Nepalese man, 81, attempts Everest climb days
after 80-year-old set record Japanese climber who became oldest man to climb
world's highest mountain could see achievement surpassed immediately
A unprecedented battle for mountaineering supremacy has begun on the slopes of
the world's highest peak after an 80-year-old Japanese man became the oldest
person to reach the summit of Mount Everest – days before his Nepalese rival
was due to attempt the feat at the age of 81.
Yuichiro Miura, who has had four heart surgery operations, reached the top of
the 8,848m (29,028ft) mountain at 9am local time on Thursday, according to
reports from Kathmandu.
Miura, a fearless adventurer who skied down the mountain from the South Col in
1970, said he felt great after reaching the summit via the south-east ridge
route, which was established by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay six
"I made it!" Miura said in a phone call from the summit to his home in Japan
that was captured by the broadcaster NHK. "I never imagined I could make it to
the top of Mount Everest at age 80. This is the world's best feeling, although
I'm totally exhausted. Even at 80, I can still do quite well."
But Miura could soon see his achievement surpassed by a fellow octogenarian
whose record he beat this morning.
As the Japanese climber celebrated, 81-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan, who set
the previous record when he climbed Everest aged 76 in 2008, was at base camp
preparing his own assault on the peak for early next week.
Miura's successful ascent has reignited a rivalry that has captivated the
climbing world since the pair arrived on the summit within a day of each other
Miura's ascent has been the subject of widespread media coverage in Japan. A
recent broadcast included photographs of the climber and his team drinking
green tea and eating sushi in their tent.
As Sherchan prepares to disappoint Miura a second time, his biggest challenger
could be the mountain's notoriously unstable weather, with the favourable
conditions that helped the Japanese adventurer to the top on Thursday expected
to deteriorate from Friday.
Miura is not the first record-setter on Everest this climbing season. Raha
Moharrak, 27, became the first Saudi Arabian woman to conquer the peak, while
Sudarshan Gautam, a 30-year-old Nepali-born Canadian who lost both arms in an
accident, became the first double amputee to make the summit.
Nearly 4,000 climbers have reached the top of Everest since the pioneering May
1953 climb, while 240 have lost their lives on its slopes.
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