In his preseason 2010 Everest coverage, Alan Arnette has posted another great story, this time taking a look at the “right” age to climb the mountain. This is sure to be a topic of debate in the season ahead, as we all wait, and watch, with bated breath for 13-year old Jordan Romero to make his bid on the mountain later this year.
Alan talks about the current record holders for youngest and oldest to summit the mountain, something that continues to be pushed forward on a seemingly yearly basis. The youngest person to summit is Miss Ming Kipa, a 15-year old Sherpani who went up on the North Side back in 2005. As Alan points out, Nepal bars anyone under the age of 16 from climbing Everest, thus forcing the young lade to climb on the Tibetan side. The record for oldest summiteer goes to Min Bahadur Sherchan, who made the climb back in 2008 at the age of 76. That record may be in jeopardy this year however, as 80-year old Sailendra Kumar Upadhyaya, the former Foreign Minister of Nepal, will make his bid. Alan also points out that oldest woman to summit is 63-year old Tamae Watanabe of Japan.
In the article, we get insights into the risks at climbing at various ages which included possible impeded development in younger climbers, and stamina and speed issues in older ones. Alan even discusses the “enablers”, or the factors/people/groups that are encouraging younger, and older, people to attempt Everest, which has turned into a media circus in recent years as everyone and their dog attempts to set some kind of new, and often dubious, record on the mountain.