The Times of India has reported that Sunday morning, Malavath Purna, a 13-year-old girl from Andhra Pradesh in India became the youngest woman to climb Mount Everest after a 52-day expedition. Led by ten Nepalese guides, Purna and another student, 16-year-old Anand Kumar, ascended the 29,029-foot peak from the Tibetan side of the mountain.
The expedition was sponsored by the Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Educational Society. Purna and Kumar were reportedly among 150 children "initially chosen for adventure sports as part of the society's initiative to promote excellence in the students of the society." 20 were sent to a mountaineering institute in Darjeeling, nine were sent to the Indo-China border on an expedition, and only two "with a higher degree of toughness and endurance" went to Everest.
This is an amazing accomplishment and also really crazy. Scaling Mount Everest is incredibly taxing and over 250 people have died trying to climb it. Altitude above roughly 26,000 feet is considered death zone—there's not enough oxygen to sustain human life. And just last month 16 Sherpa guides were killed in an avalanche, causing many other Sherpas to halt their expedition-leading operations.
I'm quite certain that the average 13-year-old is in much better shape than I am, and yeah, kids do amazing things. Still, letting a 13-year-old climb Mount Everest seems needlessly dangerous. Also, I'm trying to wrap my head around how she got up the mountain, seeing as the China Tibet Mountaneering Association banned children younger than 16 from climbing Everest after 13-year-old Jordan Romero's scaling of it sparked a huge controversy.
Nonetheless, Purna and Kumar should be pretty proud of themselves. That's an amazing feat, one which even earned a tweet from the brand-spankin' new prime minister of India. Sigh, kids these days.
Image via Getty.