LOS ANGELES – An 18-year-old woman has reached the summit of Mount Everest, becoming what is believed to be the youngest person to scale the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.
“We made it to the top!” Samantha Larson, of Long Beach, gasped to her mother via satellite phone from the top of Everest on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to 7summits.com, a Web site that tracks those who have accomplished the feat, completing the climb in Nepal makes Larson the youngest person to have completed the “seven summits” challenge, breaking a 2006 record set by then-20-year-old British climber Rhys Miles Jones.
Larson, who graduated last year with a 4.43 grade-point average from Long Beach Poly High School, put off going to Stanford University for a year so she could scale some of the world’s tallest peaks with her father.
The Nepalese government said she was the youngest foreigner ever to reach the 29,035-foot summit of Everest, though some Web sites claim a 17-year-old boy from France did it in 1990. A 15-year-old girl from Nepal was the youngest ever to climb Everest.
Larson has been climbing mountains since she was a child. She reached the summit of South America’s Aconcagua when she was 13 and Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro at 14.
“She’s just amazing,” said her mother, Sarah Hanson. She said her daughter has “a kind of stamina and persistence that just seems to be part of her nature, and it has been since she was little.”
Since New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered Everest on May 29, 1953, about 2,000 climbers have scaled the mountain.