On Top of the World: Jordan Romero Reaches New Heights
On May 22, 13-year-old Jordan Romero became the youngest person ever to climb Mt. Everest. With his dad at his side, the California native not only made history, he also also came one step closer to achieving his personal goal of summiting the highest peaks on all seven continents.
We caught up with Jordan at Everest Base Camp where he was waiting out the wind and getting ready to make his way to the top of the mountain. Here's what he had to say about his love of climbing, what he's most looking forward to when he gets back home, and how he hopes his journey will inspire other kids.
How did you first become interested in climbing?
I was always into the outdoors and doing things outside: hiking, camping, etc. My first big mountain was Mt. Kilimanjaro. Training for it really got me excited about climbing. Making it to the summit of a mountain I had trained for one year to climb made me think that mountain climbing was really cool.
Where did you get the idea to climb the Seven Summits?
I saw a mural at my old elementary school of the Seven Summits. I walked past the mural every day and it just inspired me to think about the Seven Summits and think about climbing them.
Were you surprised that your dad was on board with your plan?
No, my dad is really cool. He always does his best to support my ideas, no matter how big or crazy they seem at the time. He's always supported what I wanted to do. It's not always easy, but he does his best to make it happen.
What have you learned about your dad through this experience? Have you grown closer?
I learned that he is a pretty smart guy. He knows a lot about climbing and mountains and high altitude. I have also learned that he is human, too. He has a strong mind and he has taught me a lot about mountains and life. We are closer because of climbing. Sharing a summit after weeks and months and years of hard work is something that we will share for the rest of our lives. Time together without TV or cell phones is pretty rare these days.
What's been the most exciting thing about this adventure?
The most exciting thing has been meeting other climbers from all over the World. I met the Sherpa who has the speed record for Mt. Everest. I got to sit down and chat with the Chinese team and they really encouraged and inspired me.
Why was it important for you to climb all the Summits?
It's important because I set a BIG goal to climb all the summits. I want to accomplish my goal. I want to show kids that they can set a big goal and make it. Kids can do anything.
What did you do to get yourself in shape for the climbs?
I did a lot of work: running, biking, climbing mountains, ropes, the gym and everything I could do to prepare for the altitude, including sleeping in a low-oxygen tent in my room.
What does it feel like to stand at the top of these massive mountains?
Incredible! It is the finish of my goal -- for that moment. After a lot of work, standing on the top of a mountain doesn't match anything else.
How have you been affected by all the people who have been following you on your journey?
The support I have received is amazing. It is these people who help me get to the top of every mountain.
What do you think other kids can take away from what you're doing? How can they do a little bit of what you're doing in their daily lives?
Kids can set goals. Big goals. And find adults and friends who can help them reach their goals. Kids should get outside, be healthy, eat and drink healthy, and take one step toward their goal every day.
What other sports do you like to do?
Freestyle skiing most of all. Then mountain biking, running, climbing, skateboarding...everything outside!
What have you missed most while you've been climbing the Seven Summits?
My mom and my sister and my friends...but I have gained so much.
What's up next for you? What's your next big adventure going to be?
In December, I will climb Mt. Vinson in Antarctica. I also want to climb the highest points in the 50 US states. I want to talk to schools and kids and help them set goals and be healthy.
What are you most looking forward to when you get back home?
Sleeping in my own bed and having some Mexican food.