LOS ANGELES - An 18-year-old woman who has reached the summit of Mount Everest is believed to be the youngest person to scale the highest peak on each of the seven continents.
"We made it to the top!" Samantha Larson of Long Beach gasped to her mother in New York via satellite phone Thursday from Everest, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday.
According to 7summits.com, a Web site that tracks those who have accomplished the feat, the climb in Nepal makes Larson the youngest to have completed the "seven summits" challenge, breaking the record set by 20-year-old British climber Rhys Miles Jones in 2006.
Larson, who graduated from Long Beach Poly High School last year with a 4.43 grade point average, put off going to Stanford University for a year so she could climb mountains with her father.
The Nepalese government said Friday that she was the youngest foreigner to reach the 29,035-foot summit of Everest, though some climbing Web sites say a 17-year-old boy from France did it in 1990.
A 15-year-old Sherpa girl from Nepal was the youngest ever to climb Everest.
Larson has been climbing mountains since she was a child. She scaled South America's Aconcagua at 13 and Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro at 14.
"She's just amazing," said her mother, Sarah Hanson. She said her daughter had "a kind of stamina and persistence that just seems to be part of her nature, and it has been since she was little."
Larson and her father, anesthesiologist David Larson, 51, planned to reach Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, tomorrow, then return to Southern California on Wednesday.