Book Review The Boy Who Conquered Everest: Jordan Romero and the First Family to Summit Chomolungma

by DerdriuMarriner

Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay hold titles as first known summiters of Mount Everest. Jordan Romero is the youngest. He tells his story in “The Boy Who Conquered Everest.”

Geologists acknowledge greater affinities of the mountains of Nepal and Tibet with those of New Zealand than with those of anywhere else. Mountaineers indeed attribute Sir Edmund Hillary’s and Tenzing Norgay’s record-breaking achievements to:
• The former’s extensive rock-climbing in the lands to the south of Down Under;
• The latter’s impressive slope-scaling throughout the adopted homelands of the Tibetan Sherpas.

Jordan Romero’s preparation contrastingly boasts:
• Practice sessions in his native California;
• Successive summits of six of the world’s eight highest peaks.

It therefore does not include dry runs in New Zealand. It does involve Oceania’s craggy rooftop views on:
• Continental Australia;
• Indonesia’s share of the island of New Guinea.

Everything gets detailed in “The Boy Who Conquered Everest.”

Selected in accordance with schedules and sponsorships, Mount Kilimanjaro was first on Jordan's list:

Reaching 19,341 feet (5,895.14 meters) into sky, Mount Kilimanjaro (right) dominates East African landscape in Tanzania; Mount Meru peaks to west (left center) at height of 14,977 feet (4,565 meters)
3D perspective view was generated using topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), a Landsat 7 satellite image, and a false sky.
3D perspective view was generated using topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM), a Landsat 7 satellit...

 

The sequence of Jordan’s summitings does not adhere to progressions from:

  • Closest to furthest;
  • Lowest to tallest.

It instead follows opportunities congruent with:

  • Schedules;
  • Sponsorships.  

For example, Mount Kilimanjaro garners the title of first climb from Africa’s being the 2006 vacation destination pre-selected by:

  • Jordan;
  • Jordan’s father;
  • Jordan’s stepmother.

Its 19,341-foot (5,895.14-meter) summit gets attempted annually by 25,000+ climbers, with ten-year-old Jordan world-youngest on July 22, 2006. Its access goes to permit-holders whose approval demands:

  • Native equipment, guides, hosts;
  • Pre-determined paces, routes (with Umbwe the most difficult), schedules (6 – 7 days generally, 3 for Jordan).

Its climate zones harbor:

  • Rainforest ferns, fig and rubber trees;
  • Forest heather, scrub;
  • Moorland lichen, ridges;
  • Alpine boulders, gravel;
  • Kibo’s Uhuru Peak.

 

Jordan Romero summited Mount Kilimanjaro as world's youngest on July 22, 2006:

Snow-capped Kibo summit of Mount Kilimanjaro
January 15, 1938 photo by Mary Meader (April 15, 1916 – March 16, 2008)
January 15, 1938 photo by Mary Meader (April 15, 1916 – March 16, 2008)

 

Steep-sloped Kili contrasts in Oceania:

  • Maximally with Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko;
  • Minimally with New Guinea’s Carstensz Pyramid.

Jordan claims the first-mentioned 7,310-foot (2,228.09-meter) summit -- which attracts 10,000+ climbers annually -- as his second, at age 10, on April 5, 2007. He describes the second-mentioned 16,024-foot (4,884.12-meter) summit -- which draws 500+ climbers yearly -- as his sixth, at age 13, on September 2, 2009. Kosciuszko has an altitude 300+ feet (91.44+ meters) higher than Karen’s and Paul’s Big Bear Lake residence. Its fog-favoring, rain-filled, wind-freezing weather makes mountaineers appreciate emergency shelter memorializing Evan Hayes’s and W. Laurie Seaman’s pre-summit deaths in 1928. Near Grasberg’s world-largest gold mine, jungle gym-like Carstensz requires:

  • Ascenders;
  • Carabiners;
  • Harnesses;
  • Rappelling;
  • Tyrolean traverses.  

 

Jordan Romero, 13 years old, at the summit of the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, on September 2, 2009.

handout via The Guardian
handout via The Guardian

 

Unpleasantly unpredictable weather characterizes:

  • Tadeusz Kościuszko’s (February 4, 1746 – October 15, 1817) mountain;
  • Southernmost Russia’s Mount Elbrus.

Elbrus’s dormant volcano evokes Kili at lower, snow-bombarded altitudes. Its 18,510-foot (5,641.85-meter) peak gives 500+ annual summiters views of:

  • The fertile, lush Georgian republic;
  • The resource-rich Caucasian Mountains.

