Highest Mountain In England | Top 10

From the Lake District’s Scafell Pike to Cross Fell in the Pennines, these are England’s highest points

highest-mountain-in-england

If we were betting people, which generally speaking we’re not, we’d wager good money that you’d be more likely to know the name of the highest mountain in the world than the name of the highest mountain in England – Scafell Pike. This is probably partly because Everest, with its summit 8,848 metres above sea level, has in recent years had a movie made about it starring Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s also, we’d imagine, got something to do with the fact that Everest has claimed the lives of hundreds of climbers over the years and is generally synonymous with legendary mountaineering feats. Scafell Pike (978m), on the other hand, is a challenging hike in the Lake District that’s never once featured in a Gyllenhaal film.

1) Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. Photo via Getty Images.

Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. Photo via Getty Images.

As we’ve already mentioned, Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain. Located in Cumbria, in the Lake District National Park, its summit is 978 metres above sea level. For comparison purposes, the highest peak in Wales is Snowdon at 1,085 metres while the highest one in Scotland, and the entire UK for that matter, is Ben Nevis at 1,345 metres.

2) Sca Fell

highest-mountain-in-england-scafell-pike

Scafell Pike and Sca Fell, the highest and second highest mountain in England. Photo via Getty Images.

Sca Fell, also known as Scafell and Scawfell, has a summit 964 metres above sea level. It is separated from its neighbour Scafell Pike by Mickledore col. Mickledore, which means “great door”, is a mountain saddle 840 metres high. Not only does the col join Scafell Pike to Sca Fell, it is also gateway between the valleys of Wasdale and Eskdale.

3) Helvellyn

highest-mountain-in-england-helvellyn

View from the summit of Helvellyn, the third highest mountain in England. Photo via Getty Images.

Helvellyn is the third highest mountain in England, and the Lake District. Situated right between the lakes of Thirlmere and Ullswater, it has an elevation of 950 metres. In January of 2018, none other than Julia Bradbury presented an ITV show in which Helvellyn was named ‘Britain’s Best Walk’.

4) Ill Crag

highest-mountain-in-the-england-broad-crag-ill-crag

Route to Broad Crag from Ill Crag. Photo via Getty Images.

Ill Crag is often trekked across by those attempting to reach the summit of Scafell Pike. Due to the rocky nature of its upper echelons, however, its summit is often bypassed in favour of an easier and more direct approach to England’s highest mountain. It forms part of the Scafell chain and has an elevation of 935 metres. Those who climb it are treated to stunning views of Eskdale, Bowfell, and Crinkle Crags.

5) Broad Crag

highest-mountain-in-england-broad-crag

Route from Broad Crag to Scafell Pike. Photo via Getty Images.

Like the Ant and Dec of the Lake District, Broad Crag and Ill Crag come as a pair and have a height difference of one metre. Its summit is 934 metres above sea level. Ill Crag’s one is 935 metres, and situated to the south east of Broad. The fell forms part of the Scafell chain.

6) Skiddaw

highest-mountain-in-england-skiddaw

The sixth highest mountain in England, Skiddaw. Photo via Getty Images.

Situated just north of lovely Lake District town of Keswick, Skiddaw is the sixth highest mountain in England. It’s probably the easiest of the high English summits to ascend as there’s a very convenient tourist track up it, one that starts in a car park north-east of Keswick. For casual walkers looking to climb a mountain for the very first time, we reckon Skiddaw’s well worth a look.

7) Great End

highest-mountain-in-england-great-end-styhead-tarn

Rain clouds over Great End and Styhead Tarn. Photo via Getty Images.

Great End has an elevation of 910 metres. As its name suggests, it is the last mountain in a chain (the Scafell chain, if you must know). From the south, it appears as just another big hill in a long collection of big hills. From the north though, its face rises up dramatically like something from Lord of the Rings. This area is popular with wild campers and rock climbers.

8) Bowfell

highest-mountain-in-england-bowfell

View from the summit of Bowfell, the eighth highest mountain in England. Photo via Getty Images.

Shaped sort of like a pyramid, with an elevation of 902 metres, Bowfell has the eighth highest summit in England. It is located in the heart of the Lake District, and sees a large numbers of walkers hit its slopes every years.

9) Great Gable

highest-mountain-in-england-great-gable

View looking out to Great Gable, the ninth highest mountain in England. Photo via Getty Images.

Its name might remind you of a second-rate magician you once saw at a children’s birthday party, but Great Gable is actually an 899 metre high mountain in the centre of the Lake District. The high pass of Windy Gap (no prizes for guessing why it’s called that) connects it to Green Gable, while the lower pass of Beck Head joins it to nearby Kirk Fell. Because of its location, and all-round prominence, the panoramic view from the top of Great Gable is one of the finest in the region.

10) Cross Fell

highest-mountain-in-england-cross-fell

Cross Fell, tenth highest peak in England. Screenshot via Google Maps.

