involved snow, thunderstorms, and a vertical 1,800-foot limestone climb. Jordan’s father added, “We have never had so many barriers come before us while climbing a mountain. Jordan has displayed amazing patience and motivation.”
After climbing Mount Everest in 2010, Jordan finally completed his goal of conquering all seven summits in seven continents by successfully summiting Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica in 2011. During that time, he was only 15 years old.
Jordan completed all his expeditions with his father and his stepmother, Karen Lundgren. Their journeys have made them the first family to have climbed seven summits together.
After conquering all of seven summits, Jordan worked with Linda LeBlanc to write another book called “No Summit out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits.” In the book, Jordan recounts his experience from dreaming about climbing the seven summits to successfully climbing them all.
Currently, Romero is continuing his passion for mountaineering. He is trying to climb all the highest points in each of the 50 states in the U.S. He has already climbed Mount Denali in Alaska, Kings Peak in Utah, Mount Mansfield in Vermont, Mount Washington in New Hampshire, and Mount Katahdin in Maine.
Jordan Romero: Controversy
Before his climb towards Mount Everest, Jordan Romero got criticized for continuing his expedition to the highest peak. Many critics debated whether a 13-year-old has the physical and emotional maturity to decide whether they can attempt to climb Everest.
Dr. Michael J. Bradley, a psychologist, even spoke out regarding the topic and stated that although Jordan is physically strong, most 13-year-old do not have the wiring to make life-and-death cognitive decisions not truly able to understand what they are signing for. He further added that teenagers have thin veneers that can easily crack from stress and lack adults’ resilience to recover.
The critics even went further to claim that rather than Jordan, it was his father who wanted all the expedition to happen. They claimed that Paul Romero was conducting such a dangerous trip with his son to make money by abusing his son.
However, Paul denied such claims and stated that he just wanted to help Jordan achieve his dreams. Furthermore, he hoped Jordan’s achievement would encourage other parents to exercise with their children.
He said, “We live a life in the U.S. where childhood obesity is at an epidemic level. Now I am not saying everyone should take their kids to Mount Everest, but I think parents should encourage their kids to pursue their big goals.”
Due to the massive criticism before and after Romero’s expedition to Everest, the Chinese authorities have changed the age limit of climbers who can summit the mountain from their side. Such steps have now led Jordan to be the youngest person to climb Everest to date permanently.
Despite all the criticism, Jordan’s accomplishments are still commendable. He remained determined and focused on his goals and accomplished them. Today, apart from climbing mountains and making history, Jordan also goes to different schools and works as a motivational speaker to encourage young people to set goals and live a healthy life.
Likewise, he also raised enough money to bring safe water to the needy people in Nepal. The money raised supports the effort of ‘Water Management International,’ an organization that is installing water treatment equipment in remote villages in need of safe water in the country.
When asked about the safe water initiative, Jordan said, “Safe water is essential at any altitude. We often take things like water for granted, but it truly can be the difference between life and death. In Nepal, I was able to fulfill a lifelong goal. But now, I will be able to leave a true legacy, one that makes a difference,”
Jordan Romero is truly an inspiration to all the younger generations who have big dreams that seem impossible at first. We applaud him for everything he has achieved and wish him all the luck for his mission to climb the tallest peaks in all 50 states in the U.S.