Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2013 Contents B16
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, May 23, 2013
An 80-year-old Japanese extreme skier who
climbed Mount Everest five years ago, but just
missed becoming the oldest man to reach the sum-
mit, was back on the mountain yesterday to make
another attempt at the title.
Unfortunately for Yuichiro Miura, the 81-year-old
Nepalese man who nabbed the record just before he
could in 2008 is fast on his heels.
Miura on Wednesday was already in the "death
zone," the steep, icy, oxygen-deficient area close to
the 29,035-foot summit. His rival, Min Bahadur
Sherchan, from Nepal, was at the base camp preparing
for his own attempt on the summit next week.
On his expedition s Web site, Miura explained his
attempt to scale Everest at such an advanced age:
"It is to challenge (my) own ultimate limit. It is to
honour 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.
Miura reached the South Col, the jumping-off
point for most final ascents, on Tuesday, according
to his web site, which also posted pictures of him
eating hand-rolled sushi inside a tent.
"Miura is reported to be in good health and he
and his team are aiming to reach the summit on
Thursday morning," said Gyanendra Shrestha, a
Nepalese mountaineering official at the base camp.
If Miura makes it to the top, he would capture the
record. But it would only last a few days if Sherchan
is able to follow him.
Miura s daughter, Emili Miura, said he "doesn t
really care" about the rivalry. "He s doing it for his
own challenge," she said.
The situation was not too different five years ago,
when, at the age of 75, Miura sought to recapture
the title of oldest man to summit the mountain. He
had set the record in 2003 at age 70, but it was later
broken twice by slightly older Japanese climbers.
He reached the summit on May 26, 2008, at the
age of 75 years and 227 days, according to Guinness
World Records. But the record eluded him because
Sherchan had scaled the summit the day before, at
the age of 76 years and 340 days.
Sherchan, a former Gurkha soldier in the British
army, first began mountaineering in 1960 when he
climbed Mount Dhaulagiri, the 26,790-foot high
peak in Nepal, according to his grandson, Manoj
Guachan. Always an adventurer, and unbowed by
age, he walked the length of Nepal in 2003.
Sherchan and his team said yesterday that they
were prepared for their new climb, despite digestive
problems he suffered several days ago.
"Our team leader has just arrived back at base
camp and we are holding a team meeting on when
exactly I will head up to the summit," Sherchan, who
uses a hearing aid, said by telephone from the base
camp. "I am fine and in good health. I am ready to
take up the challenge. Our plan is to reach the summit
within one week."
It takes three to four days for climbers to reach
Camp 4 on South Col from base camp, and another
day to reach the summit.
There are only a few windows of good weather
during the climbing season in May for people to
attempt the summit. That could favor Miura.
Conditions should be favourable Wednesday and
Thursday, but they were expected to deteriorate after
Friday, said Shrestha, the mountaineering official at
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. Miura faced difficulties of his own.
He fractured his pelvis and left thigh bone in a
2009 skiing accident, and had an operation in January
for an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, his fourth
heart surgery since 2007, according to Emili Miura.
His daughter said Miura decided to go ahead with
the expedition despite the surgery
because he felt that at age 80, he
was running out of time.
"If he was in his 60s, he prob-
ably would have waited for another
year or two, but at the age of 80
he s not getting any younger. He
has a strong determination that
now is the time," she said in a
On his ascent, Miura made a stop
at the rarely used Camp 5 to take
a break between the South Col and
the summit. Almost all the climbers
these days walk straight from Camp
4 to the summit.
Miura was well-known long
before his late-in-life moun-
He was a daredevil speed skier
who skied down Everest s South
Col in 1970, using a parachute to
brake his descent. The feat was
captured in the Oscar-winning
1975 documentary, The Man Who
Skied Down Everest.
In 1964, he briefly set a world
speed skiing record in the Italian
Alps, reaching 107 mph. He also
skied down Mt Fuji using parachutes.
It wasn t until Miura was 70,
however, that he first climbed all
the way to the summit of Everest.
When he summited again at 75, he
claimed to be the only man to
accomplish the feat twice in his 70s.
After that, he said he was deter-
mined to climb again at age 80.
Miura is accompanied on the expe-
dition by his son Gota, a two-time
Olympian skier. Gota Miura, 43, sum-
mited Everest in 2003 with his father,
but had to turn back short of the
summit in 2008 due to symptoms of
high altitude cerebral edema. (AP)
Man attempts to be oldest climber to scale Everest
Yuichiro Miura, 80, rests
in a camp at 26,247 feet
during his attempt to
scale the summit of Mt
Everest. AP PHOTO
Links Archive May 22nd 2013 May 24th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page