Yesterday, 80-year-old mountaineer Yiuchiro Miura successfully reached the summit of Mt. Everest, setting a new age record in the process. Miura, who has climbed the mountain on two previous occasions, is now the oldest person to ever stand on top of the tallest mountain on the planet. But just how long he’ll hold that distinction remains to be seen.
There were some concerns about the weather conditions heading to the summit, as the forecasts had called for high winds. Bad weather could have scrubbed Miura’s summit attempt, but fortunately the predicted shift didn’t come. As a result, it was a good day for climbing and although it was cold on the summit, the Japanese alpinist and his son Gota managed to reach the top in a safe and timely fashion. They spent roughly a half-hour on the summit celebrating their accomplishment and calling home to their support team via satellite phone before heading back down.
We told you about Miura’s quest to climb Everest a few weeks back, noting at the time that he was vying for the title of the oldest to achieve that feat with 81-year-old Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal. Sherchan has yet to begin his climb as a stomach ailment has kept him in Base Camp in recent days. He says that he is feeling stronger now and hopes to make a summit bid next week. If he is successful, he’ll wrest the title of oldest Everest climber away from his Japanese rival. In 2008, at the age of 76, Sherchan topped out one day ahead of Miura, nabbing the record that has stood for the past five years.
Sherchan will have to have a little luck go his way, however, as the weather forecasts indicate the current summit window will close in the next few days. It is unclear whether or not another window will open before the end of the month, which traditionally sees a shifting of the jet stream that signals the arrival of the seasonal monsoons. When that happens, no one will be able to climb Everest until the fall at the earliest.