Mount Everest

A retired Gurkha is to attempt to climb Mount Everest to reclaim his world record as the oldest person to do so.

Min Bahadur Sherchan, 85, conquered the world's tallest peak in 2008 at the age of 76, before being surpassed by Japanese climber Yuichiro Miura, who climbed the mountain aged 80 in 2013.

Sherchan, who served with the Queen's Gurkha Signals, the Brigade of Gurkhas and now lives in Aldershot, is quoted as saying in the Times newspaper:

"I have a lot of respect for Yuichiro Miura after he beat my record. But I am still fit and eager to reach the top of the mountain again and get my title back. I am doing a lot of long walks with a weighted bag on my back to stay in shape."

"I am a very positive person and have always maintained a good diet. My main aim now is to successfully reach the top of Mount Everest again.

"I want to take back my crown for Nepal and for the Brigade of Gurkhas."

Sherchan, who joined the Gurkhas at the age of 17, has now returned to high-altitude training and launched a £75,000 fundraising campaign.

He was forced to abort a previous attempt to regain his record in 2013, at the age of 81, after issues in getting a permit in time so he could make a safe ascent.

Serchan was then thwarted in another attempt in 2015 when the Nepal earthquake closed his route.

The president of the Myagdi Overseas Nepalese Association (Mona) UK, however, which is helping the veteran raise the money he needs to make the climb, said:

"Min Bahadur is a hero and a role model to so many people."

"He is 86 [sic] and is still wanting to conquer Mount Everest. Min is so fit for his age, both mentally and physically, where he gets his energy from I just don't know.

"I hope I will be as fit as he is when I reach 86 [sic] years old."

Kamal Purja added: "Hopefully people can be inspired by him and will be able to donate money to help get him to the summit — we really believe he can complete it this time."

But Dr Mark Porter, GP and medical correspondent for The Times, said:

"Conquering Everest involves myriad challenges and, unsurprisingly, the younger you are the more likely you are to overcome them.

"The odds of making the summit start to decline once climbers pass 40 and the risk of dying in the attempt — ever present at any age — starts to rise significantly in those over the age of 60."

"Age in itself need not be a barrier to climbing mountains. Indeed there is evidence that older people are less susceptible to altitude sickness, which bodes particularly well for Min Bahadur Sherchan who, let's face it, is no normal octogenarian. As a Gurkha and previous record holder he has genes and experience on his side.

"However, altitude sickness is only one of the hurdles Min has to overcome and at 86 [sic] he is never going to be as strong, resilient or even as co-ordinated as he was in his prime, making every step more challenging. And the older the climber the more likely they are to have medical conditions that exacerbate the natural physical decline that occurs with age — conditions such as breathing problems, coronary heart disease and arthritic stiff joints.

"His odds of success are slim, and he might not be the only one at risk from his attempt if he runs into trouble and depends on others for rescue. Indeed, the Nepalese government has been toying with the idea of banning climbers over 75 for this very reason."

"Time really isn't on Min's side. I wish him luck but would try to talk him out of it if I were his doctor, though I doubt he would listen."

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