This week, Jordan Romero will depart for Antarctica to check off the final peak, the Vinson Massif, in his quest to become the youngest person to reach the Seven Summits. Romero is just 15 years old. The Big Bear California native has reached six of the Seven Summits over the last five years, using both the Bass and Messner list. His accomplishments and world records to date include:
Africa- Kilimanjaro – July 22, 2006 (World Record- Age 10 )
Australia- Kosciuszko – April, 2007
Europe/Russia- Elbrus – July 11, 2007 (World Record- Age 10)
South America- Aconcagua – December 30, 2007 (World Record – Age 10)
North America- Denali – June 18, 2008 (missed world Record by 4 months, Age 11)
Oceana- Carstensz Pyramid – September 1, 2009 ( World Record- Age 11)
Asia – Mt. Everest – May 22, 2010 (World Record- Age 13)
Although the youngster has gained a fair amount of momentum in the media, he has also drawn a lot of criticism from the mountaineering community because of his age. Critics claim that he’s simply too young, both physically and mentally, to face the challenges associated with high altitude climbing (Guardian May 2010). In fact, after Romero summited Everest in 2010, the Chinese Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) began to implement age restrictions when climbing from the north (age restrictions are already in place when climbing from the Nepal side). It’s notable that Romero’s father and climbing partner is a paramedic with a specialty in high-altitude physiology. George Atkinson currently holds the record at 16 years, 362 days.
What do you guys think- should stricter regulations be in place for climbing ages or should youths be able to pursue such goals free of red tape?