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80-year-old stands on top of the world

An 80-year-old Japanese mountaineer on Thursday became the oldest man to reach the top of Mount Everest, a Nepali official and Miura's Tokyo-based support team said.

Yuichiro Miura, who also conquered the 8,850-metre peak when he was 70 and 75, reached the summit at 9:05 a.m. local time, according to his support team. Miura and his son Gota called them from the summit to report the news.

Public broadcaster NHK showed footage of Miura's daughter Emili talking with them via speaker phone in Tokyo, clapping when her brother told her they had reached the top.

"This is the world's best feeling," Miura said. "I'm also totally exhausted."

The climbers planned to stick around the summit for about half an hour, take photos and then start to descend, Miura's Tokyo office said.

Nepalese mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha, at Everest base camp, confirmed that Miura had reached the summit, making him the oldest person to do so.

The previous oldest was Nepal's Min Bahadur Sherchan, who accomplished the feat at age 76 in 2008, just a day before Miura reached the top at age 75.

Sherchan, now 81, was preparing for his own attempt on the summit next week, meaning that Miura's record may not last long, again.

On his expedition's website, Miura explained his attempt to scale Everest at such an advanced age: "It is to challenge (my) own ultimate limit. It is to honour the great Mother Nature."

He said a successful climb would raise the bar for what is possible.

"And if the limit of age 80 is at the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest place on earth, one can never be happier," he said.

The Canadian Press


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