Youngest person to summit Everest leaves a new legacy in Nepal

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Jordan Romero was only 13 when he became the youngest climber to stand atop Mount Everest. Here he contemplates his latest mission, for safe water, atop Mount Carstenz. Photo: Paul Romero

At the five-year anniversary of his historic feat as the youngest climber to summit Mount Everest, Jordan Romero is ready to leave a different kind of legacy in Nepal: safe water.

“Summitting Everest taught me that anything a human can set their mind to and be dedicated towards is absolutely possible. The incredible view I saw from the top of that mountain reminded me that this is a pretty small world and that we must learn to appreciate all that this planet has to offer us in terms of resources to sustain the human race,” Romero tells GrindTV.

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Villagers view some of the earthquake-related destruction in remote Thulo Dhading, Nepal. Photo: Sean Sheridan/Water Missions International

Two massive recent earthquakes near Everest killed more than 8,000 people, injured 17,000 and cut off remote Nepalese villages from vital resources. Some 4.2 million people in the area are believed to still be suffering from inadequate food and water supplies.

“Clean, safe water is a basic human right,” Romero says of his current fundraising efforts with Water Missions, an international organization working to install sustainable water-treatment solutions around the world. Each system can clean up to 40,000 liters per day. “This is an act to give back to the country with some of the most friendly, peaceful and hospitable people I’ve ever met in all my travels.”

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Jordan Romero and his friend and Everest partner, Ang Pasang Sherpa. Photo: Paul Romero

But for Romero, it’s even more personal. His own 2010 Everest guide lost his home in the most recent earthquake. “Ang Pasang Sherpa was an admirable human being — not only a very strong climber, but a humble, generous person who shared the beautiful Himalayas in order to provide for his family,” Romero says.

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Romero says safe water is a basic human right. Here a Nepalese man tests a new water-filtration system from Water Missions. Photo: Sean Sheridan/Water Missions International

Romero continues to raise Water Mission funds on a dedicated website. Apparently he’s as convincing as he was driven when he topped the world’s tallest peak at a spry 13. At a recent event, actor Bill Murray handed Romero a wad of cash to help fund his latest civic undertaking.

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Bill Murray donates to Romero’s latest cause in cold, hard cash. Photo: Courtesy of Water Missions International

“Coming from a family who crowdsourced most expenses to make trips happen is very humbling and allows you to see where the hard work takes you eventually,” says Romero, who is a full-time student working two jobs while also pursuing the sport of freeskiing from his new home base in Salt Lake City.

“Crowdsourcing for climbing adventures around the world is a huge challenge and something I don’t necessarily have time for right now. I’d rather see the money raised to benefit others with no opportunity for a meaningful life around the world. That is what I’ll gladly make time for.”

Follow Romero’s latest mission at

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