It is accessed:

  • At 7,700 feet (2,346.96 meters) by trams;
  • From 11,500 feet (3,505.2 meters) by snowcats for 10 – 12 skiers and snowboarders;
  • Through Barrels Camp and Pastukhova Rocks by switchbacks for crampon-wearing, ice axe-wielders.

Overnighters in three camps lead summiters through 4+-day climbs. Ten-year-old Jordan’s record-breaking summiting on July 11, 2007, recognizes:

  • Healthy diets;
  • His, Karen’s, Paul’s pre-trip biking, hiking, running;
  • Kahtoola ultralight crampons;
  • Light-loaded, quick-moving, two-day teamwork;
  • Salomon trail-running shoes.  

 

Jordan Romero, 10 years old, summited southernmost Russia's Mount Elbrus on July 11, 2007.

northern slopes of Mount Elbrus, August 2004
northern slopes of Mount Elbrus, August 2004

 

Snow-filled storms likewise attack South America’s 22,837-foot (6,960.72-meter) Mount Aconcagua. Below-freezing temperatures, 4-foot (1.22-meter) drifts, and gale-force winds attract 5,000+ yearly climbers. Around 40% of all attempts end in:

  • Round-tripping 11,000+-foot (3,352.8+-meter) Confluencia (Convergence), 14,000-foot (4,267.2-meter) Plaza de Mulas (Mules’ Square), 16,568-foot (5,049.93-meter) Canada, 18,208-foot (5,549.79-meter), Nido de Condores (Condors’ Nest), Berlin, 20,931-foot (6,379.77-meter) Independence Refuge, 21,800-foot (6,644.64-meter) Canaleta gully;
  • Surviving 60+-mile (96.56+-kilometer) per hour, -80°F (-62.22°C), wind-chilled vientos blancos (white storms);
  • Viewing Argentina, Chile, the Pacific Ocean.

Eleven-year-old Jordan’s record-breaking summiting on December 30, 2007 gets inputs from:

  • Before-trip 15,000-foot (4,572-meter) hypoxic tent acclimatizing, mountain biking, skiing, slack-lining;
  • Judge Elsa Lidia Galera’s under-14 dispensation;
  • Karen’s, Paul’s adventure-racing;
  • Lake Louise acute mountain sickness self-reports;
  • SOLE footwear;
  • Sponsorships.

 

On June 21, 2008, Jordan, 11 years old, summited Denali:

Highest mountain peak in North America at elevation of 20,237 feet (6,168 meters), Denali (Mount McKinley) is vast enough to generate its own localized weather.
view at 27,000 feet (8,230 meters) from Alaska Airlines flight between Red Dog Mine and Anchorage, Alaska, September 10, 2003
view at 27,000 feet (8,230 meters) from Alaska Airlines flight between Red Dog Mine and Anchorage, Alaska, September 10, 2003

 

Pacific Ocean-effected snows and storms assault Alaska and Argentina. Denali’s (McKinley’s) 20,237 foot (6,168 meter) summit draws 1,200+ climbers annually, including:

  • 127 Hours film inspiration, Aron Ralston;
  • Super-guide Scott Woolums;
  • Teenaged summiter Johnny Strange.

Ascending and descending gets completed by 58% of all climbers. The title of second-youngest summiter -- by four months -- goes to eleven-year-old Jordan on June 21, 2008, for:

  • Donning ascenders, backpacks, carabiners, crampons, harnesses;
  • Dragging PVC-stabilized sleds;
  • Round-tripping base camp at 7,200 feet (2,194.56 meters), Heartbreak Hill, Kahiltna Glacier, Ski Hill at 7,800 feet (2,377.44 meters), Motorcycle Hill, Windy Corner, Advanced Base Camp at 14,200 feet (4,328.16 meters), West Buttress, High Camp at 17,200 feet (5,242.56 meters), Football Field at 19,389 feet (5,909.77 meters).

 

In summer 2009, Jordan's father Paul and stepmother Karen, while scaling Nuptse, determined route to Everest via Khumbu Icefall and Western Cwm was too dangerous for Jordan's summit, projected for 2010:

Also known as Valley of Silence, Western Cwm (pronounced: coom) lies on southeastern route to Mount Everest, accessed by treacherous, crevasse-riddled Khumbu Icefall.
Western Cwm with Lhotse Face in background: border of Tibet and Nepal's Khumbu region
Western Cwm with Lhotse Face in background: border of Tibet and Nepal's Khumbu region

 

Extreme weather allows Alaska’s, Nepal’s, and Tibet’s severe slopes narrow opportunities. June and May are Denali’s and Everest’s respective windows. Access befuddles Chomolungma’s 600+ climbers. Summiters favor faster, harder routes pioneered on May 29, 1953 by:

  • New Zealand’s mountain-climbing beekeeper;
  • Nepal’s Thame villager.

