Speed Reads

you go girl

13-year-old becomes youngest girl to climb Mt. Everest

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images News

What were you doing at 13 years old? Bet it wasn't scaling Mount Everest.

But that's exactly what Malavath Poorna recently did. The Indian teenager, who is the daughter of poor farmers on the lowest rung of India's caste system, made the taxing climb late last month, becoming the youngest girl ever to do so. The youngest boy to make the climb was also 13 — American Jordan Romero, who did it in 2010.

Mt. Everest straddles the Nepal-China border, and since Nepal requires all climbers to be at least 16, Malavath climbed the Tibetan side in China, where there is no age restriction. Accompanied by a group of Nepalese guides, she said the 29,035-foot climb was "very difficult. Every step is a dangerous step." She even recalled seeing six dead bodies on the climb.

"I was shocked," she told reporters back in New Delhi. "Oh my god I got some fear."

But in the end, Malavath made it, safe and sound. "I feel great and proud, and I shed joyful tears."