Alert
Close

Top the Treasure Hunt leaderboard by 5 p.m. Friday to win a $100 gift card! Learn more

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
AARP Games Tournament

REAL POSSIBILITIES

AARP Real Possibilities
Car buying made easy with the AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Octogenarian Richard Byerley Breaks World Record Climbing Kilimanjaro

At 84, he stays in peak condition with active lifestyle

Richard Byerley Oldest Person to Summit Kilimanjaro

Richard Byerley, 84, is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest person to summit Mount Kilimanjaro on foot. He was accompanied by his grandson and granddaughter. — Photo courtesy of Richard Byerley

Richard Byerley is living proof that you're never too old — not even to set a world record. Earlier this month, at 84, he became the oldest person to summit Mount Kilimanjaro on foot.

Not many octogenarians would attempt to climb a 19,340-foot-tall mountain in Africa, but Byerley never thought twice. When he bought the trip in January at a charity auction in Sun Valley, Idaho, he knew nothing of Kilimanjaro climbing records but rather had spontaneously bid on a trip and won it.

See also: How Martina Navratilova prepared for Kilimanjaro.

His achievement may have gone unrecognized but for the Kilimanjaro specialist who booked his trip. Robin Paschall of Adventures Within Reach said she immediately recognized that if Byerley reached the summit he would smash a world record set last year by an 82-year-old British man. She made arrangements to document his climb so he could be recognized by Guinness World Records.

Accompanied by grandchildren

You'd think that the pressure would be on, but Byerley, a retired alfalfa farmer from Walla Walla, Wash., says he felt none. Had he suffered any altitude sickness, he was prepared to turn around. "It wasn't worth risking my life," he says.

Before setting out, Byerley did not know whether he would complete the six-day trek. But his wife of 63 years, Beth, had faith in his abilities. So did his 29-year-old granddaughter, Annie, who accompanied him along with his grandson Bren, 25. "There was no doubt in my mind that he was physically capable of it," Annie says.

Byerley was well covered if he needed medical attention. Both Annie and Bren are first responders, his guide was trained in wilderness first aid, and the tour was covered by Flying Doctors, which could dispatch a helicopter in case of a medical emergency.

But the only thing Byerley suffered were cold hands when he reached the summit on Oct. 6. He also missed Beth, 84, who had reached the summit of Kilimanjaro 30 years ago, but Byerley did not accompany her on that trip. She didn't go this time "because she said once was enough," he quips.

Next: A climb to remember. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grocery Coupon Center

Members can print savings coupons at the Grocery Coupon Center powered by Coupons.com.

African American grandfather, father and son brushing teeth
AARP/Walgreens Wellness Bus Stops in Clarksdale, MS

Members can get exclusive points offers from Walgreens and Duane Reade.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.