Next month, Yuichiro Miura is scheduled to climb Mount Everest. It wouldn’t be the first time the Japanese mountaineer has reached the tallest summit on Earth -- nor would it be his second time. But what’s truly noteworthy is Miura’s age: He's 80. If he makes it to the top this time, he’ll be the oldest person to ever do so. He's actually held that distinction before, when he reached the top of Everest in 2003 at age 70 -- but that record was broken four years later, when Katsusuke Yanagisawa, also of Japan, scaled Everest at age 71, according to several news outlets.
These guys are hardly the only senior citizens that have been capable of climbing the 29,029-foot-high Himalayan peak. In 2008, Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal broke Yanagisawa’s record, making it to the top of Everest at age 76. A day later, Miura strapped on his hiking gear and reached the top of the summit once again. He was only 75. But he did become the only person older than 70 to hike to the top of Mount Everest twice, GrindTV reported.
Just so you know, all this senior Everest climbing business isn’t just a boy’s club. In May 2012, Japan’s Tamae Watanabe, then 73, became the oldest woman to scale the mountain (thus breaking her own record, set in 2003 when she was 63), USA Today reported.
Sure, the record-breaking aspect of Miura’s third trek up the gargantuan Nepal mountain is nothing to sneeze at. But this time, there’s more to it: He’s “paying homage to the Mountain Goddess of Mother Nature Qomolangma” as well participating in the Miura Everest Anti-Aging Research Project , according to GrindTV.
The project’s team, which includes a scientist from the Department of Aging Control Medicine at Juntendo University in Tokyo, determined the age of Miura’s lung capacity would be at Everest’s summit, GrindTV said. Here’s part of what the project gathered:
“When decreasing curve of aerobic fitness of aging is compared to subsidizing physical fitness by altitude, it tells that 80-year-old Yuichiro Miura’s aerobic capacity may become as old as 150 years of age. This indicates that Yuichiro Miura climbing Everest at age of 80 must endure technical climbing at an age that is far beyond the age of the oldest women ever lived—Jeanne-Louise Calment, a French woman who lived until 122 years old.
“In addition to aerobic capacity challenge, Yuichiro suffered from fractured pelvis and arrhythmia in the past 10 years. Since both of these injuries and illnesses are common among many elderly, his challenge to climb Everest is the challenge against age–Anti-Aging.
“To scientifically study this anti-aging challenge, a research and doctor team led by Gota Miura has been formed.”
Gota Miura, Ph.D., a researcher at Juntendo University, and Yuichiro Miura’s son, will be his dad’s climbing partner. The team will monitor and study Miura’s attempt to break Sherchan’s record as they collaborate with Juntendo University, Kanoya University and the University of Hiroshima, GrindTV noted.
“When I was 75, I did it [the second time] and realized nothing is impossible,” Miura said, according to AFP via Discovery News. “Making another attempt at 80 will boost my courage, willpower, and motivation, bringing the ultimate anti-aging effect as a result.”
Miura has felt that nothing is impossible well before that, though. In 1970, he became the first person to ski down the mountain from the 26,246 feet mark in the South Col with the aid of a parachute. To achieve that feat, according to several news outlets, he did have some trusty guidance: his father, Keizo, who lived to the age of 101, and who skied down the 15,781-foot Mont Blanc in Europe at the age of 99.