The only peak on this list not to be found in the Lake District, Cross Fell is an 893m high peak situated in the North Pennines. The summit is a stony plateau which forms part of an almost eight mile long ridge that runs diagonally from north-west to south-east. This ridge also consists of Great Dun Fell, with an elevation of 849m, and Little Dun Fell, with an elevation of 842m. The three fells rise steeply above the Eden Valley on its south-western side, and drop off more gently on its South Tyne and Tees Valleys side. If you’re bored of the Lake District and looking to climb one of England’s highest, look no further.

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Most Dangerous Mountain In The World | Top 5

Statistically speaking, what is the deadliest mountain for climbers?

annapurna-dangerous-mountains

Pictured: Snow at Annapurna base camp. Photo via Getty Images.

It goes without saying that climbing big mountains can be dangerous, and that some mountains are considerably more dangerous to climb than others. But what is the most dangerous mountain in the world? You might be forgiven for thinking that because Everest is the highest mountain in the world, it’s also the deadliest. However, in terms of the percentage rates of people who die attempting to summit it Everest is actually comparatively safe when you put it next to some of the other mountains on this list. Which is not to say that the world’s highest mountain isn’t without its dangers, as anyone who’s read up on the gruesome subject of dead bodies on Everest will tell you.

Anyway, based on death-to-summit ratios here are the five deadliest mountains on the planet.

1) Annapurna

annapurna-most-dangerous-mountain-in-the-world

Pictured: Morning view of Annapurna from its south face base camp. Photo via Getty Images.

At 8,091 metres high, Annapurna might only be the 10th highest mountain in the world but when judged purely on fatality risk the massif’s main peak has, over the years, established itself as the planet’s most dangerous mountain.

As of 2012, Annapurna I Main (the mountain’s official title) had seen 191 summit ascents and 61 climbing fatalities. This puts Annapurna’s fatality-to-summit ratio at an astonishing 32%, meaning that for every three climbers trying to make it up and down the mountain one will die attempting it.  The south face ascent is particularly notorious, and is considered by many to be the most difficult climb in the world.

“This puts Annapurna’s fatality-to-summit ratio at an astonishing 32%”

Despite being the first of the 8,000 metre peaks to be summited, in 1950 by Frenchmen Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal, Annapurna is to this day the least-climbed of all the mountains over 8,000 metres high. Everest, which is almost 800 metres higher than Annapurna at 8,848m, has been summited over 6,000 times whereas Annapurna has been climbed less than 200 times. A perfect illustration, we think, of the sheer difficulty and danger involved with climbing it.

In October 2014, at least 43 people were killed when snowstorms and avalanches hit Annapurna and the surrounding area. This is on record as being the worst trekking disaster in Nepal’s history.

2) K2

k2-most-dangerous-mountains-in-the-world

Pictured: K2, the world’s second highest and second most dangerous mountain in the world. Photo via Getty Images.

With about one in four climbers dying in their attempts to summit it, it’s fair to say that K2 has earned its nickname the “Savage Mountain.” The second highest mountain in the world, and the mountain with the second highest death-to-summit ratio, K2 is literally right up there whichever way you look at it.

“The second highest mountain in the world, and the mountain with the second highest death-to-summit ratio”

Despite not quite hitting the same physical heights as Everest, anyone who knows anything about mountain climbing, will tell you that K2 is far more difficult to summit. Over the course of a single year, Everest, for example, might see more than 500 climbers reach the summit. Whereas K2, due to its more challenging and extremely technical nature, might go many years without anyone making a successful ascent of it. It is thought of as the “mountaineer’s mountain.”

In August of 2008, K2 saw its worst ever mountaineering accident – with 11 climbers dying, and another three suffering serious injuries. The series of deaths, that occurred over a Friday ascent and Saturday descent, were the result of a climber’s fall, subsequent attempts to rescue him, and four separate incidents involving large blocks of glacier ice breaking off.

 

3) Nanga Parbat

nanga-parbat-dangerous-mountains-to-climb

Pictured: Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world. Photo via Getty Images.

At 8,126 metres, Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain in the world. It is a notoriously difficult and dangerous mountain to climb and, thanks to its 22% fatality rate, is known in climbing circles as “Killer Mountain” and “Man Eater.”

Considered, alongside K2 (also on this list), to be one of the planet’s most technically difficult mountains; Nanga Parbat is home to the 4,600 metre high Rupal Face – the largest and most intimidating rock wall on Earth. Needless to say, deadly features of this size require huge quantities of courage, dedication, and mountaineering skill to overcome.

The Nanga Parbat Disaster of 1934, which claimed the lives of 10 climbers, was at the time it happened the worst mountaineering tragedy in history. Willy Merkl led the well financed expedition, one that was fully supported by Germany’s newly instated Nazi government.

