x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Octogenarian climber aims for Everest record

An 80-year-old Japanese mountain climber who has had heart surgery four times is heading up Mount Everest and will become the oldest person to reach the top if he succeeds.

Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, 80, in Kathmandu on Sunday.
Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, 80, in Kathmandu on Sunday.

KATHMANDU // An 80-year-old Japanese mountain climber who has had heart surgery four times was headed up Mount Everest yesterday to try for a third ascent of the world's highest peak and will become the oldest person to reach the top if he succeeds.

Yuichiro Miura climbed to the summit of the 8,850-metre mountain in 2003 and 2008. He skied down Everest from an altitude of 8,000 metres in 1970.

Mr Miura and a nine-person team will climb up the standard south-east ridge route, pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay when they became the first people to reach the summit in May 1953.

"The record is not so important for me," Mr Miura said in Kathmandu, before setting out for the mountain.

"It is important to get to the top."

The record for the oldest person to climb the mountain is held by Nepal's Min Bahadur Sherchan, who reached the summit at 76, in 2008.

A doctor specialising in heart ailments is in the team to keep an eye on Mr Miura's health. The group hopes to summit in May.

Mr Miura has skied down the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, and is merely following family tradition. His late father, Keizo Miura, skied down Europe's Mont Blanc at the age of 99. "If you wish strongly, have courage and endurance, then you can get to the summit of your dream," said Mr Miura.

He already has a new dream. He wants to ski down Cho Oyu, the world's sixth highest mountain at 8,201 metres, also in the Himalayas.

"Maybe, when I become 85 years old, and if I am stay alive, I want to climb and ski down Cho Oyu. It is my next dream."