Image: Jordan Romero
Binod Joshi  /  AP file
Jordan Romero, 13, shown in an April 10 interview, has become the youngest climber to reach the top of Mount Everest. A spokesman for Romero says the boy's team called by satellite phone from the summit of the world's highest peak Saturday.
updated 5/22/2010 5:33:16 AM ET 2010-05-22T09:33:16

A 13-year-old American boy became the youngest climber to reach the top of Mount Everest on Saturday, breaking the former record as part of his quest to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents.

A spokesman for Jordan Romero said the boy's team called him by satellite phone from the summit of the world's highest mountain, 29,035 feet above sea level.

"Their dreams have now come true. Everyone sounded unbelievably happy," a new statement on Jordan's blog said Saturday morning.

Also Saturday, 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.

Romero — who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was 10 years old — said he was inspired by a painting in his school hallway of the seven continents' highest summits.

"Every step I take is finally toward the biggest goal of my life, to stand on top of the world," Jordan said on his blog earlier.

The former record for the youngest climber to scale Everest had been held by Temba Tsheri of Nepal. He reached the peak at age 16.

'Just emotional'
"I'm just very proud of him," Jordan's mother told The Associated Press by telephone just before he reached the peak, as she watched his progress on a live GPS tracker online.

When asked what she would say to him once he reached the summit, she started crying. "I can't really say that. It's just emotional."

Jordan, from Big Bear, California, was climbing Everest with his father, his father's girlfriend and three Sherpa guides. He left for the peak from the base camp on the Chinese side. Everest was Romero's first challenge above 8,000 meters.

Unlike neighboring Nepal, the other approach to Everest, China, has no age limit for climbers. Jordan registered with Chinese officials in April, said Zhang Mingxing, secretary general of China Tibet Mountaineering Association.

No interview with Jordan would be possible until he returns to advance base camp, which could take a couple of days, said Rob Bailey, the U.S.-based spokesman for Romero's climbing team. Climbers stay overnight at three or four camps before the summit, depending on their route and pace.

The team planned to do something special for Jordan at the mountaintop but was keeping it a surprise even from him, Bailey said.

Jordan was carrying a number of good luck charms, including a pair of kangaroo testicles given to him by a friend who has cancer.

"That's the one the probably meant the most. I know it might sound odd," Bailey said.

20th ascent
In a separate achievement, Apa Sherpa, 50, who lives in the United States, reached the summit 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."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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