Big Bear Lake, CA — World-class mountaineer Jordan Romero is readying for the climb of his life, as he and dad Paul and climbing partner Karen Lundgren leave Big Bear Lake on April 5 to begin their trek to the 29,029’ summit of Mt. Everest. At age 13, Romero will be the youngest person ever to reach the peak, as the current record holder is a 15-year-old Nepalese girl, followed by 17-year-old Johnny Strange of Malibu, who summited Everest last May. The trek, which will be the seventh in Romero’s quest to summit the eight highest peaks in the world (with Mt. Vinson in Antarctica to go), will take the trio to new heights, as their tallest summit to date is the 22,860’ Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina, which Romero did at age 11. “I am just so excited,” Romero tells KBHR of the Everest climb. “I’m as stoked as can be. Just all the building up to the expedition, as we get closer and closer, I just want to be there.”
Romero is currently on independent study, rather than attending his eighth grade classes at Big Bear Middle School, so he can ready for the trip. “Right now,” he says, “we’re not doing any more hard training, but more maintenance training and going to the gym at Mountain Fitness Center. I’ve been sleeping in my hypoxic tent, and I’m at the highest elevation setting. Right now we’re also packing up food and gear.”
Romero says his pack will not weigh more than 25 pounds and that the higher they get to the 29,029’ summit, the lighter his pack will be. The trio will also travel with three sherpas from Nepal and three yaks. As Lundgren explains, “It’s not actually hiking for a month-and-a-half, but moving camps and gear as we are doing the acclimating. We have a one-way ticket right now, so we can take our time and go when things are right, and make good decisions and be safe. I feel like we’re ready, I feel like Jordan’s ready. You just have to look at it in small pieces and just do it, and I know that Jordan can.”
The younger Romero concurs: “I feel like I am ready physically and mentally. I really feel strong and I am super confident that I can make it, and we’ll just see what the mountain throws at us. But it’s not like we’re going to make a choice to go straight into the weather; it’s about making good choices. We have never been to Everest before, but we’ve done rescue training and Karen and my dad have a lot of rescue training experience, plus my dad’s a paramedic.”
Romero recognizes that Mt. Everest needs to be treated with respect, he says. “Being there on the mountain,” he adds, “and seeing Everest right in front of me—for me, that’s what it’s really all about.” Still, he says he will miss the beauty of springtime in Big Bear and Fawnskin, where he also shares a home with mom LeighAnne Drake and younger sister Makaela. “I’m going to miss my friends and my family,” Romero says, “but they’re telling me, ‘Jordan, you can do this!’ and that’s what’s pushing me to the top.”
Those who would like to offer a show of support for the Everest-bound climbers will have an opportunity this evening, March 31, as BLT’s Restaurant (formerly Kujo’s) will host a taco night fundraiser from 4 to 8pm. There will also be opportunity to cheer them from home during the Everest trek via the website JordanRomero.com.
(To read more about Jordan Romero, click on the “Jordan Romero” tab at the bottom of this story; more stories are also posted in our archives, accessible from the Big Bear News tab at top left.)