13-Year-Old Tackles Everest: 'Feeling Good About It'

Jordan Romero speaks to "Good Morning America" from Everest's slopes.

ByLEE FERRAN via via logo
September 22, 2008, 5:49 PM

April 21, 2010 — -- If everything goes as planned, 13-year-old Jordan Romero could be the youngest climber to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest, one of the most daunting physical and mental challenges on the planet.

"I do feel a bit overwhelmed, I mean, I do respect the boundaries ... of the mountain," Jordan told "Good Morning America," speaking from Everest's Intermediate Base Camp. "But we take all the precautions. We're going as safe as we can ... and we feel really good about it."

But for the young Californian, this kind of thing is almost old hat. He's been trekking up the world's tallest peaks since he was 9 years old. His goal was to conquer the highest mountains -- one on each continent -- before he turned 16.

Out of the famed Seven Summits, Justin has already conquered six. Everest is, well, Everest.

"It's surreal sometimes to think we are walking in the footsteps of the legends that first attempted to climb this," a member of Jordan's team wrote on the Team Jordan blog Tuesday.

Jordan spoke to "GMA" from the base camp that's 18,700 feet above sea level. He's been much higher before, including trips to the tip of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina and Alaska's Denali, which both rise more than 20,000 feet above sea level.

The peaks are a challenge for even the most experienced climbers, and hikers have been killed or seriously injured on the perilous treks. That danger prompted many to criticize Jordan's parents for allowing and even encouraging him to take the risk.

Jordan's father, Paul Romero, who climbs alongside him, told "GMA" that he is providing Jordan with unparalleled experiences, and that his son's age is not a factor.

"I think it's responsible parenting," Paul Romero said. "Taking my son around the world, trying to give him the best education and life experiences that I possibly can. ... So much has been placed on this 13, this number. It doesn't mean much to us. The experience, the background he has may be more than half the people climbing this mountain right now."

Romero said the team also knows when to call it quits.

"We know when to step back and we know when to turn around," he said. "You can slice it and dice it so many ways, but this young man and his team are super ready to have a good adventure."

Jordan doesn't plan on turning back anytime soon, but if he has too, he won't be going home empty-handed, he said.

"I have seen Mount Everest so far and that is something that will stay with me," Jordan said. "I've seen Mount Everest from base campm, and I'm already satisfied with that."

An Unusual Goal

His father told ABC News in 2009 that his son's goal seemed to come out of nowhere.

"One day I picked up Jordan from school, he hopped in the car and we weren't 100 yards down the street before he looked at me and he said 'Dad, I want to climb the seven summits,'" Romero said.

Jordan said that his dad's jaw dropped, but that he believed Jordan could do it.

"He did believe I could do it," he said.

Romero said the decision to let his son embark on his dream was a tough one, but well worth it.

"There's this intangible rewards that come from what we do, from climbing mountains and from being out there," Romero said. "We are sharing moments that are so out of this world and that I know that few parents will ever share with their kid, and some people might say, 'well, why not wait till he's 16 or 18?' Well, I could. Jordan wants to go now."

Romero is also an adventurer, a paramedic who loves to run and kayak -- and climb mountains. When his son went up Mount McKinley, Romero was there with him, as his guide and his dad.

"We've always taught him to just think big and we'll try to make it happen. And when he had the idea of climbing the seven summits, I wasn't like 'OK, let's buy tickets for every corner of the world. We're going tomorrow!'" Romero said. "I knew he needed to begin to even understand what mountaineering was -- that there's this long, hard, dirty, un-fun hours and days and weeks of carrying packs and long, extensive, brutal travel, and all this type of stuff just before you can even think of climbing a mountain."

Jordan's mother lives nearby and while she thoroughly supports his goal, she herself does not mountain climb.

ABC News' Roxanna Sherwood and Sarah Netter contributed to this report.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events