By Mira Reverente
Jordan Romero, the youngest person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, was in Thousand Oaks on Saturday to share his inspiring journey and to sign copies of his latest book No Summit Out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits.
Romero was all but 13 years old when he scaled the world’s highest peak with his dad and stepmom in 2010. Prior to Everest, the Big Bear resident had already climbed the tallest peaks in six other continents, making him also the youngest member of the elite Seven Summits Club.
“I was about nine or 10 years old when I saw this mural of the seven summits,” Romero told the standing room-only crowd at the Grant R. Brimhall Library.
When he got home from school that day, Romero told his dad about the fascinating mural that caught his attention. “He was puzzled about my goal but totally supportive,” Romero said.
Years of intense training and conditioning ensued with the family of three tackling local peaks first before going overseas and aiming higher, literally.
First on Romero’s list was Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, which he successfully ascended when he was 10 years old. “My thoughts at that time – one down, six to go,” Romero said.
When asked what the toughest peak was, Romero answered, “Contrary to popular belief, it was not Everest. It was Mt. McKinley.”
He cited Mt. McKinley’s notorious fierce winds and unpredictable weather that made climbing the 20,300-ft. high mountain in Alaska even more challenging.
The amount of logistics and planning involved was unbelievable, said Romero. He is thankful for the community support from his hometown.
“It was grassroots fundraising at the very core,” he said. “Think lemonade stand and all that; the town of Big Bear really rallied behind us.”
What’s next for the 18-year-old? “Well there’s college this fall and some non-profit work I want to do in Africa and other developing countries,” said the graduating senior. “I also want to inspire the next generation to find their own Everest.”
Thousand Oaks resident Katie M. came to the author event with her two school-age kids.
“He was really inspiring. It just goes to show ‘nothing is impossible’ if you set your heart on it and work hard,” she said. “I hope my kids and others grow up to be as passionate as Jordan in the pursuit of their goals.”