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Japanese Octogenarian Reaches Everest Peak

Yuichiro Miura and his son, Gota Miura, at the Mount Everest summit, May 22, 2003. (Miura Dolphins)
Yuichiro Miura and his son, Gota Miura, at the Mount Everest summit, May 22, 2003. (Miura Dolphins)
An 80-year-old Japanese man has become the oldest person to climb the world's highest mountain -- Mount Everest.

Yuichiro Miura reached the top of the 8,850-meter Himalayan peak on Thursday after a week-long ascent.

Miura, who has had three heart operations in recent years, also climbed Mount Everest at age 70 and 75. After reaching the summit on Thursday, he said by phone that he was exhausted but elated to have met the daunting challenge.

Prior to the climb, Miura's daughter, Emili Miura, told VOA her father lives by the motto that nothing is impossible.

"He said that if you set up your objective, there is infinite possibilities. If you stop, the possibilities stop.," she said. "That's his philosophy."

She also said it is possible her father may want to conquer Everest a fourth time.

"Please, don't tell him that. For the family members, every time he goes to Everest, we hope this is going to be the last time, but he always comes back with the next objective," she added.

Yuichiro Miura, who broke the record held by a 76-year-old Nepalese man, Min Bahadur Sherchan, was accompanied by three other Japanese, including his son, and some Nepalese Sherpas.

Miura's record, however, could be short-lived. Sherchan, now 81, plans to start ascending Mount Everest in a few days.

Miura is not the first record-setter on Everest in recent days. Raha Moharrak became the first Saudi woman to conquer the peak. Sudarshan Gautam, a Nepalese-born Canadian who lost both arms in an accident, became the first double amputee to reach the summit.

Meanwhile, tourism officials say five climbers trying to scale another giant Himalayan peak, Kangchenjunga, are missing and feared dead. The climbers included two Hungarians, one South Korean and two Nepalese Sherpas.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.
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