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Everest 2005: Danielle, 20, wants to be youngest 7 summiter
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Feb 3, 2005 18: 41 EST
At 20 years of age, Danielle Fisher has a chance to be the youngest American to climb Everest. She's in a close race with Jess Roskelley, who summited on May 21, 2003, also at age 20. Danielle will also be the youngest person to climb the seven summits, replacing the current 7 summit record holder Britton Keeshan, who was 22 when he reached Everest - the final of his seven summits - last spring.

But Danielle has more than age in common with Jess Roskelley - they both have ADD!

“Up there…nothing is blocking me”

Danielle was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) when she was 6 years old. For most people with the disease, concentration is difficult and presents problems in daily life. For Danielle, things were no different. As a child, she often had minor problems in school. Medicine was prescribed and has since helped, but once she started climbing, Danielle found a more positive and lasting cure. “Up there, I don’t have a problem. Nothing is blocking me,” she said. “Since I started climbing, the person I am on the mountain has increasingly become the person I am in life. The more time I spend on the mountain, the more that shapes my life and helps me focus down here.”

Setting the Goal

At age 15, her father introduced her to mountain climbing. “I hated it! It was like work,” Danielle told ExWeb, recalling her first summit on Mt. Baker. But she spent the next few months climbing more mountains. By the time she summited Mt. Rainier, work became pleasure. “After Rainier, I was hooked.”

Three years after becoming addicted to the rush of climbing, Danielle and her father joined an expedition to climb Aconcagua, her first of the seven summits and also her first high-altitude climb. “It’s the most difficult climb I’ve ever done,” she said. Before that climb, Danielle had never carried a pack so big, breathed air so thin, or climbed for such a long time. And that was when Danielle Fisher decided to attempt to be the youngest American to climb Everest and youngest ever to climb the 7 summits.

Since that day, she has been on a torrent pace, climbing 6 of the 7 summits in two years, and now only Everest to go.

“My life has already changed”

Everest or not, Danielle feels her life is already a success with the six summits in her bag. Over the last two years, Danielle has traveled the world, and had much fun. “My life has already changed,” she says. She has even become somewhat of a local celebrity. “People come up to me in the street and say ‘Hi.’ It’s really amazing”.

But the final summit is not everything: “I’m not going to risk my life for this goal. If I have to, I’m prepared to turn around. I value my life much more than breaking a record.”

The youngest person to summit Everest is the young lady climber Ming Kipa Sherpa, who summited Everest in 2003 at age 15. Earlier record was held by Temba Tshiri, 16 years and 17 days, who became the youngest person to scale Everest May 23, 2001. The previously youngest woman on Everest was Dicky Dolma, India, who scaled Everest at age 19, May 10, 1993. There has also been rumors in media that Chris Harris will attempt to become the youngest person to climb Everest this year at age 14. Chris is reported already the youngest person known to have climbed Elbrus.

Danielle Fisher will attempt Everest from the Nepal side. She will leave March 26th, on an Alpine Ascents expedition led by Dave Morton, Vern Tejas, Willi Prittie, and Lakpa Sherpa.

Danielle Fisher grew up in Bow, Washington, a small town about an hour north of Seattle, she spent her childhood in the North Cascades. “I was brought up in the mountains my whole life,” she said. In only five years of climbing, she is on the verge of being the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits, at 20 years old.

image courtesy of Danielle’s website

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