Malibu's Johnny Strange, 17, becomes youngest to bag Seven Summits
Three weeks ago, Malibu's Johnny Strange delivered a message from the top of Mt. Everest, stating, "Stop Genocide."
But he carries another message for fellow teenagers: Pursue your dreams and meet challenges head-on.
Strange, 17, after scaling the world's tallest peak at 29,035 feet, flew from the Himalayas to Australia and on Monday (Tuesday in Australia) strolled to the top of 7,310-foot Mt. Kosciuszko to become the youngest person in the world to have climbed the highest peak on seven continents, known collectively as the Seven Summits.
Strange beat a record held by Long Beach mountaineer Samantha Larson, who achieved the Seven Summits when she was 18.
Afterward Strange typed an e-mail to family and friends that read: "Never let anyone stifle your dreams no matter the feat, for if you have the heart and the courage, impossible is nothing."
It helps to have a wealthy attorney and fellow adventurer as a father, but this should steal nothing from Strange's accomplishment. He climbed Antarctica's Mt. Vinson when he was 12 to set this project in motion, and Everest is daunting for climbers of any age and experience level because of its perilously thin air and unpredictable nature (six climbers have died on Everest this season).
Strange reached the summit of Everest two days after Utah's Johnny Collinson stood on top of the world. Collinson also is 17 and he's trying to bag the Seven Summits within a calendar year.
Strange said he chose Kosciuszko instead of Everest as his final Seven Summits peak because he wanted to tackle Everest "as a lone experience, not part of the Seven Summit goal."
Photo: Malibu's Johnny Strange on the summit of Mt. Everest. Credit: Scott Wollums