Tyler Armstrong, a nine-year-old boy from Yorba Linda, California, a SoCal town northeast of Anaheim, has become the youngest person to summit Aconcagua, a 22,841-foot peak in Argentina that is one of the Seven Summits and the tallest mountain in the Americas.
Armstrong climbed the mountain via the northeastern, or “Polish Glacier” route, with his father Kevin and professional guide Lhawang Dhondupa, a Tibetan sherpa.
“You can really see the world’s atmosphere up there. All the clouds are under you, and it’s really cold,” Tyler told the 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.”
While the northeastern route the trio took is much less technical than other routes, Aconcagua is no cake walk. Of the 7,000 people who obtain permits to climb the mountain each year only around 30 percent actually top out. More than 100 climbers have died on the mountain.
Typically, no one under 14 is permitted to climb the mountain, but Tyler’s family was able to persuade an Argentine judge that Tyler could safely accomplish the feat. The mountaineering youngster had previously climbed Mount Whitney and Kilimanjaro.
“Most people think we as parents are pushing Tyler to do this, when it’s completely the opposite,” Tyler’s father told the AP. “I wouldn’t climb it if I didn’t have to, but my wife makes me do it to keep watch on him.”