9 Oldest People to Climb Mount Everest

Mount Everest is probably the most famous mountain in the entire world. Ever since Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953, thousands of people have attempted to do the same. About 4,000 people have successfully climbed to the top of Mount Everest and several of them have done so as senior citizens. All of the people on this list were over 60 years old when they climbed Mount Everest. Several of them are from Japan, a country whose people are known for their longevity, and have set the record as the oldest person to climb Mount Everest more than once.

9. Sherman Bull (August 14, 1936 – Present)

Age at the Time of Climb: 64 years
Country of Origin:  United States of America
Date of Climb:  May 25, 2001

Sherman Bullphoto source: iluvesports.com

Although another American would later break his record, in 2001 Sherman Bull was not only the oldest American, but the oldest person at the time to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Sherman’s success was extra special because it was his fifth attempt at reaching the top of the formidable mountain. He made the climb with his son Bradford and a group of disabled veterans. One of the climbers on Bull’s expedition also set the record for being the first blind person to scale Mount Everest.

Bull is also one of several people on this list to also climb the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. He has lived a very active life and also completed seven marathons, a 50-mile ultra marathon, and 100-mile century bike races.


8. Sir Ranulph Fiennes (March 7, 1944 – Present)

Age at the Time of Climb: 65 years
Country of Origin:  United Kingdom
Date of Climb:  May 21, 2009

Ranulph Fiennesphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is the oldest person from the United Kingdom to summit Mount Everest and is the most famous person on this list for achievements outside of climbing Mount Everest. Fiennes is a well-known explorer, writer, and poet and holds several endurance records. In 1984, the Guinness Book of World Records called Fiennes the world’s greatest living explorer.

Fiennes became one of the oldest Mount Everest climbers in 2009 at the age of 65. In addition to successfully reaching the summit of Mount Everest, Fiennes was the first person to visit both the North and South Poles by surface means. He was also the first person to completely cross Antartica on foot.


7. Tomiyasu Ishikawa (1936 – Present)

Age at the Time of Climb: 65 years, 176 days
Country of Origin:  Japan
Date of Climb:  May 17, 2002

Tomiyasu Ishikawaphoto source: Aichi Voice

Tomiyasu Ishikawa first climbed Mount Everest in 1993 when he was 57 years old – at the time, he was the oldest Japanese person and second oldest person in the world to reach the summit. Ishikawa was born in 1936 and has been climbing mountains since he was 22 years old. In 2002, Ishikawa reached the summit of Mount Everest again at the age of 65 and broke the previous record held by American Sherman Bull who was 64 years old.

Six years after his Mount Everest expedition, Ishikawa set another record by becoming the oldest person to climb the tallest peaks on the world’s seven continents. Ishikawa was 71 years and 60 days old when he was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for his feat.


6. Takao Arayama (1936 – Present)

Age at the Time of Climb: 70 years 225 days
Country of Origin:  Japan
Date of Climb:  May 2006

Takao Arayamaphoto source: MSN

Takao Arayama is one of the oldest mountaineers from Japan to successfully climb Mount Everest. Arayama said that he never set out to break the previous record set by his fellow countryman Yuichiro Miura in 2003. He just wanted to attempt the climb on Mount Everest and see what happened.

Arayama started mountain climbing in his 50s when he reached the summit of Matterhorn. After Arayama retired when he was 63, he continued to scale famous mountains including Mount McKinley. In 2010, Arayama became the oldest person, at 74 years 138 days, to climb the Seven Summits.


5. Katsusuke Yanagisawa (1936 – Present)

Age at the Time of Climb: 71 years, 61 days
Country of Origin:  Japan
Date of Climb:  May 22, 2007

Katsusuke Yanagisawaphoto source: TIME

Katsusuke Yanagisawa is one of several Japanese mountaineers to hold the record for being the oldest person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Yanagisawa earned the title at the age of 71 in 2007, breaking the record set by another Japanese climber the year before.

After he returned safely from his expedition, Yanagisawa told the Associated Press that he was overwhelmed when he reached the summit. He said, “I did well … a better job than I expected.” Yanagisawa was inspired to climb Mount Everest after he had successfully reached the summit of Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth-highest peak.


4. Bill Burke (1942 – Present)

Age at the Time of Climb: 72 years
Country of Origin:  United States of America
Date of Climb:  May 25, 2014

Bill Burke photo source: eightsummits.com

Bill Burke is a seasoned American mountaineer who has made six attempts on Mount Everest. The two times that Burke successfully reached the summit were record-setting climbs. He first became the oldest American to reach the summit and return alive in 2009 at the age of 67. Burke broke his own record in 2014 when he was 72 – he climbed from the more challenging North (Tibet) side.

Burke decided to become a mountaineer after he retired from practicing law in 2003. Since then, he has climbed the highest mountain on every continent, which are known as the Seven Summits. In 2014, the government of Nepal opened 104 new peaks in the Himalayan Mountain range and named one Burke Khang in honor of Burke’s reputation in Nepal. Burke has attempted to climb his own mountain several times, but is yet to reach the summit.


3. Tamae Watanabe (November 21, 1938 – Present)

Age at the Time of Climb: 73 years, 180 days
Country of Origin:  Japan
Date of Climb:  May 19, 2012

Tamae Watanabephoto source: NPR

Tamae Watanabe is the oldest woman to ever climb Mount Everest – she is also the only woman on this list. Watanabe first set the record when she was 63 in 2002. Ten years later (in 2012), she successfully climb Mount Everest again and broke her own record at the age of 73.

Watanabe completed her second Everest climb as the leader of Asian Trekking’s International Everest Expedition 2012. In addition to Mount Everest, Watanabe has climbed several other famous peaks including Mount McKinley, Aconcagua, Cho Oyu, Lhotse and many others.


2. Min Bahadur Sherchan (June 20, 1931 – May 6, 2017)

Age at the Time of Climb: 76 years, 340 days
Country of Origin:  Nepal
Date of Climb:  2008

Min Bahadur Sherchanphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

In 2008, at nearly 77 years old, Min Bahadur Sherchan became the oldest person to climb to the summit Mount Everest. Sherchan beat Yuichiro Miura’s record from 2003 and Miura later reclaimed his title from Sherchan in 2013. A year after Sherchan’s climb, he was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for his achievement. He said that the recognition was a dream he had for over 50 years.

Sherchan attempted to climb Mount Everest again in 2017 at the age of 85. He wanted to take the record back from Miura, but Sherchan never got the chance to climb Mount Everest again. Sherchan died at the Everest base camp on the evening of May 6th.


1. Yuichiro Miura (October 12, 1932 – Present)

Age at the Time of Climb: 80 years, 224 days
Country of Origin:  Japan
Date of Climb:  May 23, 2013

Yuichiro Miuraphoto source: The Telegraph

Yuichiro Miura is the oldest person in the world to ever climb to the summit of Mount Everest. He first set the record in 2003 at the age of 70, but reclaimed the record – after other people had beaten it – when he was 80 years old in 2013. Miura’s 2013 climb marked the third time that the returned to Mount Everest. His record as the oldest person to climb Mount Everest is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Miura said that Mount Everest continuously calls to him and that its always on his mind. Miura shows no signs of slowing down and said that he plans to try reaching the summit of Mount Everest again when he’s 90.

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