KATHMANDU: An 85-year-old ex-Gurkha who was attempting to reclaim his title as the world’s oldest person to summit Mount Everest died at base camp on Saturday.
Min Bahadur Sherchan was on a bid to reclaim a title that he lost to Japanese mountaineer Yuichiro Miura in 2013.
“He passed away at the base camp today at 5:14pm,” Gyanendra Shrestha, an official with the tourism ministry who is at the 5,380 metres (17,600 feet) camp, told AFP.
The former soldier became the world’s oldest climber to summit Everest in 2008 when he was 76, but he lost the record five years later when Miura summited the 8,848-metre peak at the age of 80.
Speaking to AFP this year before returning to Everest, the slightly hard of hearing grandfather said he just wanted to prove to himself that he could still make it to the top of the world.
“My aim is not to break anybody’s record, this is not a personal competition between individuals. I wish to break my own record,” Sherchan told AFP from Kathmandu in February.
Sherchan’s death is the second fatality of the spring climbing season on Everest, which runs from late April to the end of May.
Experienced Swiss climber Ueli Steck died last month when he fell from a steep ridge during an acclimatisation climb.
Nearly 750 people will be attempting to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak during the narrow window of good weather that usually falls in mid-May.
Hundreds of climbers have been on Everest for weeks to acclimatise before making a bid for the top.
This year is particularly crowded as it is the last chance for climbers who were forced off the mountain by the devastating 2015 earthquake to use their extended permits. This has rasied concerns about dangerous traffic jams on the mountain.
Mountaineering is a major revenue earner for impoverished Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 metres.