Over the hill? I’m at my peak

Yuichiro Miura con­quered di­a­betes and heart fail­ure be­fore be­com­ing, at 80, the old­est man to climb Ever­est. Now he’s plan­ning to do it again. By Bar­ney Hen­der­son

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - NEWS -

The old­est man to climb

Ever­est, Yuichiro Miura, is gear­ing up to re­take the moun­tain at 90. Bar­ney Hen­der­son tries to keep up

As I went down, I felt t he prob­a­bil­ity I would die was 100 per cent – 120 per cent, even.’ Yuichiro Miura, ex­hausted, strug­gling to breathe, and with his heart fad­ing, thought he had taken his fi­nal steps as he de­scended from the sum­mit of Ever­est. He per­haps had no right to be there at all. At 80 years old, the Ja­panese ad­ven­turer had en­dured three re­cent heart op­er­a­tions and ex­ten­sive surgery to re­pair a shat­tered pelvis, and he had bat­tled di­a­betes. He had reached the sum­mit of the world’s high­est moun­tain twice be­fore, aged 70 and 75. But, like Ge­orge Mal­lory 90 years ear­lier, he was called back to Ever­est for a third time; and in May 2013 he be­came the old­est per­son ever to sum­mit. ‘I had a dream to climb Ever­est at this age,’ he says. ‘If you have a dream, never give up. Dreams come true.’

Mal­lory fa­mously an­swered the ques­tion of why he kept re­turn­ing to Ever­est when it had claimed the lives of so many mem­bers of his past ex­pe­di­tions (and later, of course, he would meet his death there too) with the words, ‘Be­cause it’s there.’ Miura is also un­able to ex­plain how the moun­tain drives men and women to such ob­ses­sion. ‘All the time, I think of Ever­est. I can’t stop,’ he says. ‘It’s the moun­tain I love the most, the moun­tain I pay the most re­spect to.’

And he is not fin­ished with it. De­spite com­ing close to death, firmly stat­ing that ‘three times is enough’ af­ter his last record-break­ing climb and

Yuichiro Miura cel­e­brat­ing reach­ing the sum­mit of Ever­est in 2013, aged 80. Right the Os­car-win­ning film The Man Who Skied Down Ever­est (1975) cap­tured Miura do­ing just that; on set dur­ing film­ing

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