Does Mt. Everest Need An Age Limit?
After An 85-Year-Old’s Death, Many Ask If There Should Be Restrictions
Following the recent death of Min Bahadur Sherchan, an 85-year-old attempting to become the oldest climber to reach the legendary peak, Nepali officials are moving to enact legislation that would establish an age limit to climb Mt. Everest. “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,” said Ang Tshering, the head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, to the AP (via ESPN).
Sherchan, a Nepal resident, was seeking to reclaim his record as the oldest man to scale the mountain. He set the record at the age of 76 in 2008, but his record was eclipsed in 2013 by an 80-year-old Japanese man.
Tshering offered more insight into the climber’s death, resulting from a heart attack at base camp. He said to CNN, “He was in good health. He used to walk 15 kilometers every day. But I think his age was quite a factor. He was too old to climb Mount Everest, but he had a very strong will.”
One of the factors resulting in the quick reaction by Nepali officials is the growing popularity of scaling the mountain. This year, a record 371 permits have been issued to climb. While creating an age limit may reduce the number of elderly deaths, there’s little data to support what common sense suggests: That older people are more likely to die on the hill. An average of 4.8 people die on Everest every year, including climbers of all ages and skill level.