Last week, Jordan Romero, a 15-year-old from California, became the youngest person to stand on the highest point on all seven continents - the famed Seven Summits. At age 13 he climbed Everest, becoming the youngest person to climb the world’s tallest mountain.
While his feats as a youngster are astounding, in my opinion, the biggest inspiration in his quest is the name he gave to his expedition: “Find Your Everest”.
The feat of the Seven Summits has many flavors. There’s the soft-man’s Seven Summits which includes Australia’s easy Kosciuszco, and the hard-man’s version, which Romero completed and instead climbs the technical Carstensz Pyramid in New Guinea.
A Canadian, Pat Morrow, is generally credited with the first ascent of the big seven, having completed the hard man’s version in 1986. American Dick Bass was the one who dreamed up the quest, and finished the soft man’s version of the seven in 1985. There are claims to fame for being the first to ski the seven summits, the first blind ascents, the first couple to climb them all, and the fastest (7 months). The total estimated cost of a guided seven summits is $130,000. For the future, a wind- and human-powered Seven Summits would be among the greatest adventures in human history.
Of all the many feats of the Seven Summits, Romero’s expedition is the first to suggest that the important thing here is not to climb the highest peaks, but rather to find your own version - any healthy pursuit that will inspire you to do more than you ever thought possible will do.
My hope is that Jordan Romero will continue with his “Find Your Everest” theme and use his fame and his youth to inspire other kids to challenge themselves outdoors in whatever healthy way they can. Everest isn’t for everyone, but the outdoors is - or should be.
After all the legends and tragedies that have unfolded on the world’s highest peaks, it is ironic that a 15-year-old would finally distill the experience down to a bit of simple wisdom that anyone can benefit from: Find Your Everest.
It appears to me that in these three simple words, Romero has answered the age-old question of why people climb mountains and seek challenges. It takes the many concepts thats Everest summit alumni have been explaining, on the tour circuit and on many thousands of written pages, and distills them all into a three word sentence: Find Your Everest.
It doesn’t really matter what mountain it is - or even if it has anything to do with mountains for that matter - it’s about facing challenges, striving for improbable goals, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and all the myriad reasons people choose to explore outdoor sports and adventure travel.