Octogenarians Compete to Set a New Record on Mount Everest

The drama began when 76-year-old Sherchan beat 75-year-old Miura to the summit by a day back in 2008

Sherchan, back in 2009 at the age of 77. Photo: Mogens Engelund

It’s been 60 years since Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made history as the first people to summit Mount Everest, but, despite an increasing number of people crowding the mountain each May, climbers still managed to set world’s-first records this year. The first Saudi woman, the first Pakistani woman and the first female double amputee all summited the mountain. Today, an 80-year-old Japanese man, Yuichiro Miura, set a record for the oldest person to scale the world’s highest peak. But if his 81-year-old Nepalese rival has anything to say about it, Miura won’t hold that record for long.

The Guardian reports:

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 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 in 2008.

The drama began when 76-year-old Sherchan beat 75-year-old Miura to the summit by a day back in 2008. Now, the game is on once again, though Miura puts on a dismissive front when it comes to record-setting. “The record is not so important to me,” he told the Guardian last month. “It is important to get to the top.”

Miura, who has undergone four rounds of heart surgery, summited along with his son at 9 a.m. Nepalese time this morning. He’ll be able to bask in record-holding glory for at least a week. Down at base camp, Sherchan is preparing for his own ascent later next week. “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,” he told the Guardian.

But the favorable weather that shined on Miura’s climb is expected to deteriorate by the end of this week. Still, if Sherchan fails to oust his rival a second time, there’s always next season, which would add another precious year to Sherchan’s record-holding dominance.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Conquering Everest 
Mount Everest Climbers’ Waste Could Power Local Villages 

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