“the worst mountaineering tragedy in history.”

Mountaineer Alfred Drexel perished early doors, with matters only getting worse for the party from that point on. When a severe storm kicked in, the climbers attempted a desperate retreat down to safety but six Sherpas and three Germans, including Merkl himself, would never make it back alive – dying from exhaustion, exposure, and altitude sickness. Last man standing, Ang Tsering spent seven days battling through the storm and was the only one who lived to tell the tale.

In Joe Simpson’s book ‘Dark Shadows Falling’, it is said that the 1934 Nanga Parbat Disaster: “for protracted agony, has no parallel in climbing annals.”

Austrian climber Hermann Buhl became the first man to summit Nanga Parbat, in July 1953. At the time of his expedition, the mountain had already claimed 31 lives. Buhl, who’d ascended by himself under the influence of pervitin (a drug based on the stimulant methamphetamine used by soldiers in World War II), lost a crampon on the way down and had to sleep upright in a bivouac while holding onto a small handhold. In the history of 8,000m first ascents, Buhl is the only person to have done one solo.

4) Kangchenjunga

kangchenjunga-most-dangerous-mountains-in-the-world

Pictured: The first light of sunrise hits Kangchenjunga. Photo via Getty Images.

Kangchenjunga’s summit is a whole 8,586 metres above sea level. It is the world’s third highest mountain. Located along the border that separates India and Nepal, the mountain is infamous for its frequent avalanches, extremely cold weather, and highly unpredictable weather patterns. As deadly as it is difficult, this is not a hill to be taken lightly.

“Their bodies have never been found.”

The Kangchenjunga fatality-to-summit ratio is about 20%; meaning that for every five climbers who make the summit one, on average, will die. Interestingly, whereas most mountains appear to be getting safer due to improvements in climbing gear recent statistics appear to suggest that this particular mountain is becoming increasingly dangerous to climb.

Back in May 2013, five climbers including Hungary’s most accomplished mountaineer Zsolt Erőss (a man who summited 10 of the 14 peaks over 8,000 metres) reached the top of Kangchenjunga but disappeared during the descent. Their bodies have never been found.

5) Dhaulagiri

dhaulagiri-most-dangerous-mountains-to-climb

Pictured: Dhaulagiri at Sunrise from Poonhill, Nepal. Photo via Getty Images.

The seventh highest mountain in the world, the top of Dhaulagiri sits 8,167 metres above sea level. It has a fatality-to-summit ratio of about 16%, making it one of the hardest and most dangerous climbs in the mountaineering world.

“In 1969, five American climbers and two Nepalese were killed in an avalanche.”

Despite Dhaulagiri’s first successful summiting occurring in 1960, nobody to this day has been able to summit it via the the south face. Some legendary names, such as Reinhold Messner, have tried and failed to make it up this way; illustrating perfectly just how difficult this approach is. For one of mountain climbing’s greatest, yet to be overcome, challenges… look no further than Dhaulagiri’s south face.

In 1969, five American climbers and two Nepalese were killed in an avalanche. Six years later, in 1975, two Japanese and three Nepalese were killed by an avalanche as they slept at Camp I. These tragic incidents are by no means the only dark days in Dhaulagiri’s history, with the mountain suffering over 70 fatalities down the years.

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Youngest Person To Climb Everest | We Speak To Jordan Romero About Summiting The World’s Highest Mountain When He Was Just 13

When Jordan Romero was nine, he saw a mural. By 15, he’d conquered all of the Seven Summits.

jordan-romero-youngest-climber-of-everest

You remember being 13. Your first ‘cool’ band t-shirt, your mum buying you industrial quantities of Clearasil on a weekly basis, your lunchtime kickabouts behind the sports hall; you remember it all. Those sleepovers that were all about being the best at Playstation, the tentative steps towards being adequate at bass guitar, your first embarrassing attempt at flirtatious interaction with the opposite sex; it’s all so vivid isn’t it? Now picture that adolescent version of yourself standing on the summit of Everest. Can’t do it, can you? The thought of your pubescent-self atop the world’s highest mountain is just too absurd.

Jordan Romero, now 21, was different. At the unbelievably young age of 13 years, 10 months and 10 days, he made it to Everest’s peak and, in doing so, dramatically rewrote the mountaineering record books. The feat of becoming the youngest person ever to climb the legendary mountain, the previous record holder had been a comparatively ancient 15, led to an explosion of media coverage; thrusting Jordan, and his climbing family, under the brightest of spotlights.

“My parents didn’t drag me up the mountain. If anything, it was the other way round.”

“Getting to the summit of Everest was such a surreal moment, man. I really couldn’t believe it. I was so mind-blown at the fact I was standing on top of it. It was just something that… I guess I had never been so present in the moment,” Jordan tells us via Skype.

