Tyler Armstrong wanted to be the youngest person in the world to summit Mount Everest. He trained hard, applied for a permit from the Tibetan
side and anxiously awaited approval.
“I was really bummed out because I did so much training and I felt I was really prepared,” Tyler told the Orange County Register.
The sixth-grader from Yorba Linda, California—birthplace of Richard Nixon—had a chance to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain at
12 years and 4 months old. Pending a successful ascent, this would have broken Jordan Romero’s 2010 record of 13 years and 10 months old.
But Tyler, who has already climbed three of the Seven Summits, was denied a shot at the Big E this season. His plea for an Everest climbing permit was
rejected, and with it, his record-breaking dream.
In 2010, in the wake of Jordan Romero’s ascent, the China Tibet Mountaineering Association (CTMA) set an age restriction for Everest. The new rule barred
Everest-hopefuls over the age of 60 and under the age of 18 from acquiring climbing permits on the Tibetan side of the mountain.
“However, there does seem to be a loophole,” Alan Arnette, Everest veteran and blogger, wrote after the announcement. “…CTMA said climbers not falling in this age group would be considered if they were able to
provide medical certificates showing they were fit to make the attempt…
retain his record since the Chinese authorities would not consider anyone below 16, the minimum age for climbers in Nepal [at the time].”
Nepal has since proposed new regulations that prohibit those below the age of 18 and above 75, as well as the “disabled” and inexperienced, from climbing the mountain.
“We cannot let everyone go on Everest and die. If they are not physically and mentally fit it will be like a legal suicide,” Kripasur Sherpa, minister
of tourism in Nepal, said in an interview with the Guardian.
Mohan Krishna Sapkota, acting secretary of the ministry of tourism, went on to say: “Such a rule is going to be introduced to maintain the glory of Everest.”
Despite the age restrictions on either side, and against the advice of Jon Krakauer and Jimmy Chin, Tyler applied for a permit. He was planning on climbing the mountain with his
dad, two of his trainers, an experienced climber and Sherpas.
On Huff Post Live, Krakauer told Tyler: “I would say, you need to really look at what you’re doing and why. Climbing Mount Everest was the biggest mistake
I’ve ever made in my life.
“I’m not saying don’t do it. I think, at your age, I would encourage you to climb Denali first. You’ve climbed Aconcagua. Denali will give you a better
taste of what Everest is like.”
Jon Krakauer’s and Jimmy Chin’s Advice to Tyler Armstrong:
Along with Aconcagua (22,838 feet) in Argentina, Tyler has climbed Mount Elbrus (18,510 feet) in Russia and Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet)
in Tanzania—three peaks off the Seven Summits list. Tyler was the second youngest person to climb Kilimanjaro, which he summited on July 1, 2012
at 8 years old. He climbed Aconcagua at 9 and Elbrus at 11.
His dream, besides being the youngest person to summit Everest, is to climb the Seven Summits—the highest peak on every continent. Tyler’s goal with
this quest is to raise money and awareness for boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. According to his website, topwithtyler.com, so far he has raised $29,564.
Now that Everest isn’t an option this season, Tyler plans on attempting peak number four with Mount Kosciuszko (7,310 feet) in Australia. Kosciuszko is
on Dick Bass’ list of the Seven Summits, as opposed to Reinhold Messner’s version of swapping Kosciuszko for Puncak Jaya (16,024 feet), also called
Carstensz Pyramid, in Indonesia. Carstensz Pyramid is technically the highest mountain on the Australian continent though not on the Australian mainland.
In addition to his trip to Australia, “…we’re also going to do some other mountains like we were thinking about doing the Three Sisters, which is
Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount Hood,” Tyler told CBS Los Angeles.
“We’re also thinking about doing some other mountains like in Peru so other mountains to help the Chinese think like, ‘This kid is ready. We should let
him on the mountain.’”