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Mountaineering officials confirm 71-year-old Japanese is oldest climber to scale Everest

Mountaineering officials confirm 71-year-old Japanese is oldest climber to scale Everest

Katsusuke Yanagisawa, a 71-year-old retired schoolteacher, is the oldest person to climb Mount Everest, mountaineering officials confirmed Wednesday, after the Japanese returned from scaling the world's highest peak.
Ang Tshering, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said he checked his records with other mountaineering officials and could confirm that Yanagisawa is the new record holder.
Yanagisawa was 71 years, 2 months and 2 days old when he reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak on May 22, beating the previous record set last year by another Japanese climber, Takao Arayama, who was 70 years, 7 months and 13 days old.
Yanagisawa climbed up the Chinese side of the mountain and officials on the Nepalese side were unable to confirm the record earlier.
"I didn't think I would make it," Yanagisawa told The Associated Press in the Nepalese capital of Katmandu on Tuesday, after returning safely from his expedition. "No more high mountains," he added.
Yanagisawa, a retired junior high school teacher from central Japan, said he is exhausted and has lost some movement in his right hand.
"Everest was much more difficult than I expected. It was difficult to breath, hard to walk. Even coming down the mountain was more difficult than I had thought it would be," he said. "Everest is a really hard mountain."
But once he reached the summit, he was overwhelmed.
"I did well ... a better job than I expected," he said.
He was inspired to attempt Everest last year after he managed to scale the nearby Mount Cho Oyu.
"It was my dream to climb Cho Oyu _ a peak that is higher than 8,000 meters (26,240 feet) _ when I reached the age 70," he said.
From the summit of Cho Oyu, he got a glimpse of Everest. "I found my next dream," he said.
Yanagisawa is the third Japanese in recent years to set a record as the oldest climber of Everest. In 2003, Yuichiro Miura became the oldest to reach the summit at 70 years, 7 months and 10 days.
Hundreds of climbers have scaled Everest since New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay conquered the peak on May 29, 1953. Some 205 people have also died on the mountain's unpredictable and treacherous slopes.


Updated : 2021-10-25 18:31 GMT+08:00