Thursday, June 12, 2014

No Summit out of Sight, by Romero & LeBlanc

Jordan Romero and Linda LeBlanc inspire with the tale of a family that lives out a boy's dream in No Summit out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits. Romero decides at the age of nine that he wants to see the world from the top of the highest peak in each continent...right away. Any normal set of parents would have told him that he can do whatever he wants when he's a grown-up; Jordan, however, has super-parents (in my humble opinion). His dad and step-mom have a clear understanding, as adventure racers, of what he's in for, and not only believe he can do it, they set aside many of their own adventures to help him train and pave the way for him to follow his quest. Not content just to experience the mountains, they, when possible, set up their own logistics, carry their own gear, and make their own decisions on the mountains. They race up Kilimanjaro when Jordan is ten. Not only does Jordan set a record for youngest recorded ascent, but he climbs better and faster than most of the adults. By age thirteen, he achieves similar success on Kozciosko, Elbrus, Aconcagua, Carstenz Pyramid, McKinley,  and heads for Everest.

Though there is controversy back home over his climb and the ethics of taking someone so young somewhere so dangerous, he finds only support for his efforts on the mountain. For the pre-monsoon season in 2010, they choose the North Side, as it avoids the Khumbu Icefall, and hire three climbing Sherpas to help them in their pursuit of the summit. Jordan climbs quite well, survives an avalanche while approaching the North Col, and even skips spending a night at the highest camp near the Northeast Ridge, opting to climb to the summit from a lower camp. He finishes his quest a year later on Vinson, after navigating the red tape of getting a minor into Antarctica.

The book is well-written, focusing on Jordan, but also acknowledging the contibutions of the many people who made his quest possible. I like, especially, that Jordan seems like a real person in the prose---not quite a hero, not quite Everyman. It's a pleasure to read---a positive story, with a kid who grows up to face his fears and keep on climbing!

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