Too young for danger of death
Tyler Armstrong wants to break the record. Or do his parents want him to do it? Or all three? Anyway, the family of the eleven-year-old (!) US-American has announced that Tyler will try to scale Mount Everest in spring 2016. Crazy! Then Tyler would be twelve years and four months old – thus one and a half years younger than his compatriot Jordan Romero, who climbed Everest in 2010 from the Tibetan north side and who since that time is registered in the record lists as the youngest climber ever on the highest mountain on earth.
Tears in the high camp
Even then there was – I think, absolutely necessary – a debate about whether it is justifiable that such a young man climbs Everest risking his life, perhaps even pushed by overambitious parents. A climber who also was on the Everest north side in 2010 told me that he heard Jordan weeping bitterly in the tent at 7,000 meters and his parents continuously talking to him. Later Romero repeated like a mantra that it had been his own desire to climb Everest.
In response to the global criticism of the teenager’s ascent, the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) announced in the summer of 2010 that in future Everest permits would be granted only to climbers older than 18 years. It was not played by the rules for too long: In 2014, the Indian Malavath Poorna scaled Everest from the Tibetan north side. With 13 years and eleven months, she was only one month older than Romero and became the youngest woman or rather the youngest girl who ever stood on the roof of the world.
If Tyler Armstrong should really set off for Everest next spring, he probably – if at all – will get a chance on the north side. On the south side of Everest, in Nepal, the “Mountaineering Expedition Regulation”, passed in 2002, says, that permits “shall not be provided to that person who is under the age of 16”.
Temba Tsheri: “Not enough experience”
In May 2001, Temba Tsheri Sherpa was 16 years old, when he scaled Everest, then becoming the youngest climber on the top of Chomolungma. “I guess I didn’t have enough experience. That was my first experience on an eight-thousander”, the 30-year-old Nepalese told me. “I should have climbed more mountains before to gain more experience.” When I asked him if he would let his own child climb Everest as early, Temba Tsheri replied: “Maybe not.”
The Sherpa was a teenager, when he climbed Everest. Tyler Armstrong aged twelve would still be a child. As such, the UN “Declaration of the Rights of the Child” ensures him “by reason of his physical and mental immaturity” special safeguards and care. “In terms of risk, Tyler’s climb should be forbidden because his life is on risk”, says Temba Tsheri.
Tyler’s parents do not seem to worry about the health of their son. In 2012, Armstrong, then aged eight, scaled the 5,895-meter-high Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain of Africa – with a “special permit”. Normally there is an age restriction on Kilimanjaro: Climbers must be older then ten years. Also at the 6,962-meter-high Aconcagua, the highest mountain of South America, Tyler’s parents obtained for their son an exemption from the age limit of 14 years. End of 2013, Tyler became the youngest Aconcagua summiter ever: at the age of nine. And now Mount Everest? If this development continues, probably soon a nursery will be founded in Everest Base Camp, for the very young summit aspirants. It could be located right next to the senior center for the octogenarians who want to break the record of the oldest Everest climber.
Date6. August 2015 | 16:35
TagsExpedition 2016, Jordan Romero, Malavath Poorna, Mount Everest, Temba Tsheri Sherpa, Tyler Armstrong