13-year-old scales Mount Everest
Last Updated: Saturday, May 22, 2010 | 12:36 AM ET The Associated Press
A 13-year-old American has become the youngest climber to reach the top of Mount Everest.
A spokesman for Jordan Romero says the teen's team called him by satellite phone from the summit of the world's highest mountain 8,850 metres above sea level.
"Their dreams have now come true. Everyone sounded unbelievably happy," a new statement on Romero's blog said Saturday morning.
The teenager with long curly hair — who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was 10 years old — says he was inspired by a painting in his school of the seven continents' highest summits.
"Every step I take is finally toward the biggest goal of my life, to stand on top of the world," Romero said on his blog earlier.
The previous record for the youngest climber to scale Everest was held by Temba Tsheri of Nepal. He reached the peak at age 16.
"I'm just very proud of him," Romero's mother Leigh Anne Drake told The Associated Press by telephone just before he reached the peak, as she watched his progress on a live GPS tracker online.
When asked what she would say to him once he reached the summit, she started crying. "I can't really say that. It's just emotional."
The teenager, from Big Bear, Calif., was climbing Everest with his father, his father's girlfriend and three Sherpa guides. He left for the peak from the base camp on the Chinese side.
Everest was Romero's first challenge above 8,000 metres.
Unlike neighbouring Nepal, the other approach to Everest, China has no age limit for climbers. Romero registered with Chinese officials in April, said Zhang Mingxing of the China Tibet Mountaineering Association.
No interview with the young record-holder would be possible until he returns to advance base camp, which could take several days, said Rob Bailey, the U.S.-based spokesman for the climbing team.
Climbers stay overnight at three or four camps before the summit, depending on their route and pace.
Romero was carrying a number of lucky charms, including a pair of kangaroo testicles given to him by a friend who has cancer.
"That's the one that probably meant the most. I know it might sound odd," Bailey said.
Am I the only one feeling old?