13-year-old US boy aims to be youngest Everest

Katmandu, Nepal (AP)- A 13-year-old boy from the US state of California plans to try to climb Mount Everest in a quest to reach the summits of the highest peaks on all seven continents. Jordan Romero will attempt the ascent to 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) with his father and stepmother, both experienced outdoors people who have helped train the teenager for top-level mountaineering.

If he succeeds, he'll become the youngest person to conquer the world's highest mountain. Talking to reporters in the Nepalese capital on Saturday, the teenager said he "just wanted to do something big and this was something he wanted to do something for myself". Romero and his father and stepmother plan to leave Katmandu for the China border early on Sunday to journey to the base camp on the northern side of the mountain.

The young American, from Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains, was inspired to undertake his ambitious mission at age nine by a school mural of the seven summits. At age 10, he became the youngest American to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. He's steadily checked off four of the tallest peaks since then, including Alaska's Mount McKinley, which many climbers consider to be a more technical climb than Everest.

Jordan's father, Paul, and his stepmother, Karen Lundgren, are adventure racers, competing in weeklong endurance races that combine biking, climbing, paddling and climbing through wilderness areas around the world. The Americans will be making the ascent with three sherpas and their Everest expedition is expected to cost 150-thousand US dollars. Temperatures at the summit can plunge to 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 37.8 degrees Celsius) and hurricane-force winds blow much of the year .

Atmospheric pressure at the peak is about a third that of sea-level, which can lead to breathing difficulties, mental sluggishness and other serious medical problems. Climbers usually use bottled oxygen. The extreme cold, lack of oxygen, falls, exhaustion and avalanches have killed hundreds of climbers. The current record holder for the youngest to climb the peak is Temba Tsheri of Nepal who was 16 and lost five fingers during his ascent due to frostbite.

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