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Southern California Boy, 9, Scales Argentina’s Aconcagua Mountain

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – A 9-year-old boy from Southern California has become the youngest person in recorded history to reach the summit of Argentina’s Aconcagua mountain, which at 22,841 feet is the tallest peak in the Western and Southern hemispheres.

Tyler Armstrong of Yorba Linda reached the summit on Christmas Eve with his father Kevin and a Tibetan sherpa, Lhawang Dhondup, who has climbed Mt. Everest multiple times. They were in fine spirits Friday as they left Aconcagua, whose sheer precipices and bitter cold have claimed more than 100 climbers’ lives.

“You can really see the world’s atmosphere up there. All the clouds are under you, and it’s really cold,” Tyler said, describing the summit to The Associated Press. “It doesn’t look anything like a kid’s drawing of a mountain. It’s probably as big as a house at the summit, and then it’s a sheer drop.”

Only 30 percent of the 7,000 people who obtain permits to climb Aconcagua each year make the summit, said Nicolas Garcia, who handled their logistics from down below. No one under 14 is usually allowed, so the family had to persuade an Argentine judge that Tyler could safely accomplish the feat. In their case, they took the “Polish Glacier” route, which doesn’t require climbing, and roped themselves together only when crossing steep ice-covered slopes.

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