By age 60, you're not over the hill, but you may have trouble climbing one.
In a study of 2,211 climbers who attempted to summit Mt. Everest during spring from 1990 through 2005, researchers found that nearly 31% reached the top. The percentage dropped to 13% among climbers 60 and older.
Not exactly a shocker, we'll grant, but the research team (led by a University of Washington biology professor) had wondered if the presumed extra experience of older climbers might actually help them reach the summit and survive. Not so. In fact, the chance of dying on the mountain was 1.5% overall -- but 5% for climbers 60 and older, according to a University of Washington news release.
"On Everest, youth and vigor trump age and experience," note the authors in the paper (published online Aug. 15 in the journal Biology Letters).
The analysis also found that women who attempted to climb Mt. Everest were as likely as men to reach the summit or die trying.
Here's some Mt. Everest facts:
Height: about 29,030 feet.
First to summit Mt. Everest: 1953, Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, relative whipper-snappers at 39 and 33, respectively.
First ascent by a woman: 1975, Junko Tabei of Japan.
First solo assent: 1980, Reinhold Messner of Italy.
First couple to get married on the summit: 2005, Nepalese Moni Mulepati and Pemba Dorjee. (No one did the chicken dance afterward, we hear.)
First true ski descent: 2000, Davo Karnicar, who has since skied six other puny summits.
First to snowboard from the summit: 2001, Stefan Gatt. (And, yes, he's still alive and talking about it, over and over, as a motivational speaker.)
Oldest person to reach the summit: Katsusuke Yanagisawa, 71 years and 61 days at that time, May 22, 2007.
First person to ride a bicycle from his home in Sweden to the mountain, scale it alone without the use of oxygen tanks and bicycle all the way back: 1996, Goran Kropp. He survived that feat but died in 2002 while climbing in Washington state. *
This and more fun Everest facts to be had at www.mnteverest.net/history.html; www.nepalvista.com/travel/efacts.html#1; and
And here's a picture of Mt. Everest:
-- Janet CromleyCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times