Octogenarian climbers fight it out to conquer Everest

PTI Kathmandu | Updated on May 28, 2013 Published on May 28, 2013

The two mountaineers first clashed in 2008, when Sherchan, then 76, reached the 29,028-foot (8,848-meter) peak a day before Miura, then 75.

Days after a Japanese climber became the oldest person to conquer Mount Everest, an 82-year-old man whose record was broken is now on his way up the world’s highest mountain to reclaim the title.

Eighty-year-old Japanese national Yuichiro Miura is on his way home after becoming the oldest climber to reach the summit of Everest on Thursday.

But another Mount Everest climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, has headed towards the world’s highest peak with an objective of bringing back his record of climb by a senior citizen, which was broken by the Japanese.

Sherchan was headed towards the top along with his five aides, said Liaison Officer of the Everest Base Camp, Wanchhu Sherpa. Sherpa said Sherchan was at Camp-1 on May 26.

Sherchan was at the Mount Everest Base Camp due to lack of expenses.

The meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Thursday had decided to waiver royalty of Sherchan and to provide support of Rs 1 million, state-run RSS news agency reported.

The Alpine Everest Guides Nepal has taken the responsibility of the expedition of Sherchan. Sherchan started his journey of Mount Everest on May 26 with a target to reach the Everest summit on May 29.

A fight for supremacy between the two octogenarian climbers is heating up.

The two mountaineers first clashed in 2008, when Sherchan, then 76, reached the 29,028-foot (8,848-meter) peak a day before Miura, then 75.

However, it was Miura’s ascent that made it into Guinness World Records, forcing Sherchan to travel to London to set the record straight.

Back in Nepal, he gathered paperwork, photos, witness accounts and media reports to confirm his ascent, and his feat finally entered the record books in 2010.

Sherchan dismissed talk that he was making the climb because he was in danger of losing his record. He said he had planned to reach the summit last year but failed to secure financial support.

“Why should I go to set a record? I have my own record. I wanted to climb Everest in my eighth decade,” he said before he left for the base camp.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the first expedition to reach the summit of Everest: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay made it to the top of the mountain on May 29, 1953.

Before he boarded his flight at Kathmandu airport on Sunday, Miura said he had scaled Everest for the last time.

Together, the octogenarians have defied the limits of human possibility. At 8,848 metres (29,030 feet), oxygen concentration at the summit is a third of that at sea level.

At such high altitudes, the physical condition of the body ages 70 years – making the climbers’ aerobic capacity 150 years and older, according to Miura’s team.

Published on May 28, 2013
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