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Malibu's Johnny Strange, 17, becomes youngest to bag Seven Summits

JohnnyStrange.Everest2.May2009.PhotoBy.Scott Woolums

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."

--Pete Thomas

Photo: Malibu's Johnny Strange on the summit of Mt. Everest. Credit: Scott Wollums

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Comments (32)

Obviously a tremendous physical challenge was overcome and not everyone could have done it, but still, I don't see this as mind numbing or anything. If you took 100 high school kids on a track team or your local boyscout or girl scout troop and equipped them with the same guides and equipment and put them in the same situation, how many would summit? I would rank this accomplishment as lower than graduating from high school for a 17 year old: It takes far more hard work, perseverance, and concentration to do the latter. This would be more like winning the 100 meter dash. While I don't think that the message he is conveying is particularly cliche for a 17 year old (genocide is bad), it is pretty typical of what a 17 year old should be thinking. Anyway hats off, blah, blah, blah, next.

I do beleive that he is to be commended for such accomplishment. Anyone that has "heart and Courage" will do exactly as the young 17 year old boy stated "Never let anyone stifle your dreams no matter the feat, for if you have the heart and the courage, impossible is nothing." Wether you are privilaged or not "ANYONE CAN ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING THEY PUT THEIR MIND TO" some will have to work harder than others.... their journey might be longer but in no way or form should the value change just because they were supported by loved ones. Second of all Johny Strange had a message that now is being overlooked for the fact that his dad is a lawyer? Everyone should just go back and take a look at the message this young man was trying to get across.

Johnny Strange's accomplishment is wonderful. Not everyone has the opportunity to be a Johnny Strange, Johnny Collinson or Zac Sunderland.

I do think of the two 17 year old climbers going for a record, Johnny Collinson has the harder task: he has chosen to climb Carsten Pyramid, the Seventh Summit when Australia is expanded to include the rest of Oceania -- Carstens is a much higher and more difficult climb than the "easy hike" that Mt. Kosciuszko is described as in this article and elsewhere.

Perhaps the Times could do a follow-up article on Utah native Johnny Collinson's attempt to hit the Sevent Summits in 365 days, and compare the boys' experiences.

The sad thing here is this kid might actually believe that it was his "heart and courage" that made this possible, when the truth is that his daddy's money made it possible. There are probably many young athletes out there who are capable of accomplishing what this kid did, but don't have a rich, indulgent father throwing cash at them to do it. Imagine how much good the money, time, and effort these people spent on this self-indulgent ego trip could have done if it was put to a worthwhile purpose.

uh, no doubt little Johnny is a maverick in the making; his feat is remarkable, enviable and profound. I'm sure he'll evolve into an equally remarkable and contributing member of society. however, let's get one thing straight, the boys in the hood -- or, from any number of communities around the world -- will never have the opportunity to achieve such a feat, regardless of one's "heart and courage" and regardless of whatever motivational poster tag line one may recite. money made Johnny's dreams come to life, plain and simple. without such, Johnny's claim to fame may have been more along the lines of surfing the entire Cali coast, from north to south, without ever leaving the water, over a period of 24 days. sounds great, but pales in comparison to globe trotting, mountain climbing and e-mailing from 30,000 feet.

I think that kid should be very proud of himself. And just because his dad is a Lawyer does not exactly mean he is rich. Besides that you have to be in great shape to accomplish what this kid did. After all he could be out there hangin in the streets causing problems but, now he has an awesome story to pass down to his kids and then maybe someday grand-children. So I say HATS OFF TO YOU! You are awesome.

Big deal. If I had a rich dad I could do that too. He does not compare to Zak Sunderland.



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