Achieving something so impressive at such a young age would, you might think, have led to a unanimously positive reaction from observers. However, in perhaps the most extreme example of that famous old saying ‘you can’t please everyone’, there were critics who spoke out against Jordan and the adults in his life for taking a 13-year old up a mountain that, at the time of his ascent, had already claimed the lives of 217 climbers. Since 2010, this number has increased to 290.

jordan-romero-youngest-person-to-climb-everes

Screenshot of Jordan Romero’s appearance on an American talk show in 2010 (via CBS | YouTube).

“There was a lot of criticism going on about it. There were a lot of misguided assumptions that we were climbing for the wrong reasons, that we were this super rich family doing this. But, you know, we had to do a lot of crowdsourcing, and fundraising, and financing in order to make it happen. When we said we were from a small town in California, we were being honest. We were just people who wanted to travel, see the world, and experience life,” Jordan says, before adding, “My parents didn’t drag me up the mountain. If anything, it was the other way round.”

It’s worth stressing at this point that Jordan isn’t just the youngest person in history to climb Everest. He’s also the youngest person in history to conquer all of the Seven Summits (the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents). Alongside his dad (Paul Romero) and his dad’s then-partner Karen Lundgren, Jordan began ticking them off in July 2006, aged 10, when he made it to the top of Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain. He completed the collection five years later when, aged 15 years, 5 months, and 12 days, he made it to the top of Antarctica’s Vinson Massif.

“In terms of moody teenage strops, I won’t deny that I had some really frustrating moments in my head…”

I picture myself climbing big mountains at that age and can easily imagine myself shouting at my parents and storming off to my tent at the slightest provocation. Surely, considering Jordan’s age at the time and the stresses he was under, there must have been some classic ‘Kevin and Perry’ type rages along the way?

“In terms of moody teenage strops, I won’t deny that I had some really frustrating moments in my head, but I never wanted to burden anyone else with my emotions. I did my best to focus on the big picture and how lucky I was to travel to these incredible locations,” Jordan says, revealing a maturity level that I, even as a full-grown adult, have yet to reach.

jordan-romero-youngest-person-to-climb-everest

Picture taken in Moab. Photo: John Dalpiaz.

I was curious to know what, if it wasn’t his parents’ influence, planted the seed of inspiration in Jordan’s mind and led him to tackling the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents before he was old enough to legally buy alcohol or drive a car.

“I don’t know if there was one single moment but this whole thing started when I was nine. I came across a mural of the Seven Summits at my school, and I was just so fascinated by it. There was a chart, and each mountain was labelled with the elevation, the continent this mountain was on, and the name of it. It just totally captured my attention and I guess you could say that was when I was dove into mountaineering head first,” reflects Jordan.

You could be forgiven for thinking, without meeting him and considering all that he’s achieved, that Jordan would be a bit full of himself. I can report though that this is definitely not the case. It’s clear, virtually right from the off, that he’s humble enough to acknowledge how important the support of his family has been.

“So, I climbed with my Dad and his long-term girlfriend. They never actually ended up getting married, but we did every single one of them together and I’m so grateful for that every day. To this day, my Dad, Karen, and my biological Mum are still killing it in life. They’re huge inspirations to me,” Jordan says.

jordan-romero-youngest-person-to-climb-everest

Shot of Jordan and his Dad up on Vinson. Photo: Karen Lundgren.

“After doing the Seven Summits, we had plans to do the adventure grand slam. Trek to the South Pole and the North Pole to see if I could be the youngest person to do that but Karen and my Dad were splitting up, and yeah that was tough to take. Karen was just such an essential backbone to our expeditions and without her nothing was really able to evolve or be followed through on. She was all about the logistics, and the finances, and you know the stuff to actually make it happen. Looking back, I really should have kept that momentum going,” Jordan tells me, when I ask him about what came after.

With his Dad now living in Hawaii, where he runs his own business, and Jordan studying Environmental Studies and Economics in Utah, it can seem from the outside looking in that this young record-holder has put the big mountain climbs very much on the backburner. Now a passionate skier, and with university studies to think of, is Jordan itching to get the band back together and summit again with the man who’s been with him since the very beginning? And, if so, would his Dad be up for it?

“Absolutely. He definitely would. I really do miss climbing with him. He was super knowledgeable about stuff. You know, he was really so good at critical decision making. My Dad was a vital component of the team. Being there. Planning stuff. Strategising what to do and when to summit the mountain. Right now, my university schedule is a little more on the priority list but hell man if we had some plane tickets to go to Nepal tomorrow for an expedition, I know I’d do it in a heartbeat and I’m sure he would too,” Jordan says.

“Find your Everest in life. Find that passion that gets you out of bed every day…”

Because of Jordan’s area of academic interest, coupled with the fact he’s American, our conversation inevitably drifts towards environmental concerns and the actions of climate change-denying President Donald J. Trump.

