Wednesday, March 24, 2010

13 Year Old Climbing Everest? More Than Just Bad Parental Judgment?

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

In the gym today, I was reading an article in Outside that reminds me of a Law & Order plot's back story.  I don't know anything about family law, but I do write about judgment, and while I'm generally loathe to second-guess reasonable ones, and have a fairly strong libertarian streak, this one seems to call out for - well, if not the Department of Social Services, then maybe some friends' intervention?  If that's possible.

Images The story is about 13 year old Jordan Romero, who with his somewhat wacko sounding father, and his father's more grounded sounding partner, has climbed five of the Seven Summits - the highest peaks on each continent - and is planning an Everest expedition this May from the Tibet side, and without professional guides.  (Some of the exchanges with the kid and his parents reminded me of that L&O episode with the totally dominating father who controls everybody in the family.)  As far as I could tell, not a single mountaineering professional thought this was a good idea - but it sounds like "hockey parents" gone mad.  (I may be influenced by the fact that I am not a climber but I am a climbing story aficionado, likely brought on by the fact that one of my former law partners, Lou Kasischke, was a participant and minor character in the tragic 1996 Everest climb that Jon Krakauer wrote about in Into Thin Air.)

I don't know diddly about family law, or how the state goes about protecting children from really dumb parents, so I don't know how much leeway is given, or whether this is even controversial from a legal standpoint.  I invite comments.  But I'm willing to take a stand and say, even if the young man returns safely, this is really stupid!  If he wants to climb Everest when he's 21, more power to him!  But there is no reason that a child needs to be doing this, and you can't persuade me that he's made the decision to do it as a knowing and consenting adult.

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Posted by: Alan Childress | Mar 24, 2010 9:30:34 PM

It's a good arguement but wouldnt the same apply for getting your child to play football or sing on stage? they may or may not want to do it, doing it could put them at risk, but at what point must a child be of consenting age to partake in any activity.

Posted by: Chester Law Firm | Mar 29, 2010 3:17:56 AM

Not surprising considering all the shady businesses which boast that they can get you to to the top of Everest for $60,000 U.S. Only one prerequisite is asked for: "SOME MOUNTAIN CLIMBING EXPERIENCE REQUIRED." How many have fallen prey to these lowlifes and died? Nevertheless, I sincerely hope he beats the odds and survives.

Posted by: Doris Koren | Apr 7, 2010 7:37:11 AM

attention seeking parents again....horrible. its competition amongst parents to get their "trophy" kids in the media. next we'll see 10 year olds sailing solo around the world and 6 graders on Everest. When these kids never come home, thats when you'll see the outrage.

Posted by: Glen Linde | May 23, 2010 6:55:52 AM

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