California teen becomes youngest to climb Everest

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A 13-year-old American boy on Saturday became the youngest climber to conquer Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain, a climbing website said.

Jordan Romero from Big Bear, California, scaled the 8,850 meter (29,035 feet) summit from the Tibetan side, on the same day a Nepali man broke his own world record for the most number of successful Everest attempts.

“The team has just called in and confirmed that they are standing on top of Mt. Everest,” Romero’s blog said.

“Their dreams have now come true. Everyone sounded unbelievably happy.”

The ascent has put Romero one step closer to reaching his goal of climbing the highest mountains on all seven continents.

“It is just a goal,” Romero had told Reuters in the Nepali capital Kathmandu in April. He had already climbed five peaks including Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, and needs to climb only Vinson Massif, the highest peak in Antarctica to hit his target.

The previous youngest person to summit Everest was 16-year-old Temba Tsheri Sherpa of Nepal.

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Romero was accompanied by a team including his father Paul, a critical care paramedic, and Sherpa guides. He told Reuters wanted to pick a small piece of rock from the top of the world as a memento and wear it in a necklace.

His next mission is to climb the highest mountains in all 50 states in the United States.

More than 4,000 climbers have reached the top of Mount Everest since it was first climbed by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepal’s Tenzing Norgay Sherpa in 1953.

Nepali mountaineer Apa Sherpa broke his own record and climbed Mount Everest for the 20th time, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, chief of the Asian Trekking Agency.

Apa, 50, who lives in the United States, reached the summit on Saturday along the Southeast Ridge route. He carried a banner all the way to the summit to raise awareness of the environmental impact of climate change on the Himalayas.

“It is a fantastic achievement by one individual,” said Elizabeth Hawley, who chronicles major climbs in the Himalayan mountain range. “Going back year after year after year and succeeding each time is really amazing.”

Editing by Matthias Williams