Friday, 26 June 2009

17 year old Johnny Strange becomes the youngest person to climb the world's seven summits

17-year-old American Johnny Strange has become the youngest person to climb the tallest summits on each of the seven continents.

MOUNT EVEREST, NEPAL (FILE) ADVENTURES INTERNATIONAL -
For American teenager Johnny Strange, there just ain't no mountain high enough.
The 17-year-old from Malibu, California has just become the youngest person to conquer the tallest summits on each of the seven continents.

Strange says he fell in love with climbing at age 12, when he tackled Mount Vinson in Antarctica with his father. Five years later, he's conquered Kilimanjaro in Africa, Denali in North America, Elbrus in Russia, Aconcagua of South America, Everest in Nepal, and Kosciuszko in Australia.

"It was a life-changing experience. I'm so happy to have done it and be fortunate enough to have succeeded but I loved it," Strange says.

For Strange, conquering the world's seven summits was not only about challenging himself, but to raise awareness of two important causes - namely stopping Genocide and finding a cure for Parkinson's disease. At the top of Mount Everest, the teenager posted two signs 'Stop Genocide' and 'Cure Parkinson's'. The adventurer says he wanted to raise awareness of the two issues and hopefully raise some money.

"Traveling the world kind of really gave me some humility and I'd meet a lot of different people. The Genocide thing - even though it's very far away from here, it's still happening and a horrible situation with the atrocities that are going on. I just wanted to to raise some awareness about it - I'm not saying I know everything about it," Strange told Reuters.

Strange shows a maturity way beyond his 17 years, but the teenager insists he's just a normal kid who wants to inspire other people to chase their dreams.

"I'm no different from any other 17 year old kid who's trying to be best basketball player on the team. If I only inspire one person out of this then I'll be very content, because I just want everybody to go for their dreams and goals no matter who doubts them."

Strange is already planning his next adventure, and laughed off suggestions that perhaps he'd already peaked at age 17.

"This is just the beginning. These past few years have been some great life experience. I'm not that smart, but I got a little bit of wisdom taken from that, and now I'm going to try build off that and try to live life to the fullest and set a goal and try to go accomplish it."

For more information about Johnny and his causes, go to www.parkinson.org/strange and www.genocideintervention.net.