NARITA, Chiba Pref. – Takao Arayama, at 70 the oldest person ever to conquer Mount Everest, returned home Sunday after setting the record May 17.
“It was one of the greatest joys of my life,” Arayama said of his feat after arriving at Narita International Airport.
“I only thought ‘I finally got here’ when I reached the summit,” he said. “But I gradually got the real sense of scaling the summit when I came down to the base camp and we opened cans of beer and toasted our success.”
Arayama, a corporate management consultant, broke professional skier Yuichiro Miura’s record, according to the Tokyo-based Adventure Guides Co., which organized his climb.
Miura is in the Guinness World Records for reaching the 8,850-meter summit in May 2003 also at age 70. However, Arayama was three days older than Miura when he climbed the mountain.
Arayama began mountain climbing in his 40s. He has scaled 6,194-meter Mount McKinley in Alaska.
On Everest, Arayama was part of a five-member team.