“Climate change is something I’ve seen first hand by going all round the world. And going to Mount Kilimanjaro and going to Indonesia, where we’re climbing next to the world’s largest gold and copper mine which is just the worst polluting source. In that area, it’s just absolutely devastating a lot of the local communities and indigenous people so there’s a lot of environmental injustices that I’ve seen first hand.

“With Trump in office, I could only imagine how scary it must be from an outside perspective. Maybe you’ve heard this but it was the U.S, Syria, and Nicaragua that were the three countries that weren’t on the Paris Climate Agreement when it was announced that we were pulling out of it. Then, Syria and Nicaragua became a part of it so now we’re the only country in the world that aren’t on board with it.

“For me, Trump is just too much of liability. Honestly, I wouldn’t care if we had a Republican President right now. But the fact that we’ve got someone who’s so incompetent and with such a large ego, and who can outright call bullshit and #FakeNews to whatever he wants. That’s an example he’s setting to a lot of people and, look, if we’re going down that route then we’re all fucked,” says Jordan, offering up his own brutally honest take on the current state of politics across the pond.

mount-everest-highest-mountain-in-the-world

Jordan Romero climbed Mount Everest when he was just 13 years old. Photo via Getty Images.

Ending things on such a bleak note when Jordan’s story is such an uplifting one feels wrong somehow. Weeks later, when putting this piece together, one particularly optimistic response Jordan gives, about midway through our chat, stands out above the rest: “Find your Everest in life,” he tells me, “Find that passion that gets you out of bed every day because if you have the right tools, and the right mindset, you can do anything you want to do.”

Delivered with Jordan’s sunny Californian accent, it feels like a line straight out of a motivational quotes coffee table book; one that wouldn’t look out of place inside a generic landscape image on your mum’s Facebook feed. Said by anyone else it would feel like too much of a cliche. In the case of Jordan, however, a man who accomplished so much so young and who is insanely modest about it all to boot, I can’t help but warm to its underlying message that age is just a number and that no adventure is impossible – especially if you’ve got a big imagination and a willing family unit to back you up.

To read the rest of Mpora’s December ‘Family’ Issue head here

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The post Youngest Person To Climb Everest | We Speak To Jordan Romero About Summiting The World’s Highest Mountain When He Was Just 13 appeared first on Mpora.

Youngest Person To Climb Everest | Jordan Romero on Summiting The World’s Highest Mountain at 13

When Jordan Romero was nine, he saw a mural. By 15, he’d conquered all of the Seven Summits.

jordan-romero-youngest-climber-of-everest

You remember being 13. Your first ‘cool’ band t-shirt, your mum buying you industrial quantities of Clearasil on a weekly basis, your lunchtime kickabouts behind the sports hall; you remember it all. Those sleepovers that were all about being the best at Playstation, the tentative steps towards being adequate at bass guitar, your first embarrassing attempt at flirtatious interaction with the opposite sex; it’s all so vivid isn’t it? Now picture that adolescent version of yourself standing on the summit of Everest. Can’t do it, can you? The thought of your pubescent-self atop the world’s highest mountain is just too absurd.

Jordan Romero, now 21, was different. At the unbelievably young age of 13 years, 10 months and 10 days, he made it to Everest’s peak and, in doing so, dramatically rewrote the mountaineering record books. The feat of becoming the youngest person ever to climb the legendary mountain, the previous record holder had been a comparatively ancient 15, led to an explosion of media coverage; thrusting Jordan, and his climbing family, under the brightest of spotlights.

“My parents didn’t drag me up the mountain. If anything, it was the other way round.”

“Getting to the summit of Everest was such a surreal moment, man. I really couldn’t believe it. I was so mind-blown at the fact I was standing on top of it. It was just something that… I guess I had never been so present in the moment,” Jordan tells us via Skype.

Achieving something so impressive at such a young age would, you might think, have led to a unanimously positive reaction from observers. However, in perhaps the most extreme example of that famous old saying ‘you can’t please everyone’, there were critics who spoke out against Jordan and the adults in his life for taking a 13-year old up a mountain that, at the time of his ascent, had already claimed the lives of 217 climbers. Since 2010, this number has increased to 290.

jordan-romero-youngest-person-to-climb-everes

Screenshot of Jordan Romero’s appearance on an American talk show in 2010 (via CBS | YouTube).

“There was a lot of criticism going on about it. There were a lot of misguided assumptions that we were climbing for the wrong reasons, that we were this super rich family doing this. But, you know, we had to do a lot of crowdsourcing, and fundraising, and financing in order to make it happen. When we said we were from a small town in California, we were being honest. We were just people who wanted to travel, see the world, and experience life,” Jordan says, before adding, “My parents didn’t drag me up the mountain. If anything, it was the other way round.”

