TE 22: Jordan Romero-Youngest person to Summit Mt. Everest

Today’s guest, Jordan Romero, became the youngest human in the world to summit Mt. Everest before the age of 13 years, 10 months and 10 days. But, his life remains before him. He hasn’t lived his life, he has a life to live. In this episode, you’ll be challenged to consider what it is you want your life to be about. What is it you want to stand for. What legacy will you leave in this world? Additionally, you’ll be given an opportunity to contribute to a fund-raising campaign to impact the lives of children and the generations to follow, by helping build a school in an impoverished country.


Before the interview, host Jordan Agolli announces a fundraising campaign to build a school in an impoverished country with Pencils of Promise. The organization has built 240 schools in 2 years, serving nearly three thousand students with 16 million education hours with teachers trained by the organization. To find out more about Pencils of Promise, check out founder Andy Braun’s book, The Promise of a Pencil.

Jordan is leading the way to raise $5,000 between September 1 and October 1, 2014 to build one school. You can make a contribution to the campaign and help build the school this month. Jordan suggests a gift of $25 (which would only need 200 contributions to accomplish), but you may give whatever you can to the fund. (https://www.teenpodcast.com/promise)


Jordan Romero is the youngest human to summit Mount Everest, and the other 7 Summits – the tallest mountains on the seven continents. (The list actually includes nine mountain peaks, not seven)

Host Jordan Agolli says he struggled in deciding whether or not to include the teen, but after a mentor encouraged him, he says “I don’t think the entrepreneurial spirit stops at business… it’s about doing,” Jordan decided to interview the mountain climber. “Life,” Agolli says, “is deeper than just business,” as he begins introducing this week’s guest, Jordan Romero.

Jordan Romero decided he wanted to climb the Seven Summits when he was nine years old. He had seen a mural on the walls at his school on the way to his class, and told his father that he wanted to climb them.

Prior to that day, he had no passion for climbing, but he loved the outdoors. With his family’s support, Romero researched the mountains, began hiking and preparing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, a 19,341 feet tall peak. A goal he accomplished at the age of 10. The climb took three days to climb. He says he had no idea he would climb the Seven Summits, but remembers thinking, at the top of the mountain, “1 down, 6 to go.”


Kilimanjaro – 19,341 ft – 2007, age 10 (Africa)
Kosciusczo – 7,310 ft – 2007, age 10 (Australia)
Elbrus – 18,510 ft – August 1007, day before 11th birthday (Europe)
Aconcagua – 22,838 ft – December 2007 – age 11, World Record for Youngest to Summit the mountain (South America)
Mt. McKinley (Denali) – 20,322 ft – 2008, age 11
Mt. Carstansz Pyramid (Indonesia/Australia) – 16,024 ft – 2009 – age 12
Mt. Everest – 29,029 ft – 2010 – age 13
Vinson Massif – 16,050 ft – 2011 – age 15


Romero says the real challenge was to take his time instead of charging up the mountain. “You have to take your time to acclimate to the atmosphere,” Romero says. The base camp is at 18,000 feet, with the summit more than 10,000 feet higher.

The team climbed up to Base Camp 2, then back down to the Base Camp to wait on the weather to improve. The climb took 49 days up, and only three days down.

While climbing, he completed independent studies while keeping in touch with his teacher. He also received credit for his travels, learning about histories and the cultures of the various places he visited around the world.


Romero says he trained at the mountain near his home at Big Bear (in California). He also used trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, CrossFit, “anything that keeps us outdoors.”

He tells Agolli that the benefit of living in Big Bear is that he got to train at 7,000 feet elevation, which helped strengthen his legs and lungs in preparation for the summits.

By being prepared for the high elevations, he was able to be ready to deal with losing motivation to complete the Everest climb the higher he got.

Jordan Agolli asks Romero about his trip up Everest. Romero talks about the injuries and death following an ice wall collapse. He also mentions seeing four other bodies on the way up. Describing the “death zone” (26,000 feet and higher), he says you have to get in and out of that zone as quickly as possible.


Romero says he was able to face his fears along the way, knowing he had a great team around him, looking out for each other. And, he says, the team had a team of three sherpas who had climbed to the top of Everest a total of 10 times.

Saying he didn’t worry a bit, he also admits that he had to stay on top of things. He also admits, “who isn’t scared of dying? But, I would rather die doing this than dying of a sickness or crossing the road.”

Concerning living with fear, he concludes, “I have lived life to the fullest, been all around the world… done great things for others… and I’m grateful for the family I’ve ended up with.”


Host Jordan Agolli comments on the humble presence Romero exudes. “It’s cool to hear you speak of this. Humility comes from working toward getting ready for the climb,” replies Romero.

Romero says dealing with the media also added to the humility. “Let me set the record straight,” he says, “I am not a rich California kid doing all of this.” He also stresses that it was his idea, not his dad’s, as some have accused.

He says the media tour following the summit of Everest caused him to not be able to “stand American media.” He couldn’t understand, how, “after coming from a country where people have so little, are so happy, live so modest… it was weird coming back to the states from a very poor country.”

The impact of that trip around the world has caused Romero to think about others often. He has been traveling to Malawi for the past few summers building schools, which is something he wants to continue doing, he says.

He is currently in university in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he is majoring in Environmental Studies.


Saying he has many ideas of things he’d like to accomplish in the future, he admits he hasn’t decided what to pursue. But, he says, two things he has thought about includes going to developing countries to educate them about sustainable and renewable energy resources.

He also says he’d like to bring ideas back to the US from those developing countries to help Americans understand about human impact on the environment.

Romero says he is enjoying being in college with “like-minded individuals,” which prompts show host, Jordan Agolli to comment about their shared passion to impact the world.


When asked to give some advice for teens looking to change the world, Romero gives three words, “Prove them wrong!”

He tells teens that “it’s your life, do what you want with it.” He also tells how critics don’t control your life, “use their criticism to push yourself further,” he says, reminding the listener that “critics can’t stop you.”

“Prove them wrong,” he reiterates, “and give it your all.”


Jordan Agolli then asks Jordan Romero what he wants his legacy to be. He concludes, “I just want to see the world, by the time I die, to be different from what’s going on right now.”

Agolli pressed further asking him what one thing he’d like to change. Romero replies, “I want everyone to get a higher education,” pointing to some data, he explains his desire, “A higher educated population equals a better functioning country, and a better functioning world.”


During the concluding moments of the show, Teenage Entrepreneur Podcast host, Jordan Agolli asks, “What is something y ou want to change?”

He then explains that he currently wants to help change the mindset of others’ limiting and negative mindsets. “How you think will affect how you act, the way you carry yourself, and what you accomplish.”

“It always seems impossible until it’s done,” he says, “so do it, and then it doesn’t seem impossible any more.”

He then asks you what is it you want to change in the world. Email Jordan ([email protected]) and tell him what it is you desire for your legacy to be in the world.


Seven Summits
Pencils of Promise
The Promise of a Pencil

Don’t forget to contribute to the Teenage Entrepreneur Campaign to Build a School! (https://www.teenpodcast.com/promise)