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On doctor's orders, Japan alpinist Yuichiro Miura, 86, abandons bid to scale South America's highest peak

Kyodo

Yuichiro Miura, an 86-year-old Japanese alpinist and professional skier, has given up on his attempt to conquer the 6,959-meter Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America, on doctor’s orders, his office in Tokyo said Monday.

“I was confident that I could climb to the top, but decided to follow the doctor’s order,” Miura was quoted as saying by the office. The alpinist, who had reached the camp at Plaza Colera, at an altitude of about 6,000 meters, is in good health and has already descended the mountain, the office said.

Miura, who became the oldest person to conquer Mount Everest at age 80 in 2013, had been waiting at Plaza Colera since Friday local time for favorable weather conditions. He summited Aconcagua, whose peak is located in Argentina, in 1985.

But Miura’s doctor, Kazue Oshiro, who accompanied him on the journey, concluded he was physically taxed from the long stay at the 6,000-meter altitude and that climbing even higher could trigger heart failure.

The climber left Japan on Jan. 2 and had been acclimatizing his body at a base camp at 4,200 meters since Jan. 10. After arriving at the 5,580-meter level from the camp by a helicopter on Friday, he climbed to Plaza Colera on foot.

“Biologically speaking, this altitude was the limit for an 86-year-old climber. I made the decision to order him to descend the mountain so that he can return home alive,” Oshiro said.

Miura’s son, Gota, 49, who was with his father for the attempt on Aconcagua, added, “(The ascent to the summit) appeared to be difficult both physically and mentally,” according to the office.

“A few hours ago, he was determined to climb the mountain, saying over the phone he was feeling ‘never better,’ ” said Miura’s daughter, Emiri, 58, at the office. “I think (my father) is the one who is most disappointed.”

In 2003 and 2008, at age 70 and 75, Miura successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest, which is 8,848 meters above sea level. He returned to the peak again in 2013 to set the record as the oldest to do so after recovering from a serious injury sustained in a skiing accident when he was 76 as well as heart surgeries for an irregular heartbeat.