Talk about self-belief and never giving up, talk about Yuichiro Miura. Climbing the highest mountain in the world despite multiple heat surgeries and aging bones; now, that’s greatness.
The 80-year-old Japanese mountain climber who has had heart surgery four times is heading to Mount Everest to try for a third ascent of the world’s highest peak and will become the oldest person to reach the top if he succeeds.
Miura climbed to the summit of the 29,035 ft (8,850 metres) mountain in 2003 and 2008. He skied down Everest from an altitude of 26,246 ft (8,000 metres) in 1970.
Miura will climb up the standard southeast ridge route, pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay when they became the first people to reach the summit in May 1953, with a nine-person team.
“The record is not so important for me,” the octogenarian told Reuters in the Nepali capital, Kathmandu, before setting out for the mountain.
“It is important to get to the top.”
The record for the oldest person to climb the mountain is held by Nepal’s Min Bahadur Sherchan, who reached the summit at the age of 76, in 2008.
Miura’s team will include a doctor specialising in heart ailments, who will keep an eye on his health. The group hopes to summit in May.
Miura who is from a family of brave men has skied down the highest mountains on each of the seven continents is merely following family tradition. His late father, Keizo Miura, skied down Europe’s Mont Blanc at the age of 99.
“If you wish strongly, have courage and endurance, then you can get to the summit of your dream,” said Miura.
For Miura, getting to the summit of Mt. Everest is done and dusted; he’s got a new dream already. He wants to ski down Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth highest mountain at 8,201 metres (26,906 ft), also in the Himalayas.
“Maybe, when I become 85 years old, and if I stay alive, I want to climb and ski down Cho Oyu,” Miura said. “It is my next dream.”
About 4,000 climbers have been to the top of Everest and about 240 people have died on its slopes.