From violence in Lebanon to children addicted to opium in Afghanistan to a sniper picking people off at an Idaho courthouse, today's news is looking especially grim. But I came across a bright spot to kick off your Monday: Eighteen-year-old Samantha Larson of Long Beach, Calif., just became the youngest American ever to scale Mount Everest (with her 51-year-old badass of a dad by her side!). Cooler still: The father-daughter duo has now scaled the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.
With some help from her mom and brother back in the U.S., Larson kept her Everest blog updated during the climb, and her observations -- "it wasn't really safe to go more than five feet outside the tent without putting on crampons and clipping into the fixed ropes," for instance -- sure make the challenges of cubicle life look like small potatoes. The Los Angeles Times reports that she'll recap the experience more fully when she regains Internet access, so inspiration seekers should check back soon.
Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.