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80-Year-Old Japanese Climber Becomes Oldest to Summit Mount Everest

Update Date: May 24, 2013 03:32 PM EDT
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Let this be a lesson to never say that you are too old to do something. Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, 80 years old, broke the record for becoming the oldest person to scale Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain.

He did so with three other Japanese climbers, including his son, and six Nepalese sherpas. The trek is the third time that Miura has conquered the mountain, a feat all the more surprising considering his age and medical history. He was 70 years old when he made his first trek up the mountain. According to ABC News, he has had four heart surgeries to repair a heart arrhythmia, including one just two months before his quest. In 2009, he broke his pelvis and fractured his thigh in a skiing accident.

Regardless, Miura has never been one to shy away from danger. When he was younger, he skied down Mount Everest - recreating the feat on the highest mountain of each of the seven continents, according to Reuters. It appears that the thrill-seeking must run in the family; his late father Keizo skied down Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps and in the European Union, at the age of 99.

However, it appears that Miura may not hold the record for very long. Nepalese Min Bahadur Sherchan, 81 years old, will start climbing the mountain this weekend. A previous holder of the crown, Sherchan held the record for being the oldest person to climb the mountain at the age of 76.

Already, just weeks into the Everest climbing season, records have been broken. Raha Moharrak reached the top of the summit, becoming the first Saudi Arabian woman to do so. Sudarshan Gautam, a 30-year-old Canadian born in Nepal, was the first double amputee to complete the challenge.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in the 60 years since Nepal's Tanzing Norgay and New Zealand's Edmund Hillary first made the summit,  4,000 people have successfully climbed the mountain and 230 have died while attempting to do so. The various conquests aiming to set obscure records have at times caused a rift between climbers, who at times have contentious Western values, and Sherpas, who have a traditional respect for the mountain.

"Last year, someone wanted to go up with a bicycle and a dog. It's always like some competition," Rishi Raj Kandel said to the Los Angeles Times. "Someone else wants to marry at the top, have sex at the top. People aren't respecting the spirit of the mountain, some going naked in camp." A manager of the Utmost Adventure Trekking company in Nepal, he adds, "I don't want to go. It's too difficult, and even more experienced guides die. I don't know why so many people want to go there so much. But I help them, and it's my job."  

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