Climber aged 85 dies during record attempt on Mount Everest | News | DW | 06.05.2017
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Climber aged 85 dies during record attempt on Mount Everest

Former Gurkha Min Bahadur Sherchan first became the world's oldest person to reach Everest's summit in 2008 at the age of 76. The Nepali died attempting to recapture his title after his record was eclipsed in 2013.

An 85-year-old former Gurkha soldier died at the Mount Everest base camp on Saturday, attempting to regain his title as the world's oldest person to scale the world's highest peak.

Mount Everest Bergsteiger Symbolbild (Reuters/N. Chitrakar)

Hundreds of climbers are attempting to summit Everest

The head of Nepal's Tourism Department, Dinesh Bhattarai, said the Nepali man, Min Bahadur Sherchan, died at the camp Saturday night, but the cause of death was not immediately clear. Communication problems made it impossible to contact the base.

"He passed away at the base camp today at 5:14 p.m.," said Gyanendra Shrestha, an official with the tourism ministry who is at the 5,380 meters (17,600 feet) camp.

In May 2008 the then 76-year-old Sherchan became the oldest person to reach Everest's summit. But in 2013 his record was eclipsed by 80-year-old Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura.

Prior to his fateful attempt, Sherchan insisted he wasn't trying to outdo Miura.

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Flying for science

"My aim is not to break anybody's record, this is not a personal competition between individuals. I wish to break my own record," Sherchan said during an interview from Kathmandu in February.

Sherchan had six great-grandchildren and 17 grandchildren.

Traffic jams expected

His death is the second fatality this climbing season, which lasts only about one month, from April into May. Ueli Steck, a highly regarded Swiss climber, died last month when he fell from a ridge during an acclimatization climb.

Nearly 750 people are expected to try and climb Everest during the small window of opportunity afforded by the weather. Hundreds have been trying to acclimatize before attempting to reach the summit.

Nepal, 85-jähriger Bergsteiger Min Bahadur Sherchan (Reuters/N. Chitrakar)

Sherchan during his yoga exercise

This year is especially crowded because it is the last chance for climbers who were forced away by a devastating earthquake in 2015. Their government-issued permits, which were extended for two more years, are set to expire in the coming weeks.

The large number of climbers has raised fears of dangerous traffic jams on the 8,848-meter (29,029-foot) slope.

Mountain-climbing is a major source of revenue for impoverished Nepal, which is home to eight of the world's 14 mountains higher than 8,000 meters.

bik/se (AP, AFP)

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