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with Stefan Nestler

Chasing the Everest age record

Min Bahadur Sherchan

Why does a 85-year-old need to climb Mount Everest? For world peace. For environmental protection. For the self-confidence of old people. As an inspiration for the young. All these alleged reasons had to serve when, earlier this week, Min Bahadur Sherchan officially announced in Kathmandu that he would try to reach the 8850-meter-summit this spring. The real and only issue is to regain the Everest age record from Yuichiro Miura. In 2013, the Japanese, then aged 80, had replaced Sherchan as “Everest Methuselah”. For five years, the Nepalese had previously led the record list after standing on the highest mountain on earth at the age of 76 years and 340 days.

Old with “young courage”

Record holder Yuichiro Miura

Already shortly after Miura’s summit success, towards the end of the Everest spring season 2013, and then 2015 too, Min Bahadur had tried to get back the record. In 2013, however, the Nepalese had fallen above Everest Base Camp and suffered a rib injury. In addition, no weather window had opened at this late stage of season. Two years later, the devastating earthquake in Nepal with almost 9,000 deaths had led to the cancellation of all activities on Everest. Now the oldie is determined to do it again. “I may be old in terms of age but I still have a young courage,” Sherchan said. “I will reach the summit of Everest, whatever may come.”

Ex-Gurkha not in the Ghurka expedition

Sherchan after his Everest summit success in 2008

A strong team of six Sherpas including some Everest summiters is to help the senior up to the highest point. The expedition had been made possible by a donation campaign that had been launched by Nepalese people living in Great Britain. Earlier this year, British media reported that Sherchan, who had been a soldier in the Gurkha regiment of the British army as a young man, would be a member of the Gurkha Everest expedition 2017. It turned out to be a media hoax. “He is not part of the British Army Gurkha team. His venture is a separate private attempt,” the organizers of the British expedition wrote to me.

Still no age limit for old people

It is also due to the chronic drowsiness of the Nepali government that Sherchan is allowed to climb Everest this spring. Once again, the responsible people in Kathmandu have not managed to amend the “Mountaineering Expedition Regulation”, which is in force since 2002. Last year’s draft  included a ban on mountaineers older than 75 years. Perhaps the rule will be introduced when Min Bahadur Sherchan will have brought back the age record to Nepal.


9. March 2017 | 14:10