KATHMANDU – An 85-year-old Nepali man died at Mount Everest base camp while attempting to become the oldest person to climb the highest peak, officials said on Saturday.
Min Bahadur Sherchan, a former British Gurkha soldier, was trying to reclaim the record from Japan’s Yuichiro Miura, who climbed Everest aged 80 in 2013.
Mr. Miura broke Mr Sherchan’s own record set as a 76-year-old in 2008.
Mr. Sherchan died at base camp on Saturday afternoon, officials at Nepal’s tourism office said. Doctors suspect he suffered a heart attack, the Kathmandu Post newspaper reported.
In 2015 he was on his way to base camp for another attempt when a devastating earthquake struck the country, forcing him and many other climbers to abandon their plans.
“I want to climb Everest to set a record so that it will inspire people to dream big,” he told German news agency DPA in March. “This will instil a sense of pride among old people like me.”
“My climb will demonstrate that age doesn’t stop you from realising your goal.”
Mr Sherchan began climbing in 1960, when he ascended Mount Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh-highest mountain at 8,167m (26,795 ft), the Telegraph newspaper reported. However he was already 72 when he thought about climbing Mount Everest. To prepare, he walked 1,200km (745 miles) across Nepal in 2003, DPA said.
Mount Everest, at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) is the world’s highest mountain and a particularly desirable peak for mountaineers. Over 280 people have died trying to climb it and in the last few decades, fatalities have occurred every year.
Last week, Swiss climber Ueli Steck, 40, died as he prepared to climb the Mount Everest.