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9-year-old boy climbs Aconcagua

On Christmas Eve, Tyler Armstrong, a nine-year-old American became the youngest person in recorded history to reach the summit of Mount Aconcagua, one of the Seven Summits and the tallest peak in the Americas.

A nine-year-old actually climbed this mountain.

A nine-year-old actually climbed this mountain.

The fourth-grader from Yorba Linda, California, summited the 22,841-foot peak with his father, Kevin, and  professional guide Lhawang Dhondupa, a Tibetan sherpa. The three followed the north-eastern, or “Polish Glacier” route, a common line of ascent that doesn’t require technical climbing.

“You can really see the world’s atmosphere up there. All the clouds are under you, and it’s really cold,” Tyler said, describing the summit to The Associated Press. “It doesn’t look anything like a kid’s drawing of a mountain. It’s probably as big as a house at the summit, and then it’s a sheer drop.”

Only about 2,100 out of the 7,000 who obtain permits for Aconcagua each year reach the summit. The mountain’s oxygen-scarce heights, dangerous terrain, and bitter cold have claimed more than 100 climbers’ lives. Since no one under 14 is usually allowed to climb the mountain, the Armstrong’s family persuaded a Argentine judge that Tyler could safely accomplish the feat.

The boy has been climbing mountains since the age of seven. Last year, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the second youngest ever. In 2011, Armstrong became the youngest to summit 14,505-foot Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous United States, in one day.

“Any kid can really do this, all they have to do is try. And set their mind to the goal,” Armstrong told the Associated Press.


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