Nepal ex-minister, 82, aims to scale Everest

An 82-year-old former Nepalese minister has set off for Mount Everest in an attempt to set the record as the oldest person to scale the world`s highest peak.

Last Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 22:52 PM IST

Kathmandu: An 82-year-old former Nepalese
minister has set off for Mount Everest in an attempt to set
the record as the oldest person to scale the world`s highest
peak, organisers said on Monday.

Shailendra Kumar Upadhyaya, who served as Nepal`s foreign
minister and permanent UN representative in the 1970s and
1980s, said he aimed to raise awareness about the capabilities
of elderly people by climbing Mount Everest.

"Mountaineering is often associated with physical
strength. But you have to be mentally strong to accomplish
this climb," Upadhyaya said.

"I want to prove that elderly people like me are capable
of such achievements," the silver-haired octogenarian said in
Kathmandu ahead of his departure for the 8,848-metre
(29,029-foot) mountain.

Upadhyaya will be accompanied by five guides and sherpas
in his attempt to make the gruelling ascent.

"When I said I would climb Everest, people did not
believe me. But I`m well prepared to reach the summit," he
told reporters at the weekend.

Upadhyaya plans to start out from the Everest base camp
on April 28 in his bid to conquer the peak.

His climb was organised by the Senior Citizen Mount
Everest Expedition, which supports attempts by older people to
scale the mountain that straddles the Nepal-China border.

If successful, Upadhyaya would become the oldest person
to ascend Mount Everest. The record now is held by another
Nepalese climber, Min Bahadur Sherchan, who scaled the
mountain at the age of 76 three years ago.

"Upadhyaya has undergone a series of training exercises
and is very enthusiastic about his ascent," Ramjindaji Gurung,
the chairman of the Senior Citizen Mount Everest Expedition,
said.

Gurung said Upadhyaya has already scaled the 6,467-metre
Mera Peak and the 6,160-metre Island Peak, both in the Everest
region, in the past few years.

PTI