The Chinese government has denied Tyler Armstrong, 13, a permit to climb Mount Everest, meaning he can’t be the youngest person to summit the world’s tallest mountain.
The government denied his request last year, shortly after it set age restrictions barring people younger than 18 and older than 75 from climbs in an effort to improve safety.
“It was a very emotional experience that I can’t climb Mount Everest and break the world record,” Armstrong said. “It’s a little disappointing that they are just looking at my age and not my skill level.”
The denial came in Feb. 16 email, but Armstrong’s dad, Kevin Armstrong, kept working the phones to see if an exception would be granted.
“They said they might reconsider again when he is 16, but that won’t give Tyler the world record,” Kevin Armstrong said. “He’s done more than what an adult would have to do, but he still got denied because of his age.”
Armstrong turned 13 in January. If he got the permit to climb this spring, he’d have squeaked in as the youngest.
He’s climbed five of the Seven Summits – the tallest mountain on each continent – and has been working to be the youngest to complete that goal as well. These are climbs that take several days, often in harsh weather.
In July he spent 18 days in cold temperatures and high winds summiting Alaska’s Denali – formerly called Mount McKinley – which is 20,310 feet tall. It is the third largest of the world’s summits; he climbed the second, Mount Aconcagua at age 9.
Kevin Armstrong and his wife, Priscilla, delivered the dream-crushing verdict to Armstrong about three weeks ago while they sat around in back yard of their Yorba Linda home.
“It was definitely emotional, ” Kevin Armstrong said. “But he is a strong boy.”
The denial also eliminated sponsorships, so the tough part will be figuring out how to finance his climb to the two remaining peaks: Mount Vinson in Antarctica and Mount Everest in Nepal (once he is granted a permit).
Kevin Armstrong said it would cost about $85,000 for him and Tyler to climb Mount Vinson and about $175,000 to climb Mount Everest.
“We do not have the funds as a family for him to do that,” Kevin Armstrong said. “The fact that he won’t be setting the world record, especially for Mount Everest, it’s not in their best interest to cough up almost $200,000 if it’s not going to bring in the publicity they need for their brand.”
While the family figures out what comes next, the globe-trotting mountain climber and his father plan to climb the Triple Crown this summer – Mount Rainier, 14,441 feet, and Mount Adams, 12,280 feet, in Washington and Mount Hood in Oregon, 11,250 feet.
“I still love climbing just as much as I did before and I’ll still pursue my passion,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong has raised about $35,000 of his $1 million goal to help find a cure for Duchenne, a fatal genetic disorder that causes muscle degeneration and weakness, leaving those affected unable to walk. After meeting a boy with the disease, Armstrong set out to raise the money by reaching the world’s highest summits.
“It’s something that he was looking forward to and I think it would have been very positive not only on his life, but in the lives of many children,” Priscilla Armstrong said, adding climbing Mount Everest would have brought awareness to Duchenne. “It’s turning down not only his dream, but the dream of many other kids.
Source: The Orange County Register