An 80 year old Japanese man is preparing to climb Mount Everest, the earth’s highest mountain for the third time, despite his heart problems. Yuichiro Miura considers this his “ultimate anti-ageing” cure for whatever ails him.
He is heading to Katmandu by next week and plans to climb the 8,848 meter peak by May. He is also trying to recapture his previous record of being the oldest person to scale Everest. He achieved that record when he first scaled the mountain back in 2003, when he was 70 years old. Four years later, his record was broken when another ageless Japanese Katsusuke Yanagisawa ascended the peak at age 71. Miura climbed Everest again in May 2008 when he was 75, but this time, he didn’t get the record since he reached the top a day after Nepalese Min Bahadur Sherchan achieved the same feat at 76. He is still the current Guinness World Record holder. Although Miura said he doesn’t care about that at all, if he does complete the climb, the record will be his again.
But even before he did all this climbing at his ripe age, Miura has always been a bit of an adventurous daredevil. In 1970, he became the first person to ski down Everest (he does have a love affair with this mountain) with the help of a parachute from an 8,000-metre point on the South Col route. His feat was documented in the 1975 Oscar best documentary film “The Man Who Skied Down Everest”. But climbing Everest didn’t occur to him until he was already 65 years old. And even though he now suffers from heart arrhythmia and has undergone surgery twice to correct the disease, he believes that his muscle power has definitely improved when he turned 70.
There has been a lot of talk about the greying of the Japanese population, but one effect of this is we get more adventurous senior citizens like Miura and Hiroshi Hoketsu, who was the oldest equestrian competitor in last year’s London Olympics at age 71. Even the world’s oldest living person is from Japan: Jiroemon Kimura, a 115 year old Kyoto citizen.