A 15-yar-old Californian has managed to climb seven of the tallest peaks in the world, having started his mountain climbing career at the age of ten. Jordan Romero called his mother in Big Bear, California, on Christmas Eve to tell mother Leigh Anne Drake that he had reached the summit of Antarctica's tallest peak, Mount Vinson, which overlooks the Ronne Ice Shelf. He was about 1000 miles from the SouthPole.
With help from his father, Paul Romero - an air ambulance paramedic - Jordan climbed Mount Kilamanjaro in Tanzania at the age of 10. Kilamanjaro is the tallest peak on the African continent. In 2007, he managed to climb Mt. Kosciuszko in Australia, Mt. Elbrus in Russia and Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina. The following year he reached the summits of Mt. McKinely (a.k.a. Denali) in Alaska. In 2009 he was on the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia.
Then in 2011, after graduating junior high school, the curly-haired teen called his mother to tell her he had become the youngest climber to reach the top of Mount Everest, at the age of 13.
"Team Jordan" started their climb up Mt. Vinson on December 20. By December 23, they ascended to the peak in bright sunshine and reached the top by 1pm, Antarctic time. "I'm the proudest dad in the world right now," said Paul Romero, who has assisted Jordan all along the way with help from Karen Lundgren, Jordan's stepmother.
Paul Romero has likened his passion for climbing and assisting his in reaching goals as a "bad heroin addiction." Still in his 40s, Romero has been training alongside his son. Jordan trained for five years by running with weighted backpacks, accompanied by nights sleeping in a hypoxic tent to accustom himself to the thin alpine air.
Romero has faced criticism for pushing Jordan too hard, drawing comparisons to the precocious Abby Sunderland, a 16-year-old California girl who had to be rescued while attempting to sail solo around the globe. Romero defends the regimen his son does by pointing out the unhealthy lifestyles that other children lead. If, for example, young Jordan was not showing the proper attitude during training, father Paul would require him to do 40 push-ups, even at their Mt. Everest base-camp.
The Romero family survived an avalanche on Mt. Everest that killed a fellow climber and dragged them down the mountainside towards a crevasse. "We jokingly told Jordan that he couldn't tell his mum about it until he was 18," said Ms. Lundgren. Jordan is now safe and sound at a base-camp within sight of the Mount Vinson Massif on the Antarctic continent. Jordan plans to begin a career as a motivational speaker.