Teen Sets Mountain-Climbing Record

The highest peak on each continent was reached by record-setting Utah teenager.

ByABC News
January 28, 2010, 5:56 PM

Jan. 29, 2010— -- At age 17, Johnny Collinson has probably seen more of the world than most people will see in their lifetime. And we're not just talking flying around to international destinations. Last week, the Utah teenager climbed the 16,067-foot tall Vinso Massif, the tallest mountain in Antarctica. The climb by itself is pretty impressive but for Collinson it marked the end of a year-long journey to summit the tallest peak on every continent.

Collinson now holds the record for being the youngest person to ever accomplish the feat, known as the Seven Summits.

"I find that once you're in nature and you're being athletic, once the endorphins come out and you're super pumped on what you are doing, you can look around and see how beautiful it is and you see other things you want to do," Collinson told ABC News before hoping on a plane to an extreme skiing competition in Washington State.

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Collinson started skiing before he was three, summited Mt. Rainier at age 4 and has gone on to climb 200 large mountains setting a number of youngest-to-climb records in the process.

"I've been climbing my whole life with my parents around the U.S.," he said. "I've climbed most of the peaks in the Western United States. So I had a lot of experience with technical climbing and different glacial experiences, but I hadn't climbed anything on a global scale before."

To train for the trip, Collinson would take winter hikes up an 11,000-peak near his home, carrying five-gallon jugs of water -- you know those ones in your office water cooler that weigh about 42 pounds.