Takao Arayama didn't set out to break a record when he climbed Mount Qomolangma (Everest), but last week the 70-year-old Japanese became the oldest man to scale the world's highest peak.
Arayama, of Kamakura, Japan, was 70 years, seven months and 13 days old when stepped onto the 8,850-metre peak last Wednesday, edging out the previous record holder by three days, according to the mountaineering company that arranged his climb.
"I climbed Qomolangma to mark my age, 70, and had no other intention," Arayama said on his return yesterday to the Nepalese capital, Katmandu.
He said it was only as he was returning to base camp that his fellow climbers told him he had become the oldest person to reach the summit.
Guinness World Records, which says the record is held by Yuichiro Miura, also of Japan, who reached the summit at the age of 70 years, seven months and 10 days, has not yet confirmed the feat.
Arayama said he suffered from exhaustion, headaches and breathing problems during his climb, but was able to surmount his difficulties with the help of Sherpa guides and bottled oxygen.
"I thought I had reached the highest point on earth, but I still had to descend ... I gave up relaxing ... stayed on the top for 30 minutes and then descended carefully," he said.
At the summit he said he took some photographs and left a photo of his pet dog.
Arayama said he first climbed a small mountain in Japan at the age of 12, and only began serious climbing in his 50's when he travelled to Europe to scale the Alps. After he retired at the age of 63, he said he began climbing bigger peaks.
Source: China Daily