While scaling Nuptse summer 2009, Karen and Paul find Khumbu Icefall and Western Cwm super-dangerous. With thirteen-year-old Jordan -- Everest’s youngest summiter -- on May 22, 2010, they round-trip:

  • Base (17,000 feet, 5,181.6 meters), Interim (19,000 feet, 5,791.2 meters), Advanced Base (21,000 feet, 6,400.8 meters) camps;
  • Camps 1 (23,000 feet, 7,010.4 meters), 2 (24,750 feet, 7543.8 meters), 3 (27,390 feet, 8500.87 meters);
  • Three Steps (27,890+ feet, 8,577.07+ meters);
  • Chinese Ladder;
  • 500-foot (152.4-meter) summit ridge.

 

13-year old reaches to the top of Mt Everest

Uploaded to YouTube on May 24, 2010 by ABC News (Australia) ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujq4VjMiPxw

Conclusion

 

Vinson attracts:

  • Ocean-effect storms like Aconcagua, Denali;
  • Skiers, like Elbrus;
  • Super-freezing temperatures, like Aconcagua, Denali, Everest.

Like Aconcagua’s and Denali’s ranger stations, 16,050-foot (4,892.04-meter) Vinson’s Antarctic Logistics and Expedition company demands litter-free mountaineering from 300+ yearly climbers. So ten days after the centennial of Roald Amundsen’s (July 16, 1872 – June 18?, 1928) reaching the South Pole on December 14, 1911, fifteen-year-old Jordan, Karen, Paul, and Scott Woolums enjoy the world-greenest summiting on the world-whitest peak. Summiting round-trips:

  • Chile’s Punto Arenas;
  • Ellsworth Mountains;
  • Union Glacier, Base, Low (9,100 feet, 2773.68 meters), High (12,385 feet, 3,774.95 meters) camps;
  • Up difficult, fast western ridges and down easy, long eastern.

Stay tuned for similar feats from the Eight Summits’ first-summiting family.

 

Super-guide Scott Woolums guided Jordan Romero's December 2011 summit of Vinson Massif.

South Pole, December 20, 2010
South Pole, December 20, 2010

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

In 2007, Jordan Romero summited Mount Kosciusko, mainland Australia's highest peak at 7,310 feet (2,228 meters); that year he also summited Mount Elbrus in Russia and Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. ~

"Kosciusko": 1903 oil on canvas by William Charles "W.C." Piguenit (August 27, 1836 – July 17, 1914)
Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), The Domain, Sydney, New South Wales, southeastern Australia
Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), The Domain, Sydney, New South Wales, southeastern Australia

Sources Consulted

 

Blanc, Katherine; with Jordan Romero. 2010. The Boy Who Conquered Everest: The Jordan Romero Story. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.

Romero, Jordan; with Linda LeBlanc. 2014. No Summit Out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 

On May 22, 2010, Jordan Romero became youngest to summit Mount Everest, which he describes at the top as the size of a small dining table:

Mount Everest, known in Tibetan as Chomolungma, which Sir Edmund Hillary's guide, Tenzing Norgay (May 29, 1914 – May 9, 1986), translated as "the mountain so high that no bird can fly over it."
view from Tingri, small village, at 13,287 feet (4,050 meters), on Tibetan Plateau
view from Tingri, small village, at 13,287 feet (4,050 meters), on Tibetan Plateau
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

No Summit Out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits by Jordan Romero with Linda LeBlanc

Jordan Romero climbed Mount Everest at age thirteen -- and he didn’t stop there. In this inspiring young adult memoir, he tells how he achieved such great heights.
mountain climbing stories

The Boy Who Conquered Everest: The Jordan Romero Story by Katherine Blanc with Jordan Romero

Jordan Romero was a regular 9 year old boy. He loved BMX biking, listening to music, hanging out with his friends and family, and studying nature and reptiles. Then one day Jordan spotted a map of the tallest mountains on Earth's seven continents.
mountain climbing stories

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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 05/08/2015, DerdriuMarriner
 
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