85-year-old aiming to be oldest Everest climber dies

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An 85-year-old Nepalese man who was trying to reclaim the title of oldest person to climb Mount Everest died at a base camp late Saturday, officials said.

Shivraj Thapa, managing director of the Summit Nepal Trekking, told Xinhua Saturday that Sherchan died at the base camp at 5:14 p.m. local time. He was later bested by Japanese mountaineer Yuichiro Miura, who was 80 when he summited the world's tallest mountain in 2013.

High winds and snow near the summit on Friday were slowing down the work but the first climb could happen as early as Sunday, said government official Gyanendra Shrestha, who is stationed at base camp.

This is a sad ending to Sherchan's exciting climbing career that culminated on May 25, 2008, when he first became the oldest person to scale Mount Everest at the age of 76 years 340 days.

Sherchan's previous attempts to beat Miura in 2013 and 2015 were hampered by weather conditions and the devastating Nepal earthquakes. "I wish to break my own record", Sherchan said during an interview from Kathmandu in February.

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Mr Sherchan is survived by his 74-year-old wife, five daughters, two sons and 17 grandchildren.

Experienced Swiss climber Ueli Steck died last month when he fell from a steep ridge during an acclimatisation climb.

Almost 750 people are expected to try and climb Everest during the small window of opportunity afforded by the weather.

Almost 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. The Nepalese Tourism Department has issued 371 permits this year.

The large number of climbers has raised fears of unsafe traffic jams on the 8848 meter (29,029 foot) slope.