It’s worth stressing at this point that Jordan isn’t just the youngest person in history to climb Everest. He’s also the youngest person in history to conquer all of the Seven Summits (the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents). Alongside his dad (Paul Romero) and his dad’s then-partner Karen Lundgren, Jordan began ticking them off in July 2006, aged 10, when he made it to the top of Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain. He completed the collection five years later when, aged 15 years, 5 months, and 12 days, he made it to the top of Antarctica’s Vinson Massif.

“In terms of moody teenage strops, I won’t deny that I had some really frustrating moments in my head…”

I picture myself climbing big mountains at that age and can easily imagine myself shouting at my parents and storming off to my tent at the slightest provocation. Surely, considering Jordan’s age at the time and the stresses he was under, there must have been some classic ‘Kevin and Perry’ type rages along the way?

“In terms of moody teenage strops, I won’t deny that I had some really frustrating moments in my head, but I never wanted to burden anyone else with my emotions. I did my best to focus on the big picture and how lucky I was to travel to these incredible locations,” Jordan says, revealing a maturity level that I, even as a full-grown adult, have yet to reach.

jordan-romero-youngest-person-to-climb-everest

Picture taken in Moab. Photo: John Dalpiaz.

I was curious to know what, if it wasn’t his parents’ influence, planted the seed of inspiration in Jordan’s mind and led him to tackling the highest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents before he was old enough to legally buy alcohol or drive a car.

“I don’t know if there was one single moment but this whole thing started when I was nine. I came across a mural of the Seven Summits at my school, and I was just so fascinated by it. There was a chart, and each mountain was labelled with the elevation, the continent this mountain was on, and the name of it. It just totally captured my attention and I guess you could say that was when I was dove into mountaineering head first,” reflects Jordan.

You could be forgiven for thinking, without meeting him and considering all that he’s achieved, that Jordan would be a bit full of himself. I can report though that this is definitely not the case. It’s clear, virtually right from the off, that he’s humble enough to acknowledge how important the support of his family has been.

“So, I climbed with my Dad and his long-term girlfriend. They never actually ended up getting married, but we did every single one of them together and I’m so grateful for that every day. To this day, my Dad, Karen, and my biological Mum are still killing it in life. They’re huge inspirations to me,” Jordan says.

jordan-romero-youngest-person-to-climb-everest

Shot of Jordan and his Dad up on Vinson. Photo: Karen Lundgren.

“After doing the Seven Summits, we had plans to do the adventure grand slam. Trek to the South Pole and the North Pole to see if I could be the youngest person to do that but Karen and my Dad were splitting up, and yeah that was tough to take. Karen was just such an essential backbone to our expeditions and without her nothing was really able to evolve or be followed through on. She was all about the logistics, and the finances, and you know the stuff to actually make it happen. Looking back, I really should have kept that momentum going,” Jordan tells me, when I ask him about what came after.

With his Dad now living in Hawaii, where he runs his own business, and Jordan studying Environmental Studies and Economics in Utah, it can seem from the outside looking in that this young record-holder has put the big mountain climbs very much on the backburner. Now a passionate skier, and with university studies to think of, is Jordan itching to get the band back together and summit again with the man who’s been with him since the very beginning? And, if so, would his Dad be up for it?

“Absolutely. He definitely would. I really do miss climbing with him. He was super knowledgeable about stuff. You know, he was really so good at critical decision making. My Dad was a vital component of the team. Being there. Planning stuff. Strategising what to do and when to summit the mountain. Right now, my university schedule is a little more on the priority list but hell man if we had some plane tickets to go to Nepal tomorrow for an expedition, I know I’d do it in a heartbeat and I’m sure he would too,” Jordan says.

“Find your Everest in life. Find that passion that gets you out of bed every day…”

Because of Jordan’s area of academic interest, coupled with the fact he’s American, our conversation inevitably drifts towards environmental concerns and the actions of climate change-denying President Donald J. Trump.

“Climate change is something I’ve seen first hand by going all round the world. And going to Mount Kilimanjaro and going to Indonesia, where we’re climbing next to the world’s largest gold and copper mine which is just the worst polluting source. In that area, it’s just absolutely devastating a lot of the local communities and indigenous people so there’s a lot of environmental injustices that I’ve seen first hand.

“With Trump in office, I could only imagine how scary it must be from an outside perspective. Maybe you’ve heard this but it was the U.S, Syria, and Nicaragua that were the three countries that weren’t on the Paris Climate Agreement when it was announced that we were pulling out of it. Then, Syria and Nicaragua became a part of it so now we’re the only country in the world that aren’t on board with it.

“For me, Trump is just too much of liability. Honestly, I wouldn’t care if we had a Republican President right now. But the fact that we’ve got someone who’s so incompetent and with such a large ego, and who can outright call bullshit and #FakeNews to whatever he wants. That’s an example he’s setting to a lot of people and, look, if we’re going down that route then we’re all fucked,” says Jordan, offering up his own brutally honest take on the current state of politics across the pond.

mount-everest-highest-mountain-in-the-world

Jordan Romero climbed Mount Everest when he was just 13 years old. Photo via Getty Images.

