Tyler Armstrong is a kid with a mission. He's only 13, but he's already set several world records for scaling mountains that would daunt many adults.
Although Tyler's got many personal goals when it comes to climbing, he's also heading up those peaks in the hopes of raising money and awareness for those with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne's is a serious and eventually lethal muscle disease that affects more than 300,000 boys worldwide. Most children with the disease will lose their ability to walk by age 12 and will not survive beyond their mid-20s.
It's for these kids, and the hopes of a new FDA-approved drug to combat the disease, that Tyler is climbing some of the highest mountains in the world—namely, Mounts Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, Kosciuszko, and Vinson. Known collectively as the Seven Summits, these are the tallest mountains on each continent.
Tyler set his goal of scaling the Seven Summits after climbing Mount Whitney—the highest summit in the contiguous U.S.—at the ripe old age of 7, setting the record as the youngest to do so.
"I want to do all of the mountains and I want be the youngest so I can prove to people that kids can do it," Tyler says.
Tyler hopes to raise at least $1 million for Duchenne's, and we're betting he's got the determination and grit it takes to make it up those mountains.
Check out this video by GoPro highlighting Tyler's training regimen and his ascent of Mount Denali last year:
"Standing up there on the summit is a sense of relief, but also that sense of excitement that he just accomplished a goal that very few people ever do," says Kevin Armstrong, Tyler's father.
Tyler has so far conquered four of the Seven Summits—Aconcagua, Denali, Elbrus, and Kilimanjaro—and plans to tackle Mount Kosciuszko next.
We wish you much luck on your upcoming climbs, Tyler, and we hope you achieve your goal of raising a million dollars for kids who can't walk up mountains as easily.
Jamie Pacton writes middle grade and young adult fiction, drinks loads of coffee, dreams of sailing, and enjoys each day with her husband and two sons. Find her at www.jamiepacton.com.