No more Everest, says oldest to climb highest peak
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The oldest person to climb Mount Everest said Sunday that he won’t make any further attempts to scale the world’s highest peak — even though his new record may soon be in jeopardy.
“I think three times is enough,” Yuichiro Miura, who reached the top of Everest at the age of 80 last week, told reporters. “At this point I could not think of anything but rest.”
A brief improvement in weather conditions allowed Miura, a Japanese former extreme skier, to fly by helicopter from Everest to Katmandu, Nepal’s capital, on Sunday, three days after he scaled Everest’s 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak. He had initially planned to leave the mountain on Saturday, but poor weather conditions forced the cancellation of the helicopter flight.
Meanwhile, Miura’s 81-year-old rival, Nepalese climber Min Bahadur Sherchan, was at Everest’s base camp preparing to attempt to regain his title as the oldest to conquer the mountain. Sherchan held the record for five years until Miura snatched the title.
“I hope his success is good news. I wish him best of luck,” Miura said in Japanese, with his son Gota, 43, who reached the top of Everest with his father last week, serving as his interpreter.
Miura, however, insisted that Sherchan back up any claim of scaling Everest’s peak with clear photographs of the climber showing his face at the summit.
It is not clear whether Sherchan has any sophisticated camera with him that would work at the highest altitude on earth and take high-resolution photographs.
Sherchan was already struggling with finances, with Nepal’s government agreeing last week to only $11,200 in aid. While receiving that amount allows him to climb, it likely is not enough to cover the type of support and high-tech equipment that Miura had.
Miura had climbed Everest in May 2008 at age 75, but Sherchan did the same a day earlier at 76.
Miura conquered the mountain last week despite undergoing heart surgery in January for an irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia, his fourth heart operation since 2007. He also broke his pelvis and left thigh bone in a 2009 skiing accident.
Miura became famous when he was a young man as a daredevil speed skier.
He 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.” He has also skied down Mount Fuji.
It wasn’t until Miura was 70, however, that he first climbed to the top 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 determined to climb again at age 80.