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

KATHMANDU, Nepal — An 85-year-old Nepali died Saturday while attempting to scale Mount Everest to regain his title as the oldest person to climb the world’s highest peak, officials said.

In this photograph taken on February 10, 2017, Nepalese mountaineer Min Bahadur Sherchan shows off his 2008 Guinness World Record certificate for being the oldest person to summit Mount Everest — a record that was later broken in 2013 — during an interview with AFP in Kathmandu. An 85-year-old former Gurkha is making a bid to reclaim his title as the world’s oldest person to summit Mount Everest. A Guinness World Record certificate hangs proudly in Min Bahadur Sherchan’s Kathmandu home and by the end of this year’s spring climbing season he hopes to have a second one hanging next to it. / AFP / Prakash MATHEMA

Min Bahadur Sherchan died at the base camp on Saturday evening but the cause of death was not immediately clear, said Dinesh Bhattarai, chief of Nepal’s Tourism Department.

Mountaineering official Gyanendra Shrestha, who is at the base camp, said the cause was likely cardiac arrest but he could not give details because of a poor telephone connection.

The grandfather of 17 and great-grandfather of six first scaled Everest in May 2008, when he was 76 — at the time the oldest climber to reach the top.

His record was broken by then 80-year-old Japanese Yuichiro Miura in 2013.

Before leaving for the mountain last month, Sherchan had told The Associated Press that once he had completed the climb and become famous, he intended to travel to conflict areas to spread a message of peace.

He had trained for months before the attempt and had said he did not suffer from any respiratory problems and blood pressure was normal.

Being born in the mountains, he had did not have problem with high altitude and the low level of oxygen there.

Sherchan’s love of mountaineering had begun in 1960 when he was assigned by the Nepalese government as a liaison officer for the Swiss team climbing Mount Dhaulagiri.

He later became an apple farmer and constructed roads and dams before settling down to run hotels in Kathmandu.