• Kyodo

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Tsuneo Shigehiro, a 68-year-old Japanese mountaineer, departed Friday to climb the Himalayas, 21 years after he last climbed the mountain range, this time leading a team of nine people with an aim to pass on the spirit of mountaineering to the next generation.

Shigehiro plans to start trekking from the 6,209-meter Nangamari II, an unclimbed peak in northeastern Nepal, to the 6,547-meter Nangamari I, which are situated on the world’s third-highest mountain Kanchenjunga.

If his team, including three people in their 20s, accomplish the goal, they will set a world-first in traversing the route.

“I hope to transfer my know-how and tactics to them,” Shigehiro said.

Shigehiro, a resident of Kobe, in 1980 became the first person ever to successfully climb 8,848-meter-high Mount Everest by passing through the North Face.

He climbed the world’s second-highest mountain, 8,611-meter-high K2, in 1977, which made him the first Japanese to reach K2’s summit by trekking through the route of the Abruzzi Spur.

It was in 1995 that Shigehiro last climbed a Himalayan mountain when he scaled the world’s fifth-highest peak, 8,463-meter Makalu.

The team was selected from people with various backgrounds such as a student, doctor and former company employee.

“I want it (the climbing) to become a trigger for the crew members to have a dream of reaching a higher goal. If they work hard and get a result, it will make them challenge multiple times, and will also improve their techniques,” he said.

He added, “I want to see the Himalayas again after a period of 21 years.”

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