Miura to conquer Everest at 80


TOKYO: A Japanese mountaineer who just lost his title as the oldest man to climb Mount Everest to a Nepali fellow septuagenarian vowed today to do one better and scale the peak aged 80. Japan’s Yuichiro Miura, 77, was officially the oldest man to have reached the roof of the world until Nepal’s Min Bahadur Sherchan said on Monday that the Guinness World Records had now named him as the oldest Everest conqueror. Sherchan, 78, said he had battled for months for the recognition of his feat, collecting proof that he reached the 8,848-metre summit in May 2008 when he was 76 — a day before Miura who was 75 at the time.

“I congratulate Sherchan on his success to substantiate his feat,” Miura told AFP by telephone from Japan’s Sapporo, where he was skiing despite having broken his femur and pelvis in a ski accident in February. “It is quite awesome to climb Everest after the age of 70,” he said. “It is still more awesome to do it at 76. In a sense, he has helped expand the possibilities for people in an ageing society.” However, undeterred by his rival, Miura announced an even bolder plan.

“If possible, I want to assault Everest from China’s side in 2013,” he said, having ascended it twice from the Nepali side. To prepare for the feat, he is planning three Himalayan trips. “I will start at around 5,000 (metres) sometime next autumn,” Miura said. “Then I will go for 6,000, 7,000, and Everest.” Miura, a veteran adventurer, in 1970 became the first person to ski down Everest. His parachute-aided descent was documented in the 1975 film “The Man Who Skied Down Everest” which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

In 2003 Miura first became the world’s oldest conqueror of Everest when he reached the summit aged 70. However in 2007 his record was broken by another Japanese man, Katsusuke Yanagisawa who was 71 at the time. “I have not done it for the sake of Guinness records,” said Miura about his two conquests of the world’s highest peak. In January, Miura plans to tour Antarctica in an oceanographic ship. “The tour will have no adventurous element, but I am looking forward to it,” he said.

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