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Teen Climber Now Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits
Antarctica's highest point, Mount Vinson, as seen from space.
Credit: NASA.

While most people were relaxing on Christmas Eve, teen mountain climber Jordan Romero was busy becoming the youngest person to climb the highest mountains on each of the world's seven continents.

Romero, a 15-year-old American, climbed Antarctica's Mount Vinson on Dec. 24, reported the AFP. The climb put Romero ahead of Britain's George Atkinson, who completed all seven summits in May at the age of 16.

"We're at the roof of Antarctica," a member of Team Jordan said in a webcast from near the 16,067-foot (4,897-meter) peak of Mount Vinson, the AFP reported.

Romero is also the youngest person to climb Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain, when he reached the summit at the age of 13, on May 22, 2010. The previous record for youngest to climb Everest was held by Ming Kipa of Nepal who was 15 years old when she reached the summit in 2003.

Romero has been scaling the continental giants since 2006, when, along with his father and his father's girlfriend, he climbed Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, which stands at 19,341 feet (5,895 m).

Romero has also climbed Mount Aconcagua in Argentina (22,841 feet; 6,962 m), Mount McKinley in Alaska (20,320 feet; 6,194 m), Mount Elbrus in Russia (18,510 feet; 5,642 m), and the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia (16,023 feet; 6,194 m).

New laws may keep Romero's record intact. Romero was 13 when he scaled Everest in May 2010, but climbers now must be 16 years old to climb Everest from the Nepali side and 18 years old to climb from the Tibetan side.

Romero's hobby isn't cheap. For example, to buy a permit to hike the Nepalese side of Everest, the price is $25,000. Money collected by the Nepalese government for the permit goes toward ensuring that Mount Everest is kept pristine, as it is considered holy by the local villagers.

That price includes only the cost of admission to the mountain — guided tours and accommodations are extra.

The total price to climb Everest can easily add up to over $200,000, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, once transportation, mountaineering guides, oxygen bottles, tents and communication devices are included.

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