Ending things on such a bleak note when Jordan’s story is such an uplifting one feels wrong somehow. Weeks later, when putting this piece together, one particularly optimistic response Jordan gives, about midway through our chat, stands out above the rest: “Find your Everest in life,” he tells me, “Find that passion that gets you out of bed every day because if you have the right tools, and the right mindset, you can do anything you want to do.”

Delivered with Jordan’s sunny Californian accent, it feels like a line straight out of a motivational quotes coffee table book; one that wouldn’t look out of place inside a generic landscape image on your mum’s Facebook feed. Said by anyone else it would feel like too much of a cliche. In the case of Jordan, however, a man who accomplished so much so young and who is insanely modest about it all to boot, I can’t help but warm to its underlying message that age is just a number and that no adventure is impossible – especially if you’ve got a big imagination and a willing family unit to back you up.

To read the rest of Mpora’s December ‘Family’ Issue head here

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The post Youngest Person To Climb Everest | Jordan Romero on Summiting The World’s Highest Mountain at 13 appeared first on Mpora.

Chris Bonington Interview | We Speak To The Legendary British Mountaineer About His Climbing Life And How The Sport Saved Him

“Whatever your problems there’s a soothing quality through the beauty of nature…”

Words by Sam Haddad | Photos courtesy of the Chris Bonington Picture Library

Losing someone you love can send you to a pretty dark place. But in the case of Sir Chris Bonington, arguably Britain’s most important mountaineer of the past century, grief can also take you somewhere a lot less expected. Namely to the Old Man of Hoy, a precarious sandstone sea stack 150 metres high in the sky above the Orkney archipelago.

83-year-old Bonington has twice suffered from a serious bereavement. First in 1966, when he lost his three-year-old son Conrad in a drowning accident, and then in 2014 when Wendy, his wife of 50 years, died from Motor Neurone Disease. Each time a climbing friend, first Tom Patey and later Leo Houlding sought to lift him from his deep anguish by suggesting they climb the iconic rock tower in northeastern Scotland.

“I sought consolation in this wild and lonely place…”

When his son died, Bonington had been climbing in Ecuador. Communication being what it was in the mid-1960s it took him days to find out the news, which made things even tougher for him and his wife Wendy back home. “I travelled non-stop to get back to England,” he tells me. “Then some weeks later Tom Patey [a leading Scottish climber at the time] one of the best climbing mates I’ve ever had, phoned me up and said, ‘We’re going to climb the sea stack the Old Man of Hoy.’ At first I thought, ‘No.’ But Wendy insisted I go for it. It did me the world of good.”

“It didn’t stop the grief I had but it made it much easier to contain it. I sought consolation in this wild and lonely place; with Leo Houlding it was a mirror of that. I’d just turned 80, and Wendy had recently died…”

Chris Bonington, aged 80, on the Old Man of Hoy

Chris Bonington, aged 80, on the Old Man of Hoy

Science tells us that with older couples when one partner dies the remaining partner can be at risk of following suit, due to what’s called the widowhood effect. Yet Bonington found the strength to go on through climbing and hiking. “It did help me there’s no doubt about it,” he says. “Most of us will experience grief in our time, and that personal loss is something you have to handle. It doesn’t in anyway change the love you had or have for that person but if you want to go on you have to be able to accept it.”

“Whatever your problems there’s a soothing quality through the beauty of nature…”

I lost someone close to me earlier this year and while I haven’t climbed anything remotely hardcore, I too sought, and continue to seek, great solace from doing sport in nature.

“Whatever your problems there’s a soothing quality through the beauty of nature,” says Bonington. “I think it’s incredibly important that the hills and the wild and wooded country are the lungs and therapy area of a urban society that lives under increasing pressure. Getting out for a walk in natural country or even a park in the middle of the city will really help.”

But then Bonington of course believes it’s important to get out in nature even when you’re not having a hard time. He’s been a lifelong brand ambassador for outdoor brand Berghaus and is presently their non-exec chairman. “I’ve always encouraged the office-based teams to take walks together in the wild country, it brings people together,” he says.

Chris Bonington climbing in Australia in 2004

Chris Bonington climbing in Australia in 2004

Sir Chris Bonington started climbing at the age of 16 in 1951, two years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first reached the summit of Everest, propelling climbing into the collective consciousness. I ask him how different things were then? “There were only a couple of tiny climbing shops in London. Blacks and a gentleman climbing outfitters in Mayfair that didn’t even have a shop window, you rang a bell. There were no national climbing magazines, and actually getting to the mountains was so much harder, there were no motorways at all and not that many people had cars, certainly not young students or working class lads. They’d either hitchhike or they had motorbikes. The hills were so much emptier.”

