Richard Byerley wants to go where no one else his age has gone before: to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro!
The 84-year-old is seeking to earn a spot in Guinness World Records™ as the oldest person to summit Africa’s highest peak on foot.
Byerley and his two grandchildren, Annie, 29, and Bren, 24, will begin their six-day trek on the Machame Route in late September 2011. They will cap their African climbing adventure with a two-day safari to Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater.
The active octogenarian, who divides his time between Sun Valley, Idaho, and Walla Walla, Washington, where he owns an alfalfa farm, is training for the climb by hiking mountains in both Washington and Idaho, bicycling, running and occasionally moving 40-pound pipes in the fields on his farm. He has already bagged Mount Whitney in California (the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states, at 14, 495 feet) and Mount Rainier in Washington (the most heavily glaciated peak in the lower 48 states, at 13, 211 feet) and has skied for 44 years, a pastime he took up at the tender age of 40. But his physical pursuits are not limited to land. He and his wife Beth are both avid sailors; their voyages have included a trip from Seattle to Tahiti on their 50-foot boat.
Beth summited Kilimanjaro 30 years ago, so Richard figures “it’s high time to catch up.”
While arranging his trip, Robin realized that a successful ascent would land Byerley a place in Guinness World Records™. AWR is arranging to document Byerley’s climb in order to fulfill the stringent criteria required by Guinness World Records™.
Byerley won the Adventures Within Reach trip at a charity auction for the Galena Lodge, located near Sun Valley, Idaho.
Conditions for their journey look good. The weather is typically great at that time of year, and the Machame Route is our most popular because of the high success rate. The route offers a continuous scenic show, but to top it off, Richard and his grandkids will be summiting right before a full moon, which will reveal a brilliant night sky.
Note: The current oldest Guinness World Records™ holder to summit Kilimanjaro on foot is British retired professor George Solt, who earned the title in 2010 at age 82. It is purported that 87-year-old Frenchman Valtee Daniel reached Kilimanjaro’s apex, but his ascent was not documented.