'Boy Who Conquered Everest'

Highly controversial or highly awesome? You can decide. But one thing is for sure, Jordan Romero, the 13-year-old who climbed Mount Everest this past spring, has a great tale to tell. In a new book, “The Boy Who Conquered Everest,” Jordan and author Katherine Blanc tell the story of how a young lad from California not only climbed Everest, but ticked off six of the “Seven Summits” on a globe-hopping spree — all before he was even halfway through junior high!

As the story goes, Jordan Romero was nine years old when he decided he wanted to climb the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents (the “Seven Summits”). Now, after turning 14 this summer, he’s scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Elbrus in Russia, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, Mount McKinley in Alaska, and Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia. Gear Junkie covered Jordan’s feats on Aconcagua and McKinley, which he summited in 2007 and 2008.

Jordan Romero book.jpg

Cover: “The Boy Who Conquered Everest”

He climbed Everest this past May of 2010 with his father, Paul Romero, stepmom Karen Lundgren, and Sherpa guides. The team climbed the north side of the mountain from China in a multi-month expedition. They summited in late May, and images of Jordan on top of the world’s highest peak appeared immediately in major media around the globe. He is 13 years old in the picture. He was born in. . . 1996! It was a feat that both amazed and stupefied the climbing community. Reactions ranged from “way to go kid!” to accusations of child abuse.

“The Boy Who Conquered Everest” looks beyond all that. It is a kids book with short text and lots of images, and it has a layout much like a scrapbook — highly visual, with images arranged haphazardly as in a photo album on each page. I read it to my three- and five-year-old kids one night, and they were enthralled with the images of a boy scaling heights and traveling the world.

The book reveals that for three years Jordan slept in a special altitude simulator bed in his home in Big Bear Lake, Calif. It conditioned his body to the reduced oxygen levels he faced at high altitudes. Mean time, he’d wake up, go to school, and hang out with friends like other “normal” kids.

Jordan Romero book pages.jpg

Pages from “The Boy Who Conquered Everest”

It all wraps up with Jordan standing on the summit of Mt. Everest, arm raised in victory, oxygen mask on his face. He called his mom from the top in jubilation on a satellite phone. The pictures in the book reveal that Jordan was indeed just a “boy” when he conquered the biggest mountain on the globe. To be sure, he was a fit and adventurous boy, geared up and prepared for the feat. But a boy, nonetheless. “The Boy Who Conquered Everest” ($9.95, Balboa Press) is available now at www.boywhoconqueredeverest.com.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. A version of this article appeared on VentureThere.com.

Posted by Dermatologist Los Angeles - 10/13/2010 12:20 AM

Sounds like a great read. I would love to pick it up and hear how this kid pulled off such an amazing feat.

Posted by whiskers - 10/13/2010 01:04 PM

Sure, he’s a boy, but I’ll tell you how he pulled it off – lots of money. How many people can afford a high-altitude simulator for their home?

Posted by AnonyMouse - 10/14/2010 03:40 PM

It one-ups Bear Grylls’ book, “The Kid Who Climbed Everest”, since he was 23 at the time…hardly a kid.

Posted by ThomG - 10/14/2010 03:50 PM

Let him go back and do it without supplemental oxygen, a team of Sherpas and a media frenzy and then I will be impressed.

Posted by Robert - 10/14/2010 04:13 PM

ThomG, why don’t you show your proof of doing it with all he had before you dog what he has done.

Posted by Satish - 10/14/2010 05:46 PM

Wouldn’t it be unethical for his parents to persuade him to stay in low oxygen, low pressure conditions ? For a kid of that age, it is likely that it will affect his overall growth and body functioning. Furthermore, I find it unfortunate that people has turned mountaineering into popularity contest. I am happy for the kid, but I can’t help questioning his parents. What is all that for ?

Posted by t.c. worley - 10/14/2010 06:46 PM

I think every parent likes to recognize their child’s gift and urge them to use it. I’ll bet they are not the monsters everyone likes to dream they are. Whatever way he did it, its a big feat and you can’t take that from him – bravo, little man.

Posted by Gar - 10/14/2010 06:59 PM

It would be interesting to see how loaded his family is. Reminds me of Yvon Chouinard saying, “You’re an asshole when you start out, and an you’re an asshole when you finish.” But personally I will never have the money nor the desire to climb Everest.

Posted by jpea - 10/14/2010 07:41 PM

So the kid had the resources? So what? Tell me that you didn’t have some bitchin’ dreams as a kid. He just was able to pursue it… Considering the age he started this all, you at least you know it’s not driven by vanity or anything other than pure childlike interest.

Posted by Mikel - 10/14/2010 09:40 PM

Met his dad at Interbike this summer…he is not a monster! He is a dedicated man…to his dreams & aspirations. I think the one thing he was able to share with Jordan is passion. If every father had this kind of connection with their own kids, it would erase some of the negativity & jealousy I see in the comments about his accomplishments. As I read above, he had a dream & made it a reality…Hooray for Jordan & his family! I would like to know what is next on his bucket list.

Posted by MM - 10/15/2010 08:40 AM

Kudos to realizing his dreams thru his passion for mountaineering! yes he is young and yes he is fortunate that financially he can afford this sport. in the long run he WAS prepared! He trained for the rigors of this sport and climbed summited other peaks. he did not pay for a hike up the mountain as did others that did not fare so well a few years ago. a job well done!

Posted by gordon - 10/15/2010 11:43 AM

LOL…the Romero family is SO not loaded. They are as middle class as middle class goes: Paul is a helicopter EMT and Karen is, I think, also in health care. I frowned on this whole idea a bit, because of the risk factors involved, but knowing them as I do through adventure racing, I knew Jordan to be in good hands, as Paul and Karen (well, especially Karen) have very good judgement. They work their butts off to get sponsorship, and while the whole thing is a bit stunty, you cannot deny the committment and accomplishment of this feat.

Posted by SarahC - 10/17/2010 09:25 AM

Nicely whiskers… My thoughts EXACTLY!

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