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

Min Bahadur Sherchan died at the base camp on Saturday evening, said Dinesh Bhattarai, Nepal's tourism chief.

Mr Sherchan, was born in Nepal and first scaled Everest in May 2008 when he was 78.

Doctors suspected heart attack as the cause of his death.

Sherchan had first successfully climbed the mountain in May 2008 at the age of 76, becoming the then oldest man to assent to the top.

"I am OK and doing very well here to achieve the goal", Sherchan told THT Online by mobile from the base camp on Friday (5 May) morning. He was later bested by Japanese mountaineer Yuichiro Miura, who was 80 when he summited the world's tallest mountain in 2013.

He is second mountaineer to die in a week while preparing to climb the world's highest peak.

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His long rivalry with Mr Miura - a year his junior - included a 2013 attempt to reclaim the record aged 81 that had to be abandoned after late spring weather conditions worsened.

Before leaving to the Everest Base Camp, the visibly confident Sherchan had said that though he was old in terms of age, he still had the courage to ascend the Everest.

"I want to climb Everest to set a record so that it will inspire people to dream big", he explained in an interview in March.

His love of mountaineering began in 1960 when he was assigned by the Nepalese Government as a liaison officer for the Swiss team climbing Mount Dhaulagiri.

However he was already 72 when he thought about climbing Mount Everest.

Steck, 40, was in the area acclimatizing ahead of a bid to climb Everest through the less-climbed West Ridge route and traverse to Lhotse, the world's fourth highest peak at 27,940 feet this month.

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