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Boy, 13, Youngest to Climb Mount Everest: Can Anybody Do it?

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

Big news this weekend as a 13-year-old California kid became the youngest person to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest. Jordan Romero's climb got us at Opposing Views thinking -- if a barely teenaged boy can climb Everest, is it even a big deal anymore? And should children be climbing a mountain that soars more than 27,000 feet?

When Edmund Hillary became the first man to reach the summit in 1953 (with the help of his unheralded Sherpa, of course), he instantly became a legend. In the years that followed, climbing Everest was the goal for adventurers. But that appears to be changing.

Now everybody seems to be climbing Mount Everest -- even children. It's getting so common, Sherpas are acting as garbage men, collecting all of the trash the multitude of hikers are leaving behind. Hillary never had high-tech breathing systems, GPS, escalators to the top or a Starbucks at the summit. (Alright, that hasn't happened just yet.)

Jordan said he was inspired to climb Everest by a painting at school. “Every step I take is finally toward the biggest goal of my life, to stand on top of the world,” he wrote on his blog.

A kid wanting to do stupid things is not unusual. But 99 times out of 100, there is a parent who says, "You can't do that. It's stupid." This was that one exception -- Jordan's father encouraged and trained the boy. It seems the father and his girlfriend are both, according to The New York Times, "adventure racers," whatever that is.

The couple joined Jordan on his climb along with, of course, three Sherpa guides (we wonder how much the Sherpas get paid. Whatever it is, it's too little). There are many people out there who say it is inappropriate for a child to take on such an arduous task, even if the father trained him and was there for it.

There's a reason 13-year-old boys are not professional athletes -- they are simply not ready for it. Jordan was able to make the climb, but what if he couldn't? What if something tragic happened? All eyes would be on the father who allowed it. 

Despite it's lack of uniqueness, climbing Everest is still not a walk in the park, But it certainly seems like it is becoming that walk in the park, what with all the people and the picnics and the trash and, worse, the children.