Thursday, June 10, 2010

Youngest On Everest Update: China Sets Age Limit On Everest


There has been a lot of discussion over the past few days about Pemba Dorje Sherpa's plan to find a younger climber to break Jordan Romero's record for the youngest person to summit Everest. He hopes to fins an 11 or 12 year old Nepali child to guide to the top of the mountain, but hasn't ruled out taking his own 10-year old son on the expedition. He's even already received an age exemption from the Nepali Government, allowing him to proceed with his plan. The country currently requires that all climbers be 16-years of age, or older, to climb the mountain, which is why Jordan Romero went to the North Side to climb. At the time, China had no such age limit.

That is about to change however, as a number of sources, including Alan Arnette, are now reporting that China will indeed institute an age requirement in the wake of Jordan's climb, which received a lot of press, both good and bad.

The China-Tibet Mountaineering Association now says that beginning this fall, all climbers must be at least 18-years of age to attempt the climb from the North Side. But not content with just setting a minimum age, the Chinese have also elected to set a maximum one as well. Climbers can now be no older than 60 if they want to climb from the North. They did say that climbers outside of the 18-60 age group could be considered as long as they could provide documentation of their good health, although they also said that no one under 16 would ever be considered. Period.

The North Side of Everest has always been a bit more wild and unregulated than the South Side. Nepal has been more at the forefront of these kinds of issues, so it is good to see China stepping up to institute these kinds of requirements. Hopefully this will dissuade any more attempts on the "Youngest" records.

Now, if only we can convince Nepal to stick to that 16-year age limit too.

15 comments:

Clyde said...

I'm actually in favor of a young Sherpa setting the record before the books are closed. Doesn't seem right that a rich kid gets to keep it purely for arbitrary reasons. And an 11 year old Sherpa is less at risk than a 13 year old lowlander.

Adventure Junkie said...

I definitely agree that the Sherpa kid will be safer and better prepared. If we're going to have one more go at the record, then a Sherpa boy or girl should be the one.

After that, enforce the rules tightly.

Globetrooper Todd said...

Intuitively, I agree with Clyde. The same argument could apply to Hillary/Norgay (should Hillary have let Norgay summit first out of respect for the locals?). But then, "rich Westerners" also enable these climbs and arguably help the surrounding communities. It's a tough one. We also argue that younger people don't have the maturity to make sensible decisions. But adults act much less morally and ethically than children on a daily basis. The world is full of arbitrary restrictions. Yeah, I don't think there's a right answer. Amazing stuff by Jordan nonetheless. Though I think Jessica Watson's feat for her age was just as, if not more, amazing.

Wade Nichols said...

And an 11 year old Sherpa is less at risk than a 13 year old lowlander.

Not necessarily, but "other things being equal", I'd probably agree with you.

Not all Kenyans from the Great Rift Valley can run sub-2:30 marathons, but the average GRV Kenyan can beat the average American in a marathon.

But then, "rich Westerners" also enable these climbs and arguably help the surrounding communities.

You're on to something here - It would probably be near impossible for the Sherpas to summit Everest without Western technology (ropes, carabiners, Gore Tex jackets, etc.), and near impossible for Westerners to summit Everest without Sherpa bodies!

I don't think the Sherpas would really bother with climbing Everest, were it not for the $$$ involved. I heard a second hand story about one of the prominent Sherpa climbers who said that he'd rather not climb and take the risks, but only guides because it's good money, and he doesn't have many other well paying options.

The world is full of arbitrary restrictions.

Maybe the rule should be that you can only attempt Everest if you pay for it with money that you've earned yourself - no trust funds or sponsors allowed! That would eliminate the "kids"!

Wade Nichols said...

I just saw this article when reading a story about Abby Sunderland. A 5 year old girl who's summited Mt. Whitney, and been on Elbrus:

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=5488600&page=1

I guess this makes Jordan Romero a "senior citizen" of climbing!

When does the madness end!

Tom UK said...

I agree with what is said above; i believe the Sherpa will be more likely to be able to climb, merely due to the altitude but they will also need the technical ability.

To Wade; the average person from most countries could beat the average American haha! But yes; in general Kenyans have a high base level of fitness from the way they are brought up and the obstacles they have to over come with walking and running huge distances!

JM said...
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JM said...

Just to set the record straight. Jordan is anything but "Rich Kid". His parents are working people. They worked incredibly hard to secure donations and sponsorships, without which they could never have completed their goal. This is a complicated issue. Jordan accomplished his goals by dedicated training and personal determination. His family supported him, but it was always his decision, not theirs. That may not be true for other kids whose parents push them into extreme performance without the same attention to preparation and safety. It would be a shame to limit some other young person's goal to achieve greatness, as long as it is just that; their goal, not their parents. AND, they take all of the precautions necessary to protect themselves and their team.

Adventure Junkie said...

I do have to agree with JM on a number of points when it comes to Jordan. While I don't think kids his age should be on Everest, his family is far from "rich" and he's not some kind of trust fund baby.

Wade Nichols said...

“You go spend all this money to do something that basically only improves the world by improving your outlook on it, and if you don’t take it and do something with it, it’s narcissistic.” – Chongo on climbing

'Nuff said.....

Tom UK said...

Chongo's comment mentioned by Wade (not sure who Chongo is??) could be about a whole load of things that people do though; from holidays to eating!

Anonymous said...

I think it's a good idea to set an age limit. Not sure he is a lowlander, though... he lives in Big Bear, a mountain area with an elevation of about 7,000 feet.

Wade Nichols said...

(not sure who Chongo is??)

In a couple months from now, we'll all say - "Who was Jordan Romero, that name sounds vaguely familiar?" "Abby Sunderland? That name rings a bell?"

If you ask any hardcore rock climbers, they'd definitely know of Chongo, and probably would say Jordan who?

Just to set the record straight. Jordan is anything but "Rich Kid". His parents are working people.....
.........
could be about a whole load of things that people do though; from holidays to eating!


Well, if you're going to play the "cynic", then 2 can play that game!

Unless you know Jordan Romero and his family personally, we're all getting our information from what the media is saying about him and his family. I'm sure that Jordan has a "Public relations spin doctor" or two, and they are constructing a certain image to the media that they want you to hear and believe.

What we all take from this is probably more of a reflection of our own personal beliefs and biases, than what the reality truly is.

TEMBA SHERPA said...
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TEMBA SHERPA said...

I just love comments that SHERPA KID is safer than others. i think thats 100% true, no doubt.