85-year-old dies while attempting to reclaim record as oldest climber of Mount Everest
On May 6, the body of Min Bahadur Sherchan, one of the oldest people to ever reach the summit of Mount Everest, was airlifted from base camp after he collapsed and died of a suspected heart attack.
As Travel + Leisure previously reported, the 85-year-old grandfather of 17 and great-grandfather of six was attempting to regain his title as the oldest person to ever scale Mount Everest after climbing the mountain in 2008 at the age of 76. His record was broken in 2013 by 80-year-old Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura.
Prior to his second attempt, Sherchan told DPA International: “I want to climb Everest to set a record so that it will inspire people to dream big. This will instill a sense of pride among old people like me. My climb will demonstrate that age doesn’t stop you from realizing your goal.”
Following his tragic death, Nepal’s peak alpine club said it will push the country’s government to implement an age limit on who can climb the world’s tallest mountain, according to The Guardian. The mountain already limits younger hikers from attempting to summit. In 2015, the Nepalese government barred any hiker under 16 from the climb, along with banning any climber who has yet to ascend at least 21,000 feet.
“It’s been a decade since we have been advocating for the age limit, 16 years to 76 years,” Ang Tshering Sherpa, the president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told The Guardian. “It has to come into effect as soon as possible to avoid disasters like the death of Min Bahadur Sherchan. We have been pushing for [it] and we will bring it to the government’s notice once again.”
Ascents from the Tibetan side of the mountain are already restricted to those between 18 and 60 years old by the Chinese government.
As the Associated Press explained, since 1953 more than 4,000 people have successfully summited Mount Everest, however, hundreds of people have also died in the process. But the threat of death has not deterred would-be climbers. Nepal has issued a record number of permits to climbers hoping to summit the mountain in 2017.