updated 6/4/2005 6:25:40 AM ET 2005-06-04T10:25:40

Danielle Fisher has been climbing mountains for nearly a quarter of her lifetime. Of course, at age 20 that’s only been about five years.

This week, Fisher became the youngest person to climb the highest peaks on each of the seven continents — completing the feat when she reached the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest on Wednesday.

“A lot of people start with this dream that they want to climb the seven summits, and they do maybe one or two,” said Gordon Janow, director of programs for Alpine Ascents in Seattle, which led the expeditions on Fisher’s last four climbs in the Seven Summits circuit.

At 5-foot-7, 130-pounds, some of Fisher’s fellow climbers initially considered the Washington State University student too weak to conquer a mountain.

But her steadfastness separates her from others in their 30s, 40s and 50s who do multiple climbs, Janow said. And other young climbers are more likely to get distracted with school or a new career, he said.

With the Cascades as her training ground, Fisher has developed physical abilities that enable her to complete an 8,000-foot summit in a day without problems, said Todd Burleson, president of Alpine Ascents.

'Overpowering' urge to climb
In nearly 30 years of climbing, Burleson said Fisher is likely the strongest female climber he’s climbed with outside of world-class professionals. He was with her when she reached the summit of Mount Elbrus on the Russia-Georgia border on July 30, 2003, and recalled her enthusiasm.

“Her motivation to climb is just so overpowering,” he said.

Fisher’s focus is a strength that belies the attention deficit disorder she was diagnosed with in the sixth grade.

Fisher was in Camp 2 at 21,000 feet on Everest on Friday and unavailable for an interview with The Associated Press.

“I realize that medication helps me,” Fisher wrote on her Web site. “It certainly makes it easier to focus, but I also have to make the personal effort to make my dreams possible.”

Fisher hasn’t always been so enthusiastic about climbing, especially when at age 15 her father, Jerome Fisher, took her to climb Mount Baker in northwest Washington.

“We climbed two peaks in one day. ... I hated it!” she wrote. Her father declined to be quoted for this story.

Despite a bumpy beginning, Fisher continued to climb with her father, and eventually, she was hooked.

After climbing Mount Rainier, she continued with climbs in the Tetons and South America. After scaling Mount Aconcagua in Argentina on Jan. 5, 2003, she began focusing on the Seven Summits circuit.

During the next two years, she reached the tops of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Elbrus, Mount Kosciusko in Australia, Mount McKinley in Alaska and Mount Vinson Massif in Antarctica.

'Just the start'
The previous record holder, Britton Keeshan of Connecticut, completed the Seven Summits last year at age 22. Keeshan, a grandson of the late Bob Keeshan, TV’s “Captain Kangaroo,” bested a Japanese man who was 23 years and nine days old when he accomplished the feat in 2002.

Although she’s broken Keeshan’s record, Fisher’s love of climbing is what likely will keep drawing her back to the sport.

“She’s the type of woman that’s going to go on and climb many, many more mountains,” Burleson said. “This isn’t the end of her climbing career. I think it’s just the start of it.”

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