Jordan Romero’s Christmas was certainly a white one.

While many people might have spent time with their families in front of a tree with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, Romero was on top of Vinson Massif, the tallest point in Antarctica at 16,050 feet and a mere 750 miles from the South Pole.

Incredible as it may sound, it’s a feat Romero’s done before. In fact, at 15-years-old, Romero is now the youngest person to have scaled the highest peaks on each of the world’s seven continents.

Romero grew up in Big Bear Lake, Calif., just east of Los Angeles. By age nine he had scaled Kilimanjaro – the tallest mountain in Africa – and by 13 became the youngest person to reach the top of Mt. Everest, the highest point on Earth at 29,035 feet.

The other mountains on Romero’s journey were Mt. Elbrus in Russia, Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, Aconcagua in Argentina – which he scaled in 2007 – and Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, which he conquered in 2008. Along the way, the young and jubilant explorer also climbed Australia’s Mt. Kosciuszko.

Romero beat the record previously held by British climber George Atkinson, who completed the ascents at age 16 this past May.

GALO Magazine recently had the opportunity to catch up with the fervent climber with the curly, brown hair, despite his hectic schedule. Here’s what he had to say.

GALO:Why climb all these mountains? What is your motivation?

Jordan Romero: Well, I was inspired by art. A mural at my school really interested me. I walked by the mural every day and it made me think and think about the Seven Summits.

GALO: How does it feel to own several world records? What do your friends and classmates think?

JR: It’s cool when I think about it… but it doesn’t matter much; it doesn’t change who I am. My friends think it’s cool, but they don’t treat me any different than any of the other kids. We’re all just normal teenagers.

GALO: Could you describe what preparing for a climb is like? What gear do you need, how long do you train, etc.

JR: It’s a lot of work, but we do it as a team. There’s so much research and figuring out the right gear, the right routes, when to go, what to bring, how to get there, etc. And there’s always the fundraising part of things for us — that’s the hardest part. Karen [Lundgren, Romero’s stepmother] and my dad [Paul Romero] have taught me to enjoy the planning and the journey as much as the trip. It’s such a huge part of every mountain that if you don’t enjoy that part of things, then you miss a lot. I love the whole journey from beginning to end.

GALO: What was the hardest mountain you have ever climbed?

JR: All mountains are hard in their own way. But Everest was really hard. We were on the mountain for 52 days. That’s a long time to be camping, sleeping in a sleeping bag on the ground, and not taking a shower. There were some really technical parts of the climb and it seems they all come at really high elevations. The elevation is tough. It slows you down and makes everything harder.

GALO: You are the youngest person to ever climb Mt. Everest. How did it feel to be at the highest point on Earth?

JR: Pretty cool feeling to stand up there and look at the mountains below. It’s one of those times when you have to pinch yourself to make sure it’s not a dream. I worked so hard and so long to get there, and it was pretty amazing to finally be standing on top of the world.

GALO: What did you hope to achieve by climbing the tallest mountain on each of the world’s seven continents? How do you plan to use your fame in the future?

JR: When I started, I just wanted to climb. Now I want to use this platform I have built to inspire kids. I want to show kids that they can do anything they set their minds to. I want them to know the importance of family and teamwork. I want to teach kids to eat right and be healthy. This fame gives me the chance to share my message with more kids than I ever thought possible.

GALO: I imagine climbing is a huge time commitment. How do you manage school and homework when climbing?

JR: Life is [about] balance. I took homework with me to Mt. Everest. I was doing algebra at the Advanced Base Camp. I’ve done a few semesters of Independent Study to make sure that I can miss the time at school. I like to call the world my classroom.

GALO: You’ve been all over the world and seen things most people can only dream about. How are you re-adjusting to life back in California?

JR: I love traveling and seeing the world, different places, different people, different cultures, but I love coming home. I love Big Bear, I love skiing and hanging out with my friends. There is nothing hard about coming home. The best part about traveling is coming home, right?

GALO: Your family has gone with you on your climbs. How much does their support mean to you?

JR: I couldn’t have done this without my dad and step-mom Karen. They have supported me all the way. They have taught me and pushed me and been there for me always. We are a team, 100 percent.

GALO: What advice do you have for someone who wants to climb a mountain (not necessarily Everest, but any mountain)?

JR: I tell them, they can do it. There is a lot of hard work involved. It must be your passion. You have to know what you are getting into, know what’s coming up, and know what gear you need. You can’t do it alone. Find someone with expertise to help you and support you. It takes planning, strength training and research. But anyone can do it, if they really, really want to and commit to their own success.

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