Japanese man climbs world's 14 tallest peaks
June 12, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
KATMANDU, Nepal--A Japanese climber who was nearly killed by an avalanche in 2007 has become his country's first person to scale the world's 14 tallest mountains, completing his latest climb in Nepal, mountaineering officials said Monday.
The Nepal Mountaineering Association said Hirotaka Takeuchi scaled the 8,167-meter-high (26,788-foot-high) Mount Dhaulagiri on May 26 to finish his 17-year mission. He was nearly swept to his death five years ago on Mount Ghashabrum.
"I have always wanted to climb mountains as long as I remember," Takeuchi said in an interview in Katmandu. "It was always my childhood dream to scale high peaks."
All the top 14 peaks — including Everest, K2 and Kanchenjunga — are located in the Himalayan or Karakoram ranges of Asia. Takeuchi became the 30th person to climb all of them, and the first climber from Japan, Nepal Mountaineering Association official Deebash Bikram Shah said.
Takeuchi said he plans to return to the Himalayas to climb another peak next year.
"I will continue to climb as long as my body will allow me," he said.
Takeuchi's mission almost ended in 2007 when an avalanche on Mount Gashabrum swept him some 300 meters (1,000 feet) and buried him completely in snow. Two German climbers were killed in the avalanche, and a third was injured badly. Takeuchi was dug out by other mountaineers and rescued by helicopter.
Japanese climber Hirotaka Takeuchi, left, is felicitated by the President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association Zimba Zangbu Sherpa, in Katmandu, Nepal, Sunday, June 10.(AP)