“Sometimes you’d climb in socks or put your socks over your shoes for grip”

The kit itself was incredibly basic, in ways that would often prove dangerous too. He says: “The first rope I had was a second-hand frayed hemp rope. You did a few slings around your neck and tied the rope around your waist, and if you did fall off, you were dangling and had about 10 minutes to live before you’d suffocate. There were no specialist climbing shoes, ordinary tennis shoes from Woolworths were the best, as they had rubber soles and you could fit them tightly. Or sometimes you’d climb in socks or put your socks over your shoes for grip.”

Chris Bonington climbing the central tower of Paine in Patagonia in 1963

Chris Bonington climbing the central tower of Paine in Patagonia in 1963

Bonington’s uncle was a photographer, whose assistant happened to be a climber. “He took me down to Harrison’s Rocks, near Tunbridge Wells. I touched the rock and immediately found it was what I loved. I loved the athletic gymnastic thrill of climbing combined of course with the stimulus of risk, but also being in the hills and mountains and the beauty of them and the friendships and people I met.”

Chris Bonington on Menlungtse in 1988

Chris Bonington on Menlungtse in 1988

Having honed his skills in the Welsh and Scottish hills, Bonington headed to the European Alps bagging several first ascents including the Bonatti Pilar of Petit Dru and the West Face of the Petit Jorasses. In 1960 he was amongst the first group to climb Annapurna 2 in the Himalayas, followed by Nuptse a year later; in 1962 he was the first Brit to climb the North Wall of the Eiger, a hugely significant ‘first’ at the time, which received lots of attention from the British public back home.

He feels very grateful to have found climbing when he did, at a time when public interest in the sport was growing, and newspaper colour supplements were starting up, which enabled him to make a moderate living from writing about his climbs.

“Suddenly working class lads around the country had that tiny bit more money and time. You had this huge anchor of frustrated talent just waiting to hit the crags.”

“My generation, those of us who came into adulthood after the war were incredibly lucky, right across the board. Before World War II if you were a working class lad most people were working a six-day week so didn’t have a full weekend. Pay rates were incredibly low and the great revolution if you like was that Labour government getting into power and the opening up of employment law so suddenly working class lads around the country had that tiny bit more money and time. You had this huge anchor of frustrated talent just waiting to hit the crags.”

Fast-forward to today and Bonington loves how popular and accessible climbing has become. He loves the broadening of the church of climbing to include hill walkers and sports climbing, and the advent of indoor bouldering walls and inclusion of climbing in the Olympics. “I love going down to the Westway in London, which I think is a fantastic climbing set up. If you go in the late afternoon when all the schools are there, seeing all the little kids go zooming up high, it’s an absolutely wonderful and thrilling sight.”

Chris on the summit of Ogre in 1977

Chris on the summit of Ogre in 1977

Does he worry that because climbing and adventure are so in fashion there will soon come a day when they’re out of fashion? “That doesn’t matter,” he answers. “Climbing has gone through phases of being fashionable and unfashionable before and often what the very best climbers are doing doesn’t get into the media at all.”

Chris Bonington and Leo Houlding on the summit of Old Man of Hoy in 2014

Chris Bonington and Leo Houlding on the summit of Old Man of Hoy in 2014

“Leo Houlding is a superb climber; his climbing integrity is huge. The Baffin Island films he’s made, Antarctica and what he’s doing now with [an attempt to climb the never-climbed south face of] Spectre. But they haven’t managed to get any of those superb films onto mainstream TV. Media people tend to want actuality TV, Bear Grylls doing his thing. He’s a very good communicator and he’s found the formula for adventure programmes people like but he’s not a climber, he’s honest about that himself.”

“Often what the very best climbers are doing doesn’t get into the media at all.”

“They race for the pole but they’re being shadowed as there’s all sorts of health and safety involved. And the media always found it difficult to get away from Mount Everest [which Bonington summited in 1985] so you’ve got 150 people climbing it on a single day, 1000 people at base camp but then also there are superb mountaineers going off and doing superb things on impressive routes but they don’t get much beyond attention beyond the mountaineering field.”

Bonington does concede that Alex Honnold and his free climb of El Capitan is the exception. “The solo climbing of Alex Honnold is incredible. He is a sure sign that climbing and the spirit of adventure is alive and well,” he says, his voice full of glee and excitement for the future of the sport which has defined, and at times saved, his life.

Ascent by Chris Bonington, published by Simon and Schuster is out now

To read the rest of October’s Dark Issue head here

Chris Bonington on the summit of Everest in 1985, with Ang Lhakpa

Chris Bonington on the summit of Everest in 1985, with Ang Lhakpa

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The post Chris Bonington Interview | We Speak To The Legendary British Mountaineer About His Climbing Life And How The Sport Saved Him appeared first on Mpora.