Nepal Mountaineers Call for Age Limits on Everest Treks After Climber’s Death
Just days after an 85-year-old Mount Everest climber died at base camp last weekend, the Nepal Mountaineering Association is pushing for an age limit, a recommendation supported by research.
Min Bahadur Sherchan wanted to set a world record. Instead, his death while climbing Mount Everest is raising a lot of questions for the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA).
The 85-year-old Sherchan, a Nepal native who, in 2008 at age 76, became the oldest person to reach the Everest summit but later lost that title, was trying to reclaim it when he died at base camp on Saturday. And now the association calling for an age limit on who can attempt to climb the mountain.
“It is very necessary to immediately bring that age limit law. If there had been a limit, the loss of life could have been prevented,” NMA President Ang Tshering Sherpa told the Associated Press.
NMA is calling for an age limit of 76, and the Nepalese government was said to be seriously considering the idea. Currently, climbers must be at least 16 years old, but there is no upper age limit.
Research supports the concept. The Washington Post cited 2007 research led by the University of Washington’s Raymond Huey that showed a significant increase in risk for Mount Everest climbers older than 60.
Sherpa told The New York Times that Sherchan was in fairly good health. “He was physically well, but he was challenged by his age,” Sherpa said, noting that Sherchan walked about nine miles daily.
It was Sherchan’s fourth attempt to reach the summit since 2013. Finances held him back that year, while natural disasters prevented other attempts—a deadly avalanche in 2014 and an earthquake in 2015.
With Sherchan’s death and the potential implementation of an age limit, Yuichiro Miura of Japan, who reached the summit in 2013 at age 80, is likely to remain the oldest person to climb Everest.