Everest Record Breaker

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80-year-old man becomes oldest to climb Everest

By Binaj Gurubacharya of Associated Press

Yuichiro Miura, 80, a Japanese extreme skier, became the oldest person to climb Mount Everest on Thursday. An older man is preparing to summit next week.

KATMANDU, Nepal — An 80-year-old Japanese mountaineer on Thursday became the oldest man to reach the top of Mount Everest, a Nepali official and his Tokyo-based support team said.

Yuichiro Miura, who also conquered the 29,035-foot peak when he was 70 and 75, reached the summit at 9:05 a.m. local time Thursday, according to his support team. Miura and his son, Gota, called them from the summit to report the news.

Public broadcaster NHK showed footage of Miura’s daughter Emili talking with them via speaker phone in Tokyo, clapping when her brother told her they had reached the top.

“This is the world’s best feeling,” Miura said. “I’m also totally exhausted.”

The climbers planned to stick around the summit for about half an hour, take photos and then start to descend, Miura’s Tokyo office said.

Nepalese mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha, at Everest base camp, confirmed that Miura had reached the summit, making him the oldest person to do so.

The previous oldest was Nepal’s Min Bahadur Sherchan, who accomplished the feat at age 76 in 2008, just a day before Miura reached the top at age 75.

Sherchan, now 81, was preparing to scale the peak next week despite digestive problems he suffered several days ago, meaning that Miura’s record may not last long — again. On Wednesday, Sherchan said by telephone from the base camp that he was in good health and “ready to take up the challenge.”

Sherchan’s team leader Temba, who uses one name, said he would congratulate the new record holder once he returned to the base camp and that Sherchan would not turn back until he completes his mission.

Sherchan’s team is also facing financial difficulties. It hasn’t received the financial help that the Nepal government announced it would provide them. Purna Chandra Bhattarai, chief of Nepal’s mountaineering department, said the aid proposal was still under consideration.

On his expedition’s website, Miura explained his attempt to scale Everest at such an advanced age: “It is to challenge (my) own ultimate limit. It is to honor the great Mother Nature.”

He said a successful climb would raise the bar for what is possible.

“And if the limit of age 80 is at the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest place on earth, one can never be happier,” he said.

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