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Malibu's Johnny Strange ready to tackle Everest, make history

April 13, 2009 | 11:32 am


Outposts would like to introduce you to Johnny Strange, 17, a rich kid from Malibu who sits beneath the shadow of Mt. Everest, poised to make history.

Strange and his father are in Nepal and soon will begin their quest to tackle the world's tallest peak, whose skyward reach is a breathtaking (literally) 29,035 feet. If Johnny succeeds he'll become the youngest Westerner to attain the summit (a Nepalese Sherpa once did so at 15).

I met him before he caught a flight for Katmandu and he's a thrill seeker who loves a daunting challenge. He has already climbed five of the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each continent) and aspires to become the youngest climber to bag all seven.

Everest represents his last major hurdle (that would leave Australia's 7,310-foot Mt. Kosciuskzo as the final steppingstone). Of the danger associated with a tempestuous mountain that has killed about 200 climbers, he said: "I could focus on all the bad things that could happen, but I like the fact that there's risk. If there wasn't risk, it wouldn't be fun."

His father, Brian, a prominent consumer affairs attorney, feels the same way, and if he makes the top of Everest it will be no small feat for a 53-year-old.

Please look for a forthcoming Los Angeles Times profile of the Strange duo, and visit Outposts for updates on their latest expedition.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Johnny Strange writes a report for his Everest blog, while sitting somewhere in Nepal. Credit: Brian Strange