Everest 2013: The Secret to Climbing at 80

Yuichiro Miura
Yuichiro Miura

Some of the largest teams have now arrived in Kathmandu including Himalayan Experience, no aka Himex and Russell Brice.

Himex has a smaller Everest team with 10 climbers but an additional 6 going for Lhotse and an all women effort on Nuptse of 4 climbers. Himex’s overall lead guide is Mark “Woody” Woodward from New Zealand who has eight Everest summits.

In their first newsletter for the season, Russell addressed his large team with these thoughts:

I am really happy to inform you that it has been snowing at base camp and it is a lot colder than last year. It looks as if the conditions were back to normal. This bodes very well for a better season and I am pleased that some of last year’s members have come back for another and hopefully safer chance to reach the summit.

If you are following someone as they trek towards EBC and have become used to receiving emails, or blog posts with pictures, be aware that when they hit the village of Periche, the Internet service is notoriously intermittent. This is surprising since that is the home of the Himalayan Rescue Association. Oddly the highest village before EBC, Gorak Shep has better connectivity. Separately, those using smart phones with the NCELL service can also experience spotty data service; voice service is generally good.

Unique Climbs

As much as Everest is known for crowds, Sherpas, and standard routes, it still attracts veteran climbers wanting to test themselves.

For 2013, we have multiple examples of this. As I reported in February, there are several new routes to be attempted this year. One effort has been postponed due to lack of funding, but the other two seem to be on track.

As one might expect, details are scarce as the famous climbers reserve the right to change their plans based on the conditions. Ueli Steck and Simone Moro made a short tease video for Epic TV saying as much.

But one climber who is open with his plans is 80 year-old Japanese, Yuichiro Miura. This will be his third climb of Everest. His first summit was in 1973. He returned in 1975 to attempt to ski down Everest. His spectacular crash on the Lhotse Face was captured in the legendary documentary “The Man Who Skied Down Everest”

In 2008 he returned with his son to summit. He was then 75 years-old.

I love to tell this story as I met Mr. Miura in the Icefall in 2008. He was taking a break looking strong and confident. I went over to him and politely introduced myself and said it was honor to meet the man who skied down Everest.

He grinned and said “I am not the man who skied down Everest. I am the man who fell down Everest.” We both laughed.

I asked him what was his secret to climbing so well at such an advanced age as he was peeling back the top to a thumb size container. He paused and continued his work but then, smiled once again, held up the container, smiled and said “honey”.

He is a remarkable man with an amazing spirit. He has a history of heart issues and underwent surgery to correct recurring arrhythmia last November and again in January this year, as he did before his 2008 expedition. In 2009, he had a skiing accident that left him with a broken pelvis and fractured thigh.

If he summits, he will set the record for the oldest man to summit Everest. The record is currently held by Nepalese Min Bahadur Sherchan, who summited at age 76 on May 26, 2008. There was a story he would make another attempt this year at age 81, but I cannot confirm it is true.

He is quoted in this article “When I was 75, I did it again and realised nothing is impossible. Making another attempt at 80 will boost my courage, willpower and motivation, bringing the ultimate anti-ageing effect as a result.”

The BBC has a brief interview with Mr. Miura.

Another inspiring climb is by Indian climber Arunima Sinha, who lost her left leg in 2011 after being thrown off a moving train. She has consulted with Kiwi Mark Inglis who as a double amputee summited Everest in 2006. She is a national-level volleyball player and has been training extensively. She reached 21,110′ on Chamser Kangri in the Ladakh mountainous area in September of last year. She will be climbing with Asian Trekking from the south.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything

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8 thoughts on “Everest 2013: The Secret to Climbing at 80

  1. Only yesterday I was reading about the power of honey has , mixed with cinnamon even better . Following my friend Margaret St Hill , climbing with himalayan ascent this year , wishing her and her team a safe passage and safe return . Great work Alan , Nik. Sydney

  2. Alan, I believe Yuichiro Miura skiied the Lhotse Face not in 1975 but 1970 for the World’s Fair in Osaka. I say this because I met his advance team at the foot of the Khumbu Glacier living in some tents late December/ early January 1969-70. They were there testing weather conditions for his upcoming ski attempt. I was alone and they fed me some real tasty packaged food for which I was incredibly grateful. Yuichiro is a living legend in the mountaineering world.

    1. You are correct Ted. His ski was in 1970 and the movie came out in 1975. Thanks for the correction. It must have been great to meet them back then.I updated the post with the correct dates and more clarification.

  3. Most people I know who are around the age of 80 are more than happy to be sat in front of the TV reading the newspaper and being waited on hand and foot.

    Yuichiro Miura is a remarkable man for what he has already done in his amazing life, you would of thought he would be happy to just put his feet up!

    Best of luck to you.


    Please take a look at Mount Everest The British Story to learn about the British on Mount Everest.

  4. The human spirit is awesome and never fails to amaze me. If it wasn’t for you I doubt if we would ever hear about the great folk and their wonderful achievements.The season is now forging ahead and there are so many interesting articles being written I am finding it hard to keep up. I don’t want to miss anything so I keep referring to your full and compact notes.After the season finishes I love to go back and re-read all the blogs slowly and carefully, by doing this it helps to fill the gap until the next season. My loving family describe me affectionally as an ‘ Everest Nut ‘ and I may be approaching the brink of becoming a bore. They are all interested in the subject but I must go one step further. Thanks again Alan Cheers Kate (UK )

  5. Alan, thank you for what you do. Making memories with my Dad right now.
    Is there a complete list of all expeditions and climbers anywhere? I love to see who I “know” on the mountain.Thanks

  6. As I read your interviews, Alan, it seems that every climber has a story to tell that is worth telling.

    And each story would motivate and energize others to leave behind their comfort zone to do something different whether themselves or for the world.

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