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Calif. teen, youngest to scale Everest, has another peak to conquer

BEIJING — The youngest climber to reach the peak of Mount Everest hugged his tearful companions and told them he loved them. Then 13-year-old Jordan Romero took the satellite phone and called his mom.

"He says, 'Mom, I'm calling you from the top of the world,' " a giddy Leigh Anne Drake said from California, where she had been watching her son's progress minute by minute on a GPS tracker online.

"There were lots of tears and 'I love you! I love you!' " Drake said. "I just told him to get his butt back home."

With Saturday's success on the world's highest mountain, at 29,035 feet above sea level, Jordan is just one climb from his quest to reach the highest peaks on all seven continents, the Vinson Massif in Antarctica. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was 9 years old.

Before him, the youngest climber to scale Everest had been Temba Tsheri of Nepal, who reached the peak at age 16.

Several climbers took advantage of Saturday's clear weather to reach the summit, Mountaineering Department official Tilak Pandey said. May is the most popular month for Everest climbs because of more favorable weather.

Jordan's team climbed quickly along the final ridge to arrive at the peak hours ahead of schedule.

Jordan carried a number of good luck charms, including a pair of kangaroo testicles given to him by a friend who has cancer. At the summit, Jordan left behind his lucky rabbit's foot.

Jordan continues the recent trend of young global adventurers. Earlier this month, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted. Thousands lined Sydney Harbor to cheer as she cruised past the finish line in her pink yacht.

A Dutch court late last year blocked an even younger sailor, 14-year-old Laura Dekker, from pursuing a similar round-the-world voyage, ordering her to prepare more and wait at least until this year before starting.

And in January, 17-year-old Johnny Collinson of Utah became the youngest person to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents.

Calif. teen, youngest to scale Everest, has another peak to conquer 05/22/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 22, 2010